March 15, 2021

DeVos, Schumer, & Weingarten Walk Into A Bar…We Like The Theater…Flanagan, Tests, More Odds & Ends

By Bellwether

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One of the first things you learn in policy school (or pundit school for that matter) is that there are no silver bullets. That’s generally true, but here’s a failsafe: You really can’t go wrong always reading Caitlin Flanagan, in general and on education. Too much to pull quote from her latest searing Atlantic essay. Just read it.

Betsy DeVos, Chuck Schumer, and Randi Weingarten walk into a bar…Throughout the various debates on Covid relief funds and schools questions about who the money should be intended for and whether it’s economic or educational aid sparked a lot of debate. Now comes a lot of money for private schools.

Tests, huh, yeah! What are they good for? Absolutely…something? EdNavigator on some aspects for parents. 

We obviously live in a performative time, but this line jumped out at me from the story about San Francisco’s Vince Matthews resigning. We really seem to like the performance!

In June, Matthews urged the board to approve a grant-funded contract with a consultant who would help the district navigate the pandemic and the reopening of schools. Board members questioned the request and ultimately denied it because the candidate had previously done work with a charter school. Matthews told the board the rejection was a “body blow.”

What is the ratio of the amount we heard about that sort of thing to the recent school renaming episode? At the end of the day what San Francisco decides to name its schools is mostly theater. Nationally, most of the people cheering the renaming or opposing it couldn’t name a half dozen schools in the city in the first place. The incompetence of the renamers made it too easy, but most people in that debate were not really arguing about schools in San Francisco. Rather, they were signaling to others about where they stand on the cultural war du jour. But the attention to that circus, relative to this issue of who the superintendent can hire to help him achieve things for students, or Matthews’ dealings with the board more generally? That is the day to day that really matters.

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