More follow-up on my review of David Whitman's new book, Sweating the Small Stuff: Inner-City Schools and the New Paternalism:
George Will weighs in on the book today (hat tip: Mike Petrilli). I normally find Will's columns engaging and intelligent, but I must be missing something today. I'll read it again later, but it seems like a random mishmash of thoughts and opinions. Two things stand out to me most about the column:
1.) He begins by chronicling a student who has been told that he's not good enough to attend AIPCS and is working hard so that he will be admitted. This is either semantics or illegal. Unless I'm mistaken, AIPCS (like virtually all charter schools) admits students by lottery. A student cannot be refused admittance because they're not "up to the rigors" of the program. I'm guessing that the student was admitted via lottery but Ben Chavis, the principal, simply told him that he had to earn his way in. Either way, how many traditional public schools wish they could tell their students that?
2.) He decides to blame the failure of our educational system on Democrats, liberals, Education Schools, and teachers unions in the last paragraph without really providing any evidence. Granted, it's a short column -- but he could've devoted another paragraph to why he was assigning blame to these groups. He might be right, but it comes across as sloppy, ideological finger-pointing to me. And I don't buy his assertion that these schools prove that "we know how to close the achievement gap" and the only reason we can't is because these groups are standing in our way.
Also, I neglected to point out earlier that Whitman wrote a quasi-summary of his book for the next issue of Education Next (posted here). Quite handy for anybody who doesn't have the time right now to read the book in whole.