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Class Struggle: February 13, 2011 - February 19, 2011

Smart people + big report = dreamy nonsense

I had high hopes for the latest high-profile plan to save our schools. "Pathways To Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century" has 63 contributors, including some of the smartest people in education. The project that produced the report is based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and led by two of its brightest luminaries, academic dean Robert B. Schwartz and senior lecturer Ronald Ferguson. Those familiar with the sad history of similarly ambitious reports have already detected the signs of impending disappointment. The reference to 2lst century education is troubling. People who use that term tend to start talking gibberish, without intending to.

By Jay Mathews  | February 18, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  Pathways To Prosperity,, places too much confidence in a new social compact, unrealistic view of business's role in education  
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Why do great school systems fear charters?

I admire the erudite and public-spirited members of the Montgomery County Board of Education. Their superintendent, Jerry D. Weast, is one of the best in the business, a national leader with a smart staff. So why are they so frightened of two little charter schools?

By Jay Mathews  | February 16, 2011; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags:  Crossway Montessori Charter School, Global Garden Public Charter School, Montgomery County, public charter schools  
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How Ed Harris and Jeff Steele got Rhee story

I promised to report back when Ed Harris, a frequent and thoughtful commenter to this blog, known here as edlharris, told me how he managed to unearth the University of Maryland-Baltimore County report that revealed the test score results at the Baltimore elementary school where former D. C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee taught in the early and mid 1990s.

By Jay Mathews  | February 15, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (127)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Ed Harris, Guy Brandenburg, Jeff Steele, Michelle Rhee, UMBC report on Harlem Park Elementary School  
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Five ways Rhee went wrong

Richard Whitmire’s deft and revealing book about former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee chronicles a difficult time in the history of the city’s schools, when good people fought hard against one another because of sharply contrasting views on how to help our children.

By Jay Mathews  | February 13, 2011; 10:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags:  Richard Whitmire, The Bee Eater,, five Rhee missteps  
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