Silly season in education politics

It’s a Friday in early August, so why not have crazy education news?

  • You’ve already destroyed our district, but could we at least pretend to open our doors this year? After months of public disavowal by Pennsylvania politicians of any obligation to fund Philadelphia’s schools adequately, Philadelphia superintendent William Hite gave notice yesterday that if $50 million to help fill a budget gap were not available to the school district within a week, the schools would not be able to open in time on September 9.
  • You know Pope Frances cares deeply about disadvantaged youth, especially law-school students. Georgetown Law School has figured a very clever way to get you and me to pay for their expensive law school through the federal income-based repayment of loans, even loans for professional schools. When asked about this arrangement by Politico reporter Libby Nelson, an assistant dean said that starting the careers of professionals was within the Jesuit mission of Georgetown to promote social justice.
  • The first rule about ALEC Club is, don’t talk about ALEC Club. Jeb Bush gives a major address touting all his reforms without once mentioning a recently-exposed, eensy-weensy scandal in Indiana. My favorite part of the speech was where he said everyone who disagreed with him was “hatch[ing] conspiracy theories about plots to destroy public education.” His audience: members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the coalition of corporations and right-wing state legislators that privately (and often secretly) distributes model bills for its members to push in state capitols.
  • Don’t worry about turning out the lights; we have them preset to go out every year this time. Last week, Tony Bennett resigned as Florida’s Education Commissioner. Other resignations have followed from several of Bennett’s former underlings in both Indiana and Florida. This week, Florida’s university system chancellor Frank Brogan resigned to take a similar job in Pennsylvania. Brogan’s resignation does not surprise me after the last two years of extraordinary political meddling in the state’s universities. Yes, we do need some luck on conducting national searches, after our state’s leaders bollixed up both K-12 and higher ed…
  • My movies are getting worse, so let me switch to school reform. Yes, it’s coming in September: M. Night Shyamalan’s I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Education Gap. Can’t wait for the big reveal in the last reel.

And that’s not even touching Andy Rotherham’s I don’t care where celebrities enroll their kids but let me write a few more paragraphs about Matt Damon column.1 I’ll chalk it up to temporary insanity from fishing withdrawal and general August. Hope you get better soon, buddy.

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  1. Update: Rotherham is complaining on Twitter this morning [Monday] that no one recognizes he’s making a pro-public-education argument. I did, but I still think the hook is … uh … celebrity slumming. []

One response to “Silly season in education politics”

  1. Glen S. McGhee

    Frank Brogan leaving too!

    “The position is the highest-paid job in Pennsylvania state government, but Brogan, 59, will take a pay cut; he will make $327,500 compared to his current $357,000 base salary.” Dang — pretty good for an uppity school principal, if you ask me!
    He’ll be the highest paid public employee in Pennsylvania? — that cannot be right. Sheesh!

    We have come a long way from the Board of Control over everything in Florida’s education institutions, and I mean everything. Could we say, then, that it has been like a war of independence? from the state, but not from its support?

    I think it is important to see these events in context — I don’t know about Penn’s higher ed system — or its history — but Florida is different and unique.