Speaking of New Paternalism…

by Robert Pondiscio
September 12th, 2008

Jay Mathews of the Washington Post has decided that “No Excuses Schools” is a better moniker than “New Paternalism.”  You may recall, Mathews had issues with the title of David Whitman’s new book, Sweating the Small Stuff, about KIPP, et al., praising the author’s work and the schools profiled in his book.  But he found the subtitle, “Inner-City Schools and the New Paternalism,” off-putting and a PR disaster.  So he invited his legion of readers to come up with a better name. 

Uncle Jay was kind enough to cite my objection in his column, but my point remains: if we want to move the agenda forward for kids, we need to focus on the practices that make those schools successful. If that means acting in loco parentis–or as a loco parent–so be it.  Whatever it takes. Also as Corey Bower points out, “No Excuses Schools” implies the reason most schools are struggling “is because they’re making excuses, or allowing kids to make excuses.”  It ain’t necessarily so. 

Hmmm.  How about “ILP Schools?”

New Paternalism on Steroids

by Robert Pondiscio
September 12th, 2008

Companies in Alberta, Canada are being urged not to hire high school dropouts to encourage students to get their diploma. 

Alberta’s Education Minister Dave Hancock told the Calgary Chamber of Commerce yesterday that Alberta’s high school completion rate needs improvement. Business has a role to play in helping kids stay in school.  “You can help by refusing to hire anyone without a high school diploma,” Hancock said.

TFA=AOL? OMG!

by Robert Pondiscio
September 12th, 2008

A-Rus at This Week in Education wonders if alternative certification programs like Teach For America are becoming the “AOL of teacher preparation programs — once innovative, and for a time dominant, but now increasingly outmoded.”  He posts a picture of those once-ubiquitous AOL discs to drive home the point.

The cutting edge of teacher prep now seems to be the residency model popularized in Boston and other places, and heralded in a recent report cited by EdWeek (Urban Teacher Residencies Touted). The other reason is that people like Barack Obama are talking about residency programs, not alt cert. TFA has grown tremendously in recent years, and had a lot of Republican support. I’m not sure it will have a similarly privileged position in an Obama administration.

Wasn’t it just last night that both Obama and McCain were pledging to boost America’s commitment to national service?  McCain touted TFA by name from the stage at Columbia and Obama has put forth a plan for “universal voluntary citizen service.”  Aren’t we looking at a need for 2 million teachers in the next decade?  Aren’t lines of applicants still failing to form outside struggling schools? 

We needn’t lose sleep worrying about TFA’s decline.  Russo did make me feel nostalgic for the AOL discs, however.  I used them for coasters.