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When falling demand and inflexible management collide

There’s a rather curious editorial in today’s Globe. I don’t necessarily quibble with its basic premise, that the City of Boston should not be on the hook for the transportation costs of those students whose parents choose to send them to a private or parochial school. At one point, however, the editorial states that Boston’s infrastructure and staffing can support thousands more children than currently attend the public schools. The estimated $2 million spent on busing Boston’s private school students would be better used to offset cuts in public classrooms. This struck me as a paradoxical juxtaposition. If there is so much excess capacity in the system, then should we not be encouraging cuts, not looking for ways to offset […]

Take a deep breath and relax on union infiltration of charters

Our Education Intelligence agent comes through with an interesting find. Elizabeth Green at Gotham Schools has the scoop: “Teachers at two New York City KIPP charter schools today asked state labor officials to sever their ties from the city teachers union, in petitions signed by every single teacher at the two schools.” The KIPP Academy and KIPP Infinity staffs (totaling about 60 members) sent out a press release about their decision: “In recent months, the UFT has made clear its desire to play a more active part in the day-to-day operations of our schools. Two examples illustrate this point. In January, the UFT sent a letter to the KIPP: Infinity Board of Directors with the goal of beginning collective bargaining […]

Live Blogging the President's Press Conference

Sort of. I’m not really in the East Room of the White House, but on my couch doing work as I listened to what the President had to say tonight. He has a tendency, a verbal tick almost, to try to buttress his answers with: That’s not just my opinion, but the opinion of many others. Or some variant thereof. I only caught the last half hour and he used it three separate times. It’s almost as if it’s his tell and we should all know he’s bluffing whenever he uses it. Hey, ifTeddy KGB can get caught listening to his Oreos, it can happen to the best of us.

Is KIPP really scalable?

Yesterday on Slate, in her review of Jay Mathews’ new book on KIPP, the Knowledge is Power Program, which now runs 66 schools in 19 states mostly geared to disadvantaged and minority students, Sara Mosle begins with an interesting remark: Let me begin—before I’m denounced as a traitor to the cause of educational reform—by saying that I’m inclined to agree. What she’s inclined to agree with is Mathews’ assessment of KIPP as the best program serving underprivileged students in America today. The reason for putting it so baldly out there at the top of her review is that Ms. Mosle goes on to question whether KIPP, despite her admiration of its success, is replicable to a scale sufficient to the […]

Eye on Paul Levy

This space has long been in the tank for Paul Levy. His leadership of BIDMC has recently been much praised — he put the issue of a budget deficit to his staff and they responded with a collection of salary cuts and budget savings that allowed the lowest wage workers to keep their jobs and lowered layoffs by the hundreds. I’m curious how this will affect a certain union’s efforts to demonize his leadership and the institution itself. (There is a link, but I’m not posting it.) I’m guessing that their perplexing (and costly) approach of convincing BIDMC employees that their institution was corrupt and nefarious is over.