fbpx

Podcast

Michelle Rhee at the RNC: Education reform “has to be a bipartisan movement”

Michelle Rhee calls herself a “very, very, lefty liberal.” So what is she doing at the RNC in Tampa? Building bridges. “Despite the fact that I hold Democratic views on a lot of things, what I have found in my work on education advocacy and policy is that I often times find myself agreeing with, and getting the support of, Republicans,” she told redefinED after sharing the stage Tuesday with Jeb Bush. “And if I was a partisan person, then I would sort of eschew them and say no. But I’m about getting things done for kids. I’m about pushing policies that...

The Tea Party case for eliminating the U.S. Department of Education

Tea Party groups succeeded in pushing the Republican Party platform to the right this year, but they failed to restore a former plank they favor: Eliminating the U.S. Department of Education. The effort was led by FreedomWorks, the advocacy group chaired by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey and a leading force in the Tea Party movement. Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, told redefinED at the RNC that while the group fell short on the platform language, it succeeded in fostering a debate about decentralized decision-making in education – and the effectiveness of federal...

Charter School 3.0: When the charter school is the neighborhood school – Chris Barbic, podcastED

Students at six high-poverty schools in Memphis returned to class this month as the focus of an education reform project that's worthy of national attention. The schools are the first cluster in the “Achievement School District,” a Race To The Top-fueled vision headed by Chris Barbic, founder of the acclaimed YES Prep charter schools in Houston. The district’s near-term goal – lifting schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide to the top 25 percent within five years – is as ambitious as YES Prep’s target of getting every graduate into a four-year college. Its big-picture goal is even more so: Showing...

Catholic schools can learn from charter schools – Sean Kennedy, podcastED

Charter schools took a page from Catholic schools when they arrived in the 1990s and began their expansion – character development, solid discipline, a no-excuses approach to success for low-income kids. But now it's Catholic schools, struggling with declining enrollment (in part because of competition from charters), that should borrow good ideas from charters, the author of a new report says. Sean Kennedy, a visiting fellow at the Lexington Institute, points to how high-performing charter schools have embraced data and technology to better differentiate teaching, including use of “blended learning” models that have both improved student performance and reduced cost. “They’ve really invested in...

More school choice will foster unity, strengthen democracy – Rabbi Moshe Matz, podcastED

It’s another persistent myth about expanding school choice: Ethnic and religious groups will retreat into walled-off camps that are more insular and intolerant. Society will splinter. Democracy will crumble. Rabbi Moshe Matz offers a polite rebuttal. “The reality is that an educated population is bound to be the force for greater democracy and greater embracing of unity in a society,” Matz, a school choice stalwart in Florida, says in the redefinED podcast interview below. “Look around. Tyranny always feeds off the uneducated.” Matz, 39, is director of Agudath Israel of Florida, which represents roughly 100 rabbis and synagogues. In 2010, he...

From public school educator to private school educator – Yvonne C. Reed-Clayton, podcastED

There’s no doubt parents are exercising school choice in growing numbers. But teachers and principals, too, are increasingly taking their talents to classrooms beyond traditional public schools. Yvonne C. Reed-Clayton, 73, of St. Petersburg, Fla., was ahead of the curve. In 1996, she retired after 34 years as a teacher and administrator in the Pinellas County school system, one of the biggest in the nation. Days later, she became head of a new private school, and two years after that, founded her own. The reason was simple, she told redefinED. She wanted to help struggling students, particularly black males. And in a...

Latino voters want to hear about education, school choice – HCREO president Julio Fuentes, podcastED

If President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney want to win over Latino voters, a new survey of five battleground states suggests they do two things: Talk up education. And emphasize school choice. More than voters in general, Latino voters are more likely to say education is a leading issue, just behind the economy and jobs, found the survey, released Tuesday by the American Federation for Children and the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options. The survey also found Latino voters are more likely than voters in general to support vouchers, tax credit scholarships and education savings accounts. For instance, while 57 percent of likely...

From big-city superintendent to supporter of vouchers and charters – Arlene Ackerman, podcastED

Last fall, Arlene Ackerman, the former schools superintendent in Philadelphia, made a stunning announcement for someone of her status. In a newspaper op-ed, she forcefully came out in favor of expanded school choice options, including more charter schools and yes, even vouchers. "I've come to a sad realization," she wrote. "Real reform will never come from within the system." In this redefinED podcast, Ackerman talks more about her evolution. For years, she pushed change from the highest perches in K-12 education. Before Philly, she headed the school districts in Washington D.C. and San Francisco. She led the latter when it became...