Monday, September 8, 2008

What do these have in common?

If you haven't seen Boston Magazine this month, they're running the ever popular "Top 50 (fill in the blank here)" issue.
This month, it's the "Best Schools," which, given the magazine's focus, means something more like "the Best Schools inside of Route 128." Oh, okay, "inside 495."

If you know urban education at all, you'll get no real surprises here ('though I would like to know what Lowell is doing: anyone know?). If it's an exam school, it's on there. If it has high property taxes, majority college educated parents, majority white, it's on here. Oh, and high per-pupil spending certainly doesn't hurt, "efficiency calculation" or no.
They did do us the favor of looking into how some districts (Arlington?) are "stretching their dollars," but if this is their prescription, they should be sued for malpractice:

Management consultants, fundraising, PR campaigns—the public school game is changing. Superintendents now have to be equally adept as educators and CEOs. They must understand complex fiscal matters as completely as they do what makes a child learn. Patrick should continue to pursue big-picture reform, but with our schools needing help now, it'll be up to superintendents and administrators to get creative, run their budgets efficiently, and deliver practical solutions.

You heard 'em, superintendents: go out there and...get creative!
Gee, thanks, guys.

Those of you still living in this universe might enjoy Sandra Tsing Loh's interview with about her new book about public education. And when you laugh at her, it won't be the hollow laugh of despair, as it would be with the above selections.

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