October 19, 2017

My Boy’s Wicked Smart? Sorry, I Don’t See It! Is TFA’s Pivot Smart? Are Pensions Smart? Is Gates’ New Strategy Smart? Is The CW On Teachers Unions Smart? Jenn Schiess’ Take On Transportation = Smart! All That And More!

By Bellwether

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Sadly, my boy may not be wicked smart after all. Matt Damon seems pretty oblivious, so why would you take his advice about schools?


Jenn Schiess on why you should be paying attention to school transportation. Seriously, you should, not nearly as boring as you think! Also, here’s something you can do with old school buses.

Chad Aldeman on teacher pensions, expensive and not a very good retirement policy for educators, but otherwise excellent. And here’s Chad on some pension lessons from the feds.


Gates Foundation rolling out a new strategy, Bill Gates personally announced it today.

Teach For America has pivoted toward the politics of the left – and observers who share and don’t share those politics have speculated about risk and what it might mean for an organization that is inextricably linked with public policy. Would Republicans sour on it and endanger its bipartisanship (which was genuine) or did it not matter that much? That conversation seems poised to spill into the open with this Commentary essay by a former corps member questioning the organization’s strategy.  I’d argue that TFA faces a complicated audience problem at a difficult political moment. I find it hard to quibble with efforts to make sure schools are more inclusive for marginalized populations. But, outside of those issues they are walking into something of a box canyon because short of repudiating what the organization is fundamentally about they will never be able to placate the institutional left no matter what they say or do, in particular the teachers unions but also much of the infrastructure around public education. It’s fool’s gold. And the political price could be high.

5-3 writes-up Ellen Moir’s retirement news. Moir confounded the “nothing works” and “only blowing everything up works” crowd with her work.

And here’s a look at Melody Schopp’s legacy in South Dakota.

More Barone and Laurens on ESSA. Has some inside baseball, but important.

Throw on some flannel and put on some Nirvana and this new TURN report will resonate more.

This NCTQ look at teacher housing costs is valuable – we talk a lot about average salaries but those numbers need the context of cost of living to make sense.

Should grantmakers invest in school districts? Bridgespan says yes. They see innovation opportunities.

Here’s an interesting question: Who gets to decide what’s culturally competent, and what if broad swaths of Americans of all races and ethnicities disagree? Big class and elitism issue embedded here.

If [when most observers assume] the SCOTUS rules against public sector unions this session, will a mass membership decline follow?

Three’s a crowd at parent teacher conferences?

Women’s hockey.

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