Blog: The Educated Reporter
The death of wonder teacher Jaime Escalante Tuesday at the age of 79 has provoked some thoughtful remembrances of his remarkable life and the even more remarkable math achievement he provoked among the many students he taught at Los Angeles’ Garfield High.
OK, Pet Peeve Time, readers of The Educated Reporter. Why is that so many charter schools in their promotional messages describe themselves as “tuition free”? I understand that people often are confused about what charter schools are or are not, but they are emphatically public schools, not private schools.
The Educated Reporter herself is a bit busy on a time-consuming project this week that will surely make the rest of us all the more educated. In the meantime, I will occupy the TER chair for the week. Who am I? I am an educated (at times, miseducated, perhaps) reporter from the smaller world of Baton Rouge, the state capital of the great independent state of Louisiana. I cover schools in this medium-sized city and have been doing so for the past nine years.
I am busy on an EWA project this week, so in my place you’ll have the immensely capable, witty and intelligent Charles Lussier. Charles is an education reporter for the Baton Rouge Advocate. He’s a native of Florida but applying for citizenship to the independent state of Louisiana. I will miss you all but am happy to leave things in good hands.
Today I watched a screener of “The Lottery,” the Eva Moskowitz informercial—er, sorry, charter school documentary—that is making the film festival rounds and coming out in May. Sure, I got a little teary-eyed at the end; every detail of this film is set up for the viewer to believe that if these children do not get into one of Moskowitz’s Harlem Success Academies, they are doomed for life. The sad thing is, I had the feeling the five-year-olds at the lottery got that dispiriting message as well.
Time is running out to apply for scholarships to attend EWA’s annual conference, “Examining the Evidence,” which is taking place May 13-15 in San Francisco. What will you find there? Practical workshops in approaching the beat, new media and finding data. Panels featuring top-level wonks and real-life practitioners. Speeches by an Oscar-winning director (Davis Guggenheim of “An Inconvenient Truth”) and a hot-stuff magazine editor (Joan Walsh of Salon).
Every article about Texas textbooks contains that sentence about how the state’s decisions dictate what students will read in classrooms around the country, by virtue of its size and pull in the publishing industry.Given the wackadoo revisions the state is making to U.S.history, I was glad to read this piece by Kate Alexander in the Austin American-Statesman and this one&nb
EWA is compiling a database of freelance writers and editors who work on education topics. If you are interested—even if you already have a job but would like to write a piece on the side once in a while—please fill out our form here. If you are looking to hire freelancers, we will have the info ready to distribute in a couple of weeks.
I need a guest blogger for next week, as I will be working on a secret, super-awesome project for EWA that you will learn about soon enough. If you are an education journalist of any sort and are interested in being considered, please contact me privately at the e-mail address at right.
I should start by saying I have no problem with the idea of testing students and holding people accountable. Sad that I have to assert this, but when you critique anything about standards and accountability in practice you are presumed by some to prefer the status quo, think all children can’t learn, hate minority children, be a moron or something else. But theory and practice are two different things, so let me start.
I went to a reporters’ roundtable this morning with Deborah Gist, the schools superintendent for Rhode Island. Someone asked her the question that struck me from the start: Why did this turnaround get so much media attention? As I mentioned before, many schools have gone through reconstitution that involved teachers having to reapply for their jobs.