Author: Mitchell Robinson

Schools aren’t “fast-food franchises,” charter schools aren’t public schools,and education isn’t a business

Schools aren’t “fast-food franchises,” charter schools aren’t public schools,and education isn’t a business

              Recently, our oldest son got his first job–or, more accurately, he got his first 2 jobs: one at a fast-food franchise popular in the Midwest (let’s call it “McBurgerQueen”, or McBQ—note: it’s not McDonalds, Burger King, or Dairy Queen), the other at a family-owned Korean-Chinese restaurant in our town (we’ll call this place […]

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Why are *you* angry? Are you Red or Blue?

Why are *you* angry? Are you Red or Blue?

Everyone is angry. I get it. Our country is as divided as I can remember it being in my lifetime. Friends are divided. Institutions are divided. Families are divided. People that never seemed to be “political” are suddenly, and surprisingly, strident defenders of a particular belief or position–or equally vocal about being against that position. Everywhere you go these days […]

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cory_Booker_and_Elmo_(8223729549).jpg

Diane Ravitch, fennel, and Cory Booker

Let’s start with a confession: I have a crush on Diane Ravitch. (Note: my wife knows!) Sure, it’s a (mostly) academic crush, but a crush nonetheless. One of the real thrills of my professional life was attending a dinner in New York City a couple of years ago in honor of Dr. Ravitch’s contributions to public education. I had a […]

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Please save us from self-appointed “education experts”…

Please save us from self-appointed “education experts”…

Mike Petrilli is one of the self-appointed leaders of the corporate reform of education movement, and also has a day job as president of the Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank with a focus on education. His bio says that “he is one of the nation’s most trusted education analysts,” so I guess he knows what he’s talking about. In his […]

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Trump Appoints “Dance Mom” to Head National Endowment for the Arts

In yet another head scratcher of a move, President* Donald Trump has appointed self-proclaimed “Dance Mom” and Florida political consultant, Mary Anne Carter, to succeed musician and artist Jane Chu as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. In keeping with his penchant for valuing policy chops and qualifications more highly than PR potential and visibility, President Obama appointed […]

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Are we headed toward a “Civil War”…or are we already there?

Are we headed toward a “Civil War”…or are we already there?

A recent op-ed in USA Today by Glenn Harlan Reynolds asks the provocative question, “Is America headed toward a civil war?” As evidence, the author offers the following points, which seem deserving of a response. 1. Because of Sarah Sanders being refused service at a restaurant, Reynolds asserts, “I think we’re at the beginning of a soft civil war. … I don’t […]

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The Politics of Teacher Walkouts Make Mike & Randi Uneasy Bedmates

The Politics of Teacher Walkouts Make Mike & Randi Uneasy Bedmates

A recent editorial in USA Today (“We can expect more from teachers when we pay them like pros: Bloomberg and Weingarten”) presents an object lesson in how the politics surrounding the recent wave of teacher walkouts is creating some very troubling alliances in the nexus between business and education. Under the guise of presenting a “unified front”, former NYC mayor Mike […]

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An “Achievement School District” Primer, Or Why Charterizing Your School District is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea

An “Achievement School District” Primer, Or Why Charterizing Your School District is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea

“Achievement School Districts” are a recent phenomenon in the corporate education reform movement. These “school districts” are designed to guarantee “rapid improvement in the state’s low performing schools”, although specific methods, techniques and strategies to accomplish this goal are rarely mentioned. ASDs have sprung up all across the nation, under various names and guises, from the “Education Achievement Authority” in […]

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A Simple Solution to Fix the Problem of our Failing Public Education System

Let me begin with an apology: I have intentionally lured you here under false pretenses. What do I mean? I’ve used that favorite strategy of internet hoaxes and supermarket tabloids, the “click bait headline”, to catch your eye, whet your appetite, and influence you to “click” the link, which brought you here. According to Wikipedia, “click bait headlines” rely on […]

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Why underestimating Betsy DeVos is not just wrong–it’s dangerous

Why underestimating Betsy DeVos is not just wrong–it’s dangerous

I’ve been seeing a number of thoughtful, well-intentioned posts lately from very intelligent friends, wondering how and why Betsy DeVos could be so uninformed about schools and education, and whether she could be convinced to move in better directions by talking with and listening to experienced teachers and ed policy experts. The answer is “no,” and here’s why… I understand […]

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Betsy DeVos says charter schools are the Uber or Lyft of “school choice”–and that’s not a good thing

Betsy DeVos says charter schools are the Uber or Lyft of “school choice”–and that’s not a good thing

Secretary of Education and Saturday Night Live fixture Betsy DeVos is fond of saying that picking a school should be as easy as choosing an Uber or a Lyft. She bases this belief on the economic theories that buttress much of the neo-liberal and conservative approach to education reform: As economist Milton Friedman had theorized decades earlier, Ohio legislators believed […]

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