Author Archives: Andrew Rotherham

Media: “Why America’s Schools Should Stay Open This Summer” in The 74

Let’s cancel summer!

This bums me out as a summer lover, but it makes sense for a bunch of reasons, namely education, equity, economy, and politics. Read more in my piece over at The 74:

But the unavoidable fact is that school leaders have two choices. One is to essentially throw up our hands and say the novel coronavirus is just an act of God — what can you do? Let’s just muddle through. The other is to say that, yes, this is an unprecedented and remarkable situation in modern American education, but despite that, schools are going to live up to the warranties they make to students.

My hunch is no one wants to think about this now, but it will be a big issue in a month or so. Do you think our national adventure in home schooling should extend through the summer?

Media: “Polling Expert and Former WH Aide Greg Schneiders on Where Education Advocates Must Do Better — and What You Didn’t Know About Carter’s Time in Office” in The 74

I interviewed longtime D.C. hand Greg Schneiders about public opinion research:

You’ve had an eclectic career — before working at the White House for Jimmy Carter, you owned a bar. What did being a bar owner teach you about thinking about politics and public opinion?

Owning a bar teaches you about business. Tending bar teaches you about people — who they are, what they believe or feel, and why. To be a good bartender, you have to be a good listener, which involves the same skill set as being a good opinion researcher. Nearly everyone — in a bar or in a poll — wants to tell you what they think and how they feel. And they want you to listen and respect their opinions and their feelings.

Few people come to a bar to hear the bartender’s opinion. They come to share their opinions and feelings about politics, the economy, education, culture, political correctness, sex, family, sports, the weather. A bad bartender will decide that the loudmouth at the end of the bar doesn’t know what he’s talking about and will argue with or, more likely, ignore him. The good bartender will realize that it doesn’t matter if the loudmouth knows what he’s talking about — the point is that it is what he believes, whether it is true or not.

You can read the entire thing at The 74.

Media: “Phonics. Whole Language. Balanced Literacy. The Problem Isn’t That We Don’t Know How to Teach Reading — It’s Politics” in The 74

In The 74 I ask whether on reading instruction we’re conflating our problems of education craft with our larger problem of education politics:

Most conversations about literacy treat the problem of poor reading instruction as one of craft. The problem is that teachers don’t know how to teach reading, so how do we make sure they do? Solve the craft problem, the argument goes, and the politics take care of themselves. But what if this is exactly backward and, instead, it’s a political problem that allows the craft problem to persist? And maybe not just on reading but also on other issues like testing, accountability and teacher evaluation, where we’re constantly told that if things were just a little better from a technical standpoint everyone would actually be on board?

You can read it all here.

Media: “High performing public charter schools coming to low-income parents” in The Hill

Thousands of low-income Black and Hispanic parents relying on charter schools are on thin political ice as the conservative-liberal alliance to support charter schools begins to falter.

Today in The Hill, I have a piece with co-author Richard Whitmire:

Lost in last week’s frenetic news about Trump’s revenge tour and an unpredictable international virus, a big story got overlooked: what might be the beginning of the end to the conservative/liberal alliance to offer better school options — high performing public charter schools — to low-income parents.

Those caught in the middle, and the clear losers here, are tens of thousands of black and Hispanic parents who can’t afford to move to the suburbs and desperately seek out charter schools they believe, and evidence shows, offer their children brighter futures.

Media: “Debate over charters must consider access to good schools for underserved families” in The Hill

In The Hill, I take a look at what we know about charter schools and how the polarized rhetoric about them obscures the work both “sides” ought to be doing to better serve all kids:

The nation’s first charter school opened in 1992 and there are now more than 7,000 across 43 states and Washington, D.C. Listening to the political debate about charter schools, though, you’d think they are a new idea — or at least one with little grounding in research or practice.

In fact, thanks to a lot of research we know quite a bit about charter schools and charter policy, as well as the complicated issues these publicly-funded but independently-run schools raise…

Read the entire op-ed here.