Saturday, March 25, 2017

For Profit U – Have You Heard + Change a School’s Structure, Change the World: An Exchange

For Profit U – Have You Heard:

For Profit U

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Image result for For Profit U


In episode #14, Have You Heard talks to Tressie McMillan Cottom about her new book, Lower Ed, and the push to make education *risky*…
In this episode of Have You Heard, we talk to Tressie McMillan Cottom about the rise of for-profit colleges, and *risky* higher ed that saddles low-income students with debt and questionable credentials. And we discuss the growing push to make K-12 more risky, including busting up public institutions and shifting the burden of choosing an *education option* as Betsy DeVos likes to call it, onto parents. Cottom’s new book Lower Ed is a must read, and this episode of Have You Heard is a must listen. As she points out, the same free market that we’re now entrusting with the futures of kids and adolescents also gave us cheese whiz. Cottom’s book and our conversation threatened to deplete my store of adjectives (*fantastic*!) and inspired Jack to make one of his famous charts.


Jennifer Berkshire:Welcome back to another episode of Have You Heard. I’m Jennifer Berkshire.
Jack Schneider.:And I’m Jack Schneider.
Jennifer B.:And today, we’re going to be talking about for-profit higher ed.
Jack S.:I’m calling this episode “When Things Don’t Go According to Plan”.
Jennifer B.:Well, I think that depends on who you ask, because in some areas, it seems like things are going very much according to plan. In fact-
Jack S.:That would be the boardroom.
Jennifer B.:That’s correct. On my way over here, I happened to read, I was checking my stock performance as usual-
Jack S.:That’s good, I hope you bought the whole index. Either that or I hope you bought just stock in for-profit colleges and universities, because For Profit U – Have You Heard:
Change a School’s Structure, Change the World: An Exchange

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In which Empower School’s Brett Alessi and I go back and forth about whether the Springfield Empowerment Zone is *all that*… 

Editor’s note: I recently wrote about the much-hyped Springfield Empowerment Zone, arguing that there isn’t enough *there there* to merit its coronation as the next big thing, and that the zone’s eye-popping suspension numbers are a serious red flag. Brett Alessi, head of Empower Schools, the nonprofit that is helping to empower the Empowerment Zone, responded and asked if he might respond to my piece, giving readers a fuller account of what’s happening in Springfield than my *negative Nancy* portrayal. (My description, not his). I eagerly obliged but requested that Alessi focus on the two specific issues I raised: the high student suspension numbers in the Zone’s schools, and whether the push to *scale up* the Zone is warranted given that the Zone has yet to do what its architects claimed that it would do. Alessi’s response is below, and my response to his response is below that…
By Brett Alessi
First, I’d like to start by saying that while we don’t always see eye-to-eye, I have really enjoyed our exchanges and appreciate the opportunity engage in a genuine dialogue.  At the end of the day, I believe that what we both care most about is ensuring that all children have the opportunity to be successful.


In response to your recent post, I’d like to point out that prior to forming the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP), the schools that are now in the Zone were in the bottom 3 percent of middle schools in Massachusetts. Five of Change a School’s Structure, Change the World: An Exchange 

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