Friday, October 2, 2009

Today's Random Thoughts

-I'd like to once again thank G.R. Kearny for taking my questions about Cristo Rey.

-Maybe it's my research training, but I'm kind of turned off by people who are rooting for/against charter schools.  Shouldn't we trying to figure out if they work (and why?) instead?  Andy Rotherham also doesn't like the discussion about charters, but he seems only half-right to me.  I don't think there's as clear of a line between what he labels tactical and strategic discussions -- though it's possible that he's trying to say exactly what I said in my first sentence of this bullet point.

-Jay Mathews writes in support of an idea Ben Chavis uses at his charter school -- the middle school only uses what, in NYC, we called common branch teachers (teachers teach all the major subjects) because he refuses to "departmentalize" the school.  I'm agnostic on the idea.  What strikes me more, though, is that we tend to heap a lot of praise on people like Chavis who portray themselves as radicals and despite (because of?) their brusqueness, lead successful high-poverty schools.  But I'd like to see a show of hands of middle- and upper-class parents who would like Ben Chavis to be the principal of their local school.  And if this kind of principal/education is ok only for students from lower-class families what, exactly, does that say?  People sure seem to insinuate that we should educate poor kids differently, but I don't hear very many people come out and say it directly.

-Look out for a special edition of Sunday Commentary this weekend, wherein I get by with a little help from my friends.

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