Charter CEO Backpeddles. – K. Griffin

Tom Barrett, CEO of White Hat Charter Schools, is a hypocritical dunce trying to mask the failed Charter experiment with excuses while protecting his own salary.

In Saturday’s Dispatch, he wrote that poverty is a significant challenge for both traditional and charter schools.  Oh what a different tune they are singing now.  You see, 15 years ago, when for-profit education companies like White Hat started, they said those of us who were talking about poverty were just making excuses.  Now he’s the one using poverty as an excuse.

The “demand” for charters was not created by a failed traditional school system.  It was created by the profiteers who exaggerated the challenges facing traditional schools.  They created their own market by claiming competition was the magical silver bullet and then they preyed on the most vulnerable with flashy brochures and promises of excellence by means of a “no-excuses” approach or a “safe online environment.”  Now that the data is showing they are the failures they are whining about how difficult education is.

The simple truth is the for-profit charters get more money per student, are taking locally voted levy dollars from school districts, are exempt from over 200 regulations public schools must follow, are not held to the same standards as public schools, and in the rare cases where they are, are failing far worse than even the worst public schools in Ohio.

Tom Barrett’s letter is a sad and shameless attempt to shield the company that employs him.  If he truly cares about children he should not be lobbying for his employer.  He should be explaining that 100% transparency of charters schools will give parents a honest choice as opposed to the marketing propaganda from the for-profit charter owners.  But then again, holding himself to the standards of public schools may cost him his job.

The US Poverty Problem

The US Poverty Problem

A poverty, not education, crisis in U.S. – O. Thomas

Thomas, Oliver. “A poverty, not education, crisis in the U.S.”  Opinion.  USA Today.  December 10, 2013.  Retrieved from:

The worldwide PISA test scores were released last week which measure 15 year olds in math, science and reading.  The author digs through the numbers a little deeper.

Here’s one data point worth remembering. When you measure the test scores of American schools with a child poverty rate of less than 20%, our kids not only outperform the Finns, they outperform every nation in the world.

According to an Education Week Student in October of 2013, 50% of America’s Public School Students live in poverty.

Ohio Ed Funding: 2013 vs. 2003


What’s Good for Bill Gates Turns Out to be Bad for Public Schools. – D. Morris

Morris, David.  “What’s Good for Bill Gates Turns Out to be Bad for Public Schools adn Actually Bad for Microsoft too, as we Learned Recently.”  Common Dreams.  November 30, 2013.  Retrieved from:

The author points out the fact that as schools are moving to a “business model” businesses are moving to a model more like a schools which include more collaboration and teamwork.

“Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,” Eichenwald writes. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”

This month Microsoft abandoned the hated system.

Sue Altman at EduShyster vividly sums up the frustration of a nation of educators at this new development. “So let me get this straight. The big business method of evaluation that now rules our schools is no longer the big business method of evaluation? And collaboration and teamwork, which have been abandoned by our schools in favor of the big business method of evaluation, is in?”

The War on Teachers 2: Teachers revolt. – C. Wade Gervin

Wade Gervin, Cari. “The War on Teachers 2: Teachers Revolt”.  Metro Pulse.  November 20, 2013.  Retrieved from:

Although this is from Tennessee I’ve heard similar quotes from teachers right here in Dublin.  The testing, data, workload, and the tears are taking a toll.

I am tired of trying to plan five different lessons a day that hit 61 different indicators on a rubric, and that’s just to score a rock-solid 3. I am tired of the public being convinced that Knox County is moving in the right direction when I see good teachers at my school in tears at some point during the day on a regular basis. I am tired of having to waste instruction time to give tests every week, whether I need to or not, just to have data.

Lorain County Superintendents ask a question.

This was an email sent out from 17 Lorain County Superintendents asking about the Straight A Fund and Medicaid expansion which I received from William Phillis.  I would add that there must have be a significant amount of time (and therefore money) spent by ODE used to create the Straight A fund, collect and review the applications, and then complete the grant process.  Nevermind the amount spent by local districts during the application process.

From the 17 Superintendents:

We’re confused, and have a question. Is the $250 Million Straight A grant a significant investment that will solve many of the state’s educational issues, or is the projected $400 Million savings from Medicaid expansion divided by 613 school districts a “minimal impact” (as recently stated) that wouldn’t benefit schools? We’re confused, but dare to dream. Imagine what the combination of those dollars could do for a proven benefit to students such as universal preschool? There are no silver bullets, but getting students prepared at an earlier age to enter school is as close as it comes to one. It’s also a topic that people across the spectrum agree on, and is supported by research, and study after study. It seems that any combination of those dollars would go a long way towards developing student’s success for early intervention and for the “non-negotiable” 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee. What kind of impact might an additional $650 million have on Ohio’s schools? We believe the $250 Million targeted for the Straight A grant combined with the $400 million savings from Medicaid expansion would benefit ALL OHIO STUDENTS.

Teachers – Will We Ever Learn? – J. Metha

Metha, Jal.  “Teachers – Will We Ever Learn.”  OP-ED.  New York Times.  April 12, 2013.  Retrieved from:

In this OP-ED piece the author compares teaching to other professions which requires a similar educational background and also the American educational system to that of other high-achieving countries.

HERE’S what the old debates have overlooked: How schools are organized, and what happens in classrooms, hasn’t changed much in the century since the Progressive Era. On the whole, we still have the same teachers, in the same roles, with the same level of knowledge, in the same schools, with the same materials, and much the same level of parental support…

Teaching requires a professional model, like we have in medicine, law, engineering, accounting, architecture and many other fields. In these professions, consistency of quality is created less by holding individual practitioners accountable and more by building a body of knowledge, carefully training people in that knowledge, requiring them to show expertise before they become licensed, and then using their professions’ standards to guide their work.


Teachers in leading nations’ schools also teach much less than ours do. High school teachers provide 1,080 hours per year of instruction in America, compared with fewer than 600 in South Korea and Japan, where the balance of teachers’ time is spent collaboratively on developing and refining lesson plans.


Anthony S. Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, has estimated that other fields spend 5 percent to 15 percent of their budgets on research and development, while in education, it is around 0.25 percent.

Messsage from a Charter School: Thrive or Transfer. – M. Winerip

Winerip, Michael. “Message from a charter school: thrive or transfer”. July 10, 2011.  New York Times.  Retrieved from:

A parent thought she “hit the jackpot” when her son was selected to go to a charter school.  After two weeks the school decided the student didn’t belong there due to his behavior and recommended a transfer back to the public schools.

From Day 1 of kindergarten, Ms. Sprowal said, he was punished for acting out.

“They kept him after school to practice walking in the hallway,” she said.

Several times, she was called to pick him up early, she said, and in his third week he was suspended three days for bothering other children.

In Matthew’s three years of preschool, Ms. Sprowal said, he had never missed time for behavior problems. “After only 12 days in your school,” she wrote the principal, “you have assessed and concluded that our son is defective and will not meet your school criteria.”

Her Last Day of Teaching First Grade. – Anon

“Her Last Day of Teaching First Grade.” Anonymous via Diane Ravitch’s Blog.  August 24, 2013.  Retrieved from:

A recently retired teacher recounts her decision to retire along with a touching last day exercise which resulted in a comment made by a student that made all the sacrifices worthwhile.

I was absolutely floored.

That’s when I knew how much I’d miss teaching. That feeling of molding a group and helping them become better together than singly – that’s amazing.