Venture Capital in Education—Education Technology and On-Line Charters Viewed as Investments

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Americans for Prosperity and their legislative allies are promoting an ambitious, two-pronged agenda for poor cities: replace public schools with privately run charter schools and replace teachers with technology… The destruction of public schooling starts in poor cities because this is where parents are politically powerless to resist a degraded education model.


Late last week The Nation posted on-line a series of articles that will appear in the October 13, print edition of the magazine—a special issue on education.  These are in-depth pieces on issues such as the crisis in Philadelphia’s public schools, the role of teachers unions, lack of regulation in charter schools, Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charters, and two articles this blog will explore today on the push by so-called “education reformers” to promote the use of technology and on-line education. Lee Fang’s blockbuster investigation, Venture Capitalists are Poised to “Disrupt” Everything About the Education Market is available to all readers on-line only; it is not restricted behind a paywall.  Many of the others are for subscribers-only (though The Nation is promoting six months’ of on-line access for only $9.50).  As the week continues, this blog will explore some of the other articles in The Nation‘s special issue on…

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First day of school at the ABS on Islesford

Barbara S Fernald Jewelry

It has become a tradition for parents and townspeople to gather in the schoolyard as students arrive for their first day at the  two room Ashley Bryan School. Everyone is there to wish them well, to see who the new students are, and to feel good about our special island school and its community support.

The crew from Great Cranberry arrives by boat and begins the short walk up from the dock. There are 6 students from Great Cranberry and one teacher and one aide who travel by boat every morning. This morning there were also all of the teachers for Art, Music, Phys. Ed and French. The principal was there too. It made for a solid group of educational energy surrounding the school. The inter island students were all happy to reconnect after a busy summer. All around the school yard  parents of students, and other community members  want to celebrate…

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Sawing the ZZZ’s

We have had many years of education “reform” based on high-stakes testing, privatization, longer school days, and teacher bashing. These “reforms” have been a failure. (Previous posts STOP and Chutzpah provide the data). Isn’t it past time for the nation to be having an honest and relevant conversation about public education?

via Sawing the ZZZ’s.



Views from Alongside a Border

red turks capAlthough he was seated in my car, and the air conditioning was working well, the German reporter’s face was beet-red, and he was huffing and puffing in a way that made me nervous. While he had been out and about in the heat of a Brownsville September afternoon, his physical distress was coming from within. He was perplexed and sad and angry.

We had been talking about the way the United States had responded to the plight of the tens of thousands of Central American children who had come to south Texas this summer, seeking refuge from the violence that had recently devoured their futures. I had begun to share my concerns that, now that the USA was “rocket docketing” these children, that they would stop turning themselves into the Border Patrol, or US Customs and would, instead, risk a journey through the desert. That is a horrible, horrible place…

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And Then There Was Joy

Immigrant sufferings

Views from Alongside a Border

at home in better timesA month ago, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I was reading a book and wondering if it would ever, ever rain again in Brownsville. In this arid land, some older people believe that rainfall is measure of the quality of dialogue between God and God’s creatures. I was convinced that someone in this conversation was not paying attention.

I then got a call from Immaculate Conception Cathedral. The woman on the line simply said, “Please come now. We need your help.”

The woman was a volunteer, calling from a hospitality ministry that the parish had set up for the Central American refugee families. Typically, after the immigrant’s relatives in the US had provided a bus ticket, the border patrol would release the refugees from the detention center, just a bit before the scheduled departure of their bus. The parish, near the bus station, offered the refugees a quick hot meal…

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