Entries by Jim Stergios

The Pioneer Plan for Massachusetts’ Transportation Needs

Expect more on the Pioneer Plan for Transportation in the coming days. Already in January, we issued a detailed Public Statement on the governor’s transportation plan. Expect in the next week or two a full report. In the interim, here is a further fleshing out of our view. The Governor has used the bully pulpit […]

Local committee ends Massachusetts’ first virtual school

The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald are reporting that last week the Greenfield School Committee voted to shutter the state’s first and only public virtual school. Here’s the Globe piece by Evan Allen: The academy opened in 2010 and serves about 470 students in kindergarten through eighth grade from all across the Commonwealth. It […]

Why do district superintendents oppose charter schools?

When you ask that question, the usual answer is something about the kids, equity, and the unfairness of all the flexibility that charters get. It’s hard to get a superintendent to go beyond the platitudes. Perhaps the superintendent will raise all the good work that’s going on in the district. There may in fact be […]

Suicide and the stress from school

We often hear that kids are stressed by school — and most times MCAS testing is considered the culprit. Let’s look at the broad picture first. Indiana University’s High School Survey of Student Engagement suggests the following about US District High School students: 82.7% spend no more than 5 hours a week on homework. 42.5% […]

Two new charter schools for City on a Hill

For the past decade and a half, February has served as the month during which the state’s Board of Education votes on proposed charter schools. The process is a long one, involving during the previous year the submission of concepts, detailed applications, revised applications, interviews with proponents and evaluations by the Charter School Office, which […]

Boston Kids Need Another Brooke Charter School

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s vote later this month on a new set of charter school proposals is an opportunity to give thousands of Massachusetts kids access to a great school. The list of proposed charters includes new proposals for Boston, such as City on a Hill Charter Public School, which is […]

Give Brockton students a choice

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s vote later this month on a new set of charter school proposals is an opportunity to give thousands of Massachusetts kids access to a great school. The list of proposed charters includes the following schools in cities outside of Greater Boston: Argosy Collegiate Charter School in Fall […]

Bureaucratic teacher evaluations bring no change

Back in April 2011, the Globe editorial page touted “Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester’s proposed regulations linking teacher evaluations to student performance” as “a long-awaited step toward rewarding effective teachers and unmasking incompetent ones.” Many have seen the new evaluation system as a huge step forward, but I’ve always been highly skeptical that it will do […]

Lots of art, little science in transportation plan

Rich Davey’s attempt at recreating the magic of Steve Jobs missed the mark in presenting the policy reasons for lots more transportation spending. At the release of the new transportation plan, his Jobs-like headset masked just how over-miked and overstated were the opportunities within our reach if we just put more fuel in the transportation […]

Advice to the President and Arne Duncan

In 2009, Pres. Obama effectively used the “bully pulpit” to expand charter schools, changes that were adopted by state legislatures around the country. During the next three years, the administration opted for a “top down” approach, with Race to the Top pushing state compliance with federally defined state reforms. These included not yet field tested […]

The perfect storm facing Jewish Day Schools

More than 100,000 students in 10 states – including Rhode Island and New Hampshire – are currently educated under tax credit programs. Massachusetts has so many exceptional private and parochial education options, and our school children deserve the same options. Jewish Day Schools, for example, are facing a perfect storm of rising costs and declining philanthropic support.

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before Elections: Tony Bennett’s Defeat in Indiana

In what you might call a “count your chickens before they hatch” moment, even as late as the morning of Super Tuesday (November 6, 2012, 7:16:15AM EST) Virginia Edwards of EdWeek’s “Leadership Forum” sent an email invitation entitled “Save the Date: Road Maps to Common Core Success in March 2013.” I invite you to attend […]

Indiana’s airball on national education standards

Basketball fans will remember the scene from the epic 1986 Gene Hackman movie, Hoosiers , where Coach Norman Dale (Hackman) is taking his small-town high school team, Hickory, on the road to the Indiana state championships. As they peer into their opponent’s massive gymnasium, his players grow understandably nervous. Taking out a measuring tape, Coach […]

Lawrence Eagle-Tribune: Lawrence’s big school problem needs a big, bold solution

Jim Stergios The Eagle-Tribune The usual rules apply when things work, or at least aren’t disastrously broken. That’s not the case when 15 years of failing schools have culminated in every other student dropping out. Yet this is precisely what is happening in Lawrence, and the city and state have simply pretended that the adverse […]

Huck, Jim and our interest in education

Twain famously noted that the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning-bug. Getting words right is arguable the key task in educating an individual, for precise use of language is critical to developing the ability to observe and to think. Then there is the […]