Teacher of the Year: “I quit”

Even the best teachers get tired of teaching.  The job is taxing enough of its own, but add systemic instability, top-down meddling, and less than stellar administration and you have the grease that speeds teachers toward the exit. In this post republished from Tom Rademacher, an English teacher in Minneapolis, MN., he shares what has pushed …

The award for the world’s best school reformer goes to…

Last year I excused myself from a ballroom full of confident well dressed people as awards were handed out to school reformers as if it were the Grammy’s. It was all in good fun, but still felt bigheaded and smug. I asked a friend if she thought abolitionists ever held lavish events to praise themselves for freeing …

Opting-out of justice, history, and good sense

After my previous blog post about Diane Ravitch and Randi Weingarten speaking out for the growing opt-out campaign it was hard to shut my mind off. Once done with writing that post I was bothered by thoughts of how Ravitch acts less like a historian and more like a populist, and how Weingarten isn’t reliable as a …

A black school that does well, imagine that

At the risk of setting off another festival of disbelief amongst the debunkers of schools that work for black people, here’s a little story about a school where black students rock. What you should know about Madison Preparatory Academy in Baton Rouge is that it runs on love. You feel it from the moment you walk …

Big changes ahead for Citizen Stewart

What a wild journey I’ve had in pursuing education activism. For the past several years I have devoted a considerable amount of brain space and personal time learning all I can about the issues that face public education, and how it impacts marginalized communities. It has been a great learning experience that has enriched my …

Mickelson: Don’t blame teens or their parents for teacher-driven opt-out movement

The opt-out movement against standardized testing in public schools has hit the gilded streets of Southwest Minneapolis. Parent activist Lynnell Mickelson has seen first hand that it isn’t a grassroots movement from concerned parents, but an effort of school staff to sabotage Minnesota’s soft drive for public school accountability. One of her neighbor’s daughters recently …

Bumps and bruises for education in New Orleans

Two headlines coming out of New Orleans should disturb that city’s education guardians. The first headline, “Flagrant special ed violations, cover-up alleged at New Orleans charter Lagniappe,” involves a charter school that will be closing because evidence of cheating and fraud have surfaced. The second headline, “Orleans Parish School Board member Ira Thomas charged in bribery …

Education crisis deniers need to check themselves

Nothing is more frustrating that those who deny the systemic hurt we do to each other and our world, especially when we have all the evidence necessary to know better. Yes, Earth is warming. Yes, vaccinations prevent measles. Yes, President Obama is an American citizen. Our public schools are failing. On that last point Derrell …

Teachers can’t wait to build a more perfect union

In this guest post republished Tom Rademacher considers the difficulties with trying to build a more inclusive and open minded teachers’ union. In May of 2014 Tom was named Minnesota Teacher of the Year. He teaches writing and writes about teaching at Mr. Rad’s Neighborhood. ******************************* My union story is pretty typical. My mom worked her …

Will we pass the test on accountability in education?

Let’s be clear on something: I fear my government. I am a student of history and observant of its many lessons, and the best I can say about American democracy is trust, but verify. Our civil rights require maintenance. It requires faithful and dedicated people who study, research, and unearth the numbers beneath systems of law, …

The progressive addiction to educational bullshit

You’re at a dinner party and the topic of education comes up. Everyone near you is white, college educated, and has 2.5 children. They are on the vanguard of gentrification and appreciate cosmetic diversity. Over the past year they have made a contribution to either Hillary or Bernie. You know schools are complex and can’t …

White boys on blogs telling black men what to think about educating black people

  I’ll admit from the beginning that I write this out of deep frustration. I’m so over white people who want to lecture black people about what is best for us, especially when it comes to education. After 400 years of outlawing our education, and then another century of botching our education, can we safely …

Black lives can’t matter if black minds don’t

A recent report by The Education Trust – West, called Black Minds Matter, calls out the problem California is having with graduating black students who are ready for college or a career after high school. That organization’s executive director, Ryan Smith, writes in Ed Week about the issue: Among California’s many racial and ethnic groups, Black …

The ghosts in Minneapolis’ “progressive” machine

Last year Nekima Levy-Pounds told me that conditions in the Twin Cities were ripe for it to be another Ferguson. I disagreed. The people in power here control their people with a smug brand of I-know-what’s-best-for-you liberalism, and the people under their boot often seem too docile to resist. A year later, I’m proven wrong. For …

Occupiers in the hood

For the past week a determined mass of community activists have held down an encampment around Minneapolis’ 4th precinct police headquarters in protest of the officer involved shooting and killing of Jamar Clark, a black man who witnesses say was unarmed and handcuffed on the ground when he was shot. There is a dramatic contrast between the …