August 6, 2018

When I started working for C3S several years ago, the organization was characterized by some as an assortment of under-performing schools and was indeed jokingly called “The Coalition of Low Performing Charter Schools” in certain circles. Obviously, this nomenclature didn’t sit well with my colleagues or with the school leaders who were proud to say their schools were aligned with the values of the organization even if doing so...

October 23, 2017

“You shoulda been there,” John Merrow wrote on his blog a few days ago, referring to our inaugural Independent Charter School Symposium. Indeed, you shoulda -- but many were and many more would have been if we’d had the wherewithal to advertise more broadly. For a fledgling in a crowded nest of education conferences, the Symposium overperformed and there’s every reason to believe that the goodwill and energy unleashed at the con...

August 7, 2017

When I was growing up in Oak Park, Illinois back in the 50’s our elementary school day started with a discussion of current events: the early stirring of the Civil Rights Movement, Khrushchev, the A-bomb, Sputnik. Yet, despite the Cold War and the  “duck and cover” drills, it was not a particularly frightening time, and few of us went to sleep afraid, because the words we heard from grown-ups and the faith we had in them and in...

July 10, 2017

If, as suggested by last week’s Chalkbeat article, the struggle for the soul of the charter movement is between believers in data-driven accountability and believers in the magical power of the markets, then the lay of the land is worse than I had thought.

Neither the technocrats nor the free-marketers have any understanding of pedagogy. Yet both groups feel entitled to dictate conditions under which hundreds of thousands of stud...

May 25, 2017

As die-hard believers in the potential for community-minded folks on the progressive end of the education spectrum to use chartering to create inspiring and innovative schools for all learners, perhaps we should be cheered by the administration’s budget proposal which would direct much needed and well deserved money towards the work we are doing.

But, we are far from inclined to cheer.

The budget proposal, especially with rega...

March 10, 2017

While many of us were transfixed on the machinations of Congress to undo the Affordable Care Act, the Senate yesterday voted 50-49 to “scrap the Obama administration’s rule for holding schools accountable for student performance” proving once again how much simpler it is to smash stuff than to build stuff. To be sure, these accountability measures, which are as much the product of Bush-NCLB as Obama-RTTT, left much to be desired...