Won’t Back Down, the new Hollywood film about two mothers determined to take over their children’s failing inner city school, represents everything that’s wrong with the present way we talk about school reform – and everything we need to talk about more in the future. Continue reading . . .
Monthly Archives: September 2012
50 people. 50 different stories. Is it what you expected?
Imagine if the goal in America was to make every teacher a “special ed” teacher – and to give every student specialized attention?
Now that the teacher strike in Chicago has ended – and the city’s schoolchildren have returned to school – one thing seems unavoidably clear: despite the agreement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his city’s public school teachers will remain deeply divided, deeply mistrustful of one another, and deeply entrenched for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that the rest of us can learn something from the mistakes both sides in this particular drama have made. In fact, there are cities out there that have actually transformed their school systems for the better, and done so in a way that left everyone feeling good about (and committed to) the changes. To bring about such a shift, however, the central figures of reform in places like Chicago – elected officials and teacher unions – must start thinking very differently about how transformational change occurs, and what it requires.
In 1968, student protesters stationed outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago broke into a spontaneous chant that quickly crystallized the tenor of the times: “The whole world is watching!”
It’s ironic, then, that one day after this year’s Democratic National Convention, rumors of a city-wide teacher strike in Chicago are reaching a similarly feverous pitch.
It has been four years — when the promise of an Obama presidency was still just a promise — since I have felt as inspired as I felt tonight, watching Michelle Obama, as First Lady, remind us of who we are on our best days. Back then I produced a short video that tried to [...]