Tag Archives: school choice

The (book) reviews are in!

Well, three of them at least — from the Washington Post‘s Moira McLaughlin, the Century Foundation’s Rick Kahlenberg (via Washington Monthly), and Eduflack’s orange-jacket wearing Patrick Riccards. And they’re good! On a related note, C-SPAN posted a video of my public reading from Our School at the Francis Parker school in Chicago. Check it out […]

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New Orleans is an all-charter city. Is that a good thing?

This week, the last five traditional neighborhood schools in New Orleans’ Recovery School district were closed – making it the country’s first district made up entirely of charter schools.

That’s a good thing, right?

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Categories: Democracy, Leadership, Learning

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OK, Brown v. Board is 60; Now What?

As I travel around the country this month, participating in public conversations about the promise and peril of school choice, it seems fitting that right as we marked the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, I would end up having lunch with Michael Alves.

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This is what a community conversation about school reform looks like

Now that my new book is out, I’m doing a series of public talks around the country to explore core issues of choice, reform, and community. My first event was at the legendary DC bookstore, Politics & Prose, and they videotaped the conversation, which featured everything from high-stakes testing to E.D. Hirsch to a quick […]

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Are Charter Schools Helping Or Hurting Public Education?

I’d characterize this one as a pretty reasoned conversation about the issue — which is surprising, since it comes from Democracy Now, which is pretty clearly in one camp and not the other. I attribute that to Steve Barr bringing some nuance to the conversation. Still, listen to both sides, and judge for yourselves . […]

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In New York, A Tale of Two Cities (and Two Selves)

At the New Teacher Center conference a few years ago, I watched a master teacher model a great way to introduce students to new material. She projected a single image onto the screen in our conference room — it was Liberty Leading the People — and asked us a single question, over and over again: “What do you see?” Any observation (“I see a strong woman”) would prompt a second question from the instructor (“What’s your evidence?”). It was fun, and illuminating, and after ten minutes, based on nothing more than our own close observations, we were ready to study the French Revolution.

I was reminded of that workshop recently, when I saw someone on Twitter share the following picture:

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Something’s Happening Here . . .

In the span of a few weeks, all of DC seems to be abuzz with the prospect that our elected officials may actually try to ensure greater racial and socioeconomic equity in the city’s public schools — apple carts be damned. First, there was the Op-Ed two colleagues and I published in the Washington Post, […]

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Categories: Equity

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Turning School Chance Into School Choice

There are a lot of smart people in Washington, D.C., and one of them is Evelyn Boyd Simmons.

A longtime D.C. resident, an effective parental advocate, and a firm believer in the unmatched promise of public education, Evelyn has a way of cutting to the quick on complicated, contentious issues. And so it was when in a recent conversation, she summarized the state of affairs in American public education with a clever turn of phrase.

“What people like to call school choice,” she said flatly, “is nothing more than clever marketing. What folks really have is school chance.”

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What is the proper role of government in public education reform?

I read an interesting Op-Ed about education in today’s Washington Post, in which the author wrote the following: “The proper role of government is to ensure the provision of essential services, not always to provide those services itself.” Leaving aside the author’s particular perspective on K-12 education reform, I’m curious: How many people out there […]

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Categories: Equity, Organizational Change

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Open House Do’s and Don’ts

It’s that time of year again: when parents across the country — but particularly parents in major American cities — prepare to schedule a flurry of open houses in a frantic search for the best school for their child.

It happened to me a year ago; between January and March I visited more than 20 schools in search of the best place for my 3-year-old. Even though I’ve been working in schools my whole adult life, it was a daunting, disorienting experience. I can only imagine what it feels like for parents who haven’t stepped foot in a school since their own high school graduation.

To help ease the anxiety of my fellow parents, here are a few essential rules of the road: three questions to ask, and three things to look for.

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