Friday, October 12, 2018

CURMUDGUCATION: John White Remains Confused

CURMUDGUCATION: John White Remains Confused

John White Remains Confused

Last week the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) network held its annual meeting, this time in New Orleans. It's a jolly gathering of all our reform friends, and this year it featured a speech from Louisiana school chief John White, the test of which was run by Fordham's Flypaper blog. I'll warn you-- this starts out just sort of ill-formed, and ends up pretty awful. But it is a window, once again, on how fully lost some reformsters are.

White has a hefty reform pedigree-- Teach for America, TFA director, Joel Klein's team in NYC, Broad Academy of Faux Superintendency). The headline that gave this piece some legs and attention was White's observation that education is no longer a political winner, which is only slightly more insightful than suggesting that Barack Obama will probably win the Democratic nomination over Hilary Clinton. Or as I've commented elsewhere, 2018-- the year I run out of new ways to say "And you just figured this out now..."

White does note that the 2016 election put paid to the notion that education would be an important political issue. Jeb! Bush tried to make education a chunk of his campaign foundation, and Campbell Brown tried to set up a website that would position her as arbiter of the education discussion (remember when she staged education summits and nobody came). In 2016, people who banked on education as an issue were like folks who speculated in real estate, but the railroad went through some other town.

But White believes this lack of political interest in education is a serious problem. I don't disagree with that basic point-- it sucks that politicians, leaders, media outlets, and strangers on the street aren't more interested in what goes on in the world of education. But beyond that-- well, I find White's analysis suspect at best.

Education reform has made positive gains in this country for the people whom it’s set out to serve without question.

Yes, "without question" probably belongs somewhere else in that sentence, but it's a sentence that Continue reading: 
CURMUDGUCATION: John White Remains Confused