posted on April 22nd, 2010 on Kids Media, New York, Policy & Politics by Administrator
I’ve just attended a rally in support of New York’s Charter Schools. The event spurring the rally was a “hearing” by New York State Senator Bill Perkins the name of which seems noble enough: Public Hearing: Is our Democratic vision of public education being fulfilled? A decade later: A look at the growing charter school industry. Unfortunately this seemingly neutral hearing is undermined by Perkins’ actual position. He’s already introduced legislation to limit charter schools and is an ally of (and recipient of campaign donations from) the New York branch of the UFT. His legislation would place New York even lower in meeting the funding criteria in Race to the Top, the federal school reform initiative.
If you’re new to the charter school debate here are three things to keep in mind:
It’s about choice. If parents don’t want to send their kids to charter schools they’ll stop entering the lotteries to send their kids there. The teachers unions have been operating a monopoly and, as monopolists are inclined to do, oppose choice.
Charter schools are public schools. They are funded the same way as public schools, they’re just operated independently.
Charter schools’ results are truly amazing. There are a lot of studies and I’ve included links below to sites that point to many of them. For a quick example check out the column David Brooks wrote on Harlem Children’s Zone’s results last year.
There’s actually an aspect to Perkins own education that mystified many parents in the crowd. While Perkins waves the “democracy” banner, he’s actually the product of a full-ride merit scholarship to Collegiate. As someone who benefitted so dramatically from school choice in its least scalable form, how can he oppose expanding options to so many working families? Is it that he has calculated that he can get more votes from the teachers union and disappointed parents on the losing end of the charter school lotteries? Sounds cynical but some of the actions of the charter school opponents are so egregious that I wouldn’t be surprised.
posted on April 21st, 2010 on Digital Media, Kids Media by Administrator
Back in January I attended Sam Lessin’s fantastic futurists meetup where he brings in guests to speculate on the impact the next 30 years will have business/life/etc. In January his subject was The Future of Music and his guest was Lyor Cohen whose track record as a music exec is simply amazing – a true pioneer. You know you’ve been to a good meetup when you leave with lots of ideas (or as I’m beginning to think of them “blog fodder”) and this was a great one.
I was surprised to find that what actually excited me most wasn’t thinking about the evolving business models (I usually love to nerd out on that stuff) but rather thinking about how the lives of frustrated musicians and dedicated music lovers will be different from mine. Perhaps this shouldn’t have been too surprising – I was a piano lesson flunkie with a weak ear and questionable sense of rhythm. I looked on enviously while friends in high school played in bands while I mastered hanging out in record stores. Further, the meetup happened on the heels of a Christmas where our three year-old son Jake had requested a “rockin’ guitar” and where I also splurged on Beatles Rock Band. Ultimately this all left me pondering how music 30 years from now will look different in a few areas. Here are my questions, what do you think?
posted on April 20th, 2010 on Digital Media, Kids Media, Policy & Politics by Administrator
Background: While I’ve spent much of my career in kids/educational media, only in the last couple of years have I become more immersed in the study of/become an advocate of policies that support what is typically labeled “Education Reform”. There are many bloggers out there with a greater command of ER issues than me and I’m certainly not going to duplicate their efforts here. Instead I’ll be adding a “media-centric” personal perspective on education and largely threading it through a topic where I can give unique advice: the lessons learned in my career bridging traditional and digital media.