Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekend reads

Don Rose tells us what it was like when Daley's old man ran the city and Benjamin Willis ran the schools for him.
The new schools were built primarily in white areas, far from existing color lines -- or well within the boundaries of what came to be known as the ghetto. (Mayor Daley famously opined, however, "There are no ghettoes in Chicago.")
Toughest jobs

Arne Duncan, quoted in WaPo D.C. story, says that fixing broken neighborhood high schools without firing all the teachers or bringing in different kids, "is the toughest work in education today." Of course, he's never done it. Nor has he ever tried teaching in those schools, with little support or resources. If he had, he'd know that done right, and with good partners--not Gates-style takeover managers like Edison--success is possible. Michelle Rhee appears to be giving it a shot.
Of the remedies available under No Child Left Behind -- which include wholesale replacement of teachers and administrators and even conversion to a charter school -- outside partnerships are among the least popular. Deep-pocketed players, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the for-profit Edison Project, have spent enormous sums trying to reimagine the American high school but have achieved mixed results at best.

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