November 7, 2017

Teach For America And Its Audiences, We Work School, Accountability, Betsy DeVos Still Here, Obama Guidance, Not So Much…Food Ideas, More!

By Bellwether

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Yesterday, off-edu, I asked what was going on with Ryan Zinke, who isn’t living up to billing on public lands policy.

Don’t miss this 74 package on accountability.

Betsy DeVos is not leaving. She went through a lot to get the job. But, the, ‘who, me?’, no one was at the scene of the crime – her, the transition team, etc… – quality to who is to blame for her confirmation hearing is one of those amusing Washington things. To recap, she tells Politico she was badly staffed, the people staffing her say she wouldn’t pay attention.

Anyhow, DeVos will probably turn out to be a somewhat consequential Secretary of Education if for no other reason than she is undoing most of her predecessors’ policies over eight years because they were all done via guidance and executive actions rather than being embedded in law or formal regulations. And the one consequential recent education law she inherited, ESSA, she can basically choose to ignore because of how it’s structured and with a blessing from Hill Republicans.

Speaking of ESSA, all the confusion that color coded matrix accountability schemes cause is not a bug, it’s a feature.

Heather Harding on Teach For America and its positioning and audiences:

Finally, it’s important to remember that like many organizations, TFA is beginning its second act as its founder exits the central leadership and new leadership emerges. It would be a mistake to conflate TFA’s maturing policy platform with the identity politics frame being thrust upon new CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard. Straight from a Harvard Business School case study, Kopp surely has shepherded TFA’s transition into the post-founder era carefully and deliberately. Probe Villanueva Beard’s backstory, and you will find a classic American Dream narrative that offers something closer to the meritocracy we all want to believe in. Smartly, though, Villanueva Beard understands the need to listen to what narratives are most compelling to her most important audience: young people on college campuses.

The first time I walked into a “We Work” the very cool Emmeline Zhao of Topsheet was with me, which was a good thing because it’s so trendy we immediately agreed she should do the talking. Now there is this:

“In my book, there’s no reason why children in elementary schools can’t be launching their own businesses,” Rebekah Neumann said in an interview. She thinks kids should develop their passions and act on them early, instead of waiting to grow up to be “disruptive,” as the entrepreneurial set puts it.

The students—this pilot crop is five to eight years old—spend one day at a 60-acre farm and the rest of the week in a classroom near the company’s Manhattan headquarters, where they get lessons in business from both employees and entrepreneur-customers of WeWork. Neumann, who attended the elite New York City prep school Horace Mann and Cornell University, studying Buddhism and business, said she’s “rethinking the whole idea of what an education means” but is “non-compromising” on academic standards. The students will have to meet or exceed all of the state’s benchmarks for subjects such as math and reading.

At the farm, which the Neumanns bought last year, “if they are learning math, they are not just sitting in a classroom learning about numbers. They are also using numbers to run their farm stand, they’re reading about natural cycles of plant life,” she said. “It’s a very hands-on approach to learning.”
We will see…I do a bit of work on the side on food and farm policy via this excellent group, so this whole thing is worlds collide…BTW – couple of education and food policy ideas in here via Lindsey Shute and Tom Colicchio.


Here is a gas addicted monkey.

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