But which one gets to be Crassus?

Via EducationNext, a little inside baseball for those of you following the ongoing reform wars: Klein, Moskowitz, and Rhee have joined forces in New York.  It looks like that’s where they’re going to make a stand.  According to the NYT:

Like the national group, the state branch will promote the expansion of charter schools and the firing of ineffective schoolteachers, while opposing tenure.

I should visit the concession stand and pick up some popcorn.  This is going to be good.  Anyone want anything while I’m up?


  1. Klein, Moskowitz and Rhee, the New 3 Stooges

  2. GEORGE LARSON says:

    Caesar, Crassus and Pompey were not stooges.

    I think that the analogy to the Roman Triumvirate and the civil war that followed destroying the republic is scary and might end up being true, destroying the school system.

    Is anyone willing to compromise on these issues?

    • Compromise is already occurring although not on the terms Mike would prefer. Still, since public education is a political institution it’s the changing political winds that’ll determine the terms of the compromise.

      The terms of that compromise however, aren’t to Mike’s liking so he engages in the sort of rhetoric appropriate to someone who is upset to find the world doesn’t revolve around them.

  3. Hedge fund managers and venture (vulture) capitalists are funding The Stooges? Yeah, that can’t be any good for anybody except the “reformers”.

  4. Mike – Because, of course, the status quo that’s been in force since the 1960’s has worked so well? They’re not trying to fix anything that isn’t broken, are they?

    • What status quo? The US graduates more people now than it did before, and has a 99% literacy rate while being 43rd in the world in education spending as a percentage of GDP. You can check it in the CIA World Fact Book.


      Do you ever actually research the facts you’re trying to make or do you get your talking points from Fox News?

      • Sorry, haven’t had cable TV since 2005. And the U.S. hasn’t been graduating more *actual, prepared* high school graduates than ever before – its been handing out high school diplomas that are little more than ‘certificates of attendance’ like candy. How else do you explain high school graduates who can’t make change from a $20 bill?

      • Oh, the status quo that sees only 70% of kids graduating high school – http://tinyurl.com/6s5xf3r

        That status quo.

        Although if the CIA Factbook is to be believed we’re obviously spending way too much money on public education.

        I mean, if we’ve got a 99% literacy rate with a 70% drop out rate teaching reading must be a snap so let’s cut the fat out of the education budget.

        By the way Mike, along with removing the cap on charters entirely in 2015, in Michigan, the Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager is also spinning off 10 small high schools that’ll be largely independent of the district.

        • Facts? Proof? I posted a link, not from a “think tank” or conservative foundation, but from the actual US govt.

          You spout nonsense, ditto for Allen, but then again facts were never Allen’s forte.

          Allen, can you find ANY facts claimed by someone other than an economist or a political science professor?

          I noticed your link doesn’t say what the graduation rate was in 1970, only that other countries have raised theirs.

          Here is a link:


          Noticed the dropout rate has actually gone down, the majority of the decreases being pre-NCLB.

          And another link from the US Govt.


          In 2000, 86.5 percent of all 18- through 24-year-olds not enrolled in high school had completed high school. Completion rates rose slightly from the early 1970s to the late 1980s, but have remained fairly constant during the 1990s (figure A and table B7).

          , so it seems the “crisis” that NCLB was supposed to solve was all based on lies.

          • Roger Sweeny says:

            Policy entrepreneurs are always coming up with “crises” that they can solve if you give them more money and power.

            I don’t think there was a crisis but there was a problem. More people were graduating high school but many of them didn’t have much in the way of even basic skills. This was especially true of “people of color.”

            There was a fear that a high school diploma didn’t mean much. NCLB was a (seriously flawed) attempt to make a high school diploma mean that its posseser did indeed have all the basic skills.

          • Has it ever occured to you that these government ‘studies’ could be heavily doctored in many, many ways? I’m not saying they are… But when you look at the government’s track record…

        • Aw, I’m sorry Mike. Life not treating you fairly? People just not listening to you even though you’re ever so sure you’re the soul of compassion and weep bitter tears for each tyke who doesn’t flower into their full potential because their teachers aren’t paid enough to do their job right?

          I can understand that.

          But you really ought to try to come to terms with the fact that after decades of simply assuming schools and teachers were doing the job they were supposed to do the public’s now demanding proof, facts.

          We can thank NCLB, in part, for raising the issue of whether schools, and teachers, ought to demonstrate that they’re actually accomplishing the goals for which they’re paid. The Obama administration follow-on to NCLB, RttT, has also proven politically successful as well by putting teacher’s unions on the spot as the primary impediment to reform of the public education system.

          I know the prospect of demonstrating professional competence fills you with dread and impotent rage Mike, but that’s your future. Better get used to it.

          • Ah Allen, as always can’t refute the facts so you resort to a personal attack.

          • Hey Mike, along with taking the charter cap off completely here in Michigan, the Detroit Public Schools district is going to effectively charterize ten high schools.

            You know Mike, it’s only a matter of time before some bright politician realizes that districts really have nothing to offer, that they perform no necessary service, that they suck of vast amounts of tax money for no tangible return and then it’ll be “Katy bar the door”.

            I’d like to think Michigan will lead the way to reforming public education, setting the stage for ending government involvement entirely, but it could be Louisiana or even Washington D.C. Louisiana has New Orleans which is 70% charters and Washington D.C. has almost as high a percentage of kids in charters as Detroit plus and angry, poor, black group of parents that don’t appreciate having the rug pulled out from under their kid’s feet when folks like you screw with their little voucher program.

            Yes, the future’s looking bright indeed.

          • Roger Sweeny says:


            I have no doubt that the charters will do better than the Detroit Public Schools. But I would be willing to bet substantial amounts of money that they won’t be a whole lot better.

            There is a humongous problem at the heart of secondary education. We are trying to teach kids things that they largely aren’t interested in. We can certainly get more of it into their heads for a few weeks or a few months. But actual understanding and retaining? I’m not optimistic.

          • Given the grotesque nature of the DPS that’s not much of a vote of confidence, Roger but money isn’t the issue. If it were the DPS would be doing right well by the kids and so would many other urban school districts that *aren’t* doing right well by the kids. The DPS has a per kid budget of over $15,000/year which, if it isn’t enough to do a decent, not to say excellent, job then no amount of money is.

            The problem is that the district is indifferent to education. Learn, don’t learn, it doesn’t matter and that attitude’s transmitted by the fact of teachers who don’t teach, administrators who don’t administer and nobody giving much of a damn.

            If you want an explanation of why those poor kids do worse the longer they’re in the system, there you are. That’s why programs like Headstart don’t have much impact to begin with and that impact rapidly dissipates. The kids know they’re being screwed and they react appropriately.

            Under those circumstance charters can be pretty rotten and still be better then the district schools and parents, and kids, know it.

            Many district schools in Detroit, and other urban districts, are dangerous places. When one of your selling points is “no children shot recently” you know producing educational results isn’t going to be that tough; parental expectations aren’t going to be that high.

            As for the kids, they’re very much a function of their environment and if the school environment is rotten, as it is in many urban districts, and their home environment isn’t wonderful, don’t you think it’s asking a great deal of them to rise above both?

            But society’s paying for the educational system so there are legitimate demands that can be made in that quarter. If the current system isn’t producing the demanded results then it’s the current system that ought to be under a microscope, not the kids who are required to attend or their parents.

  5. Again Allen, is that the best you can do? One fact, Michigan lifted the charter cap? That’s your “proof” the entire education system is crumbling?

    • Paraphrasing one of Noah’s neighbors, Mike – “So it’s starting to rain. Big deal”?

      • Let me ask you the reverse question – why are you so absoultely sure that it’s in great shape?

        • There is need for improvement, but those improvements are going to come from politicians who primary goal is to make their buddies money.

          • Roger Sweeny says:

            I think it’s more complicated. Many politicians honestly believe that the public interest is served when their supporters get more money. So Democrats want to pour money into the public schools and Republicans want to pour money into the public military.

            It’s not that they are cynically rewarding their friends. It’s just that it conveniently works out that way.

          • Like, for instance, when the municipal unions discover that by firing all the central office staff gobs of tax money will be up for grabs.

            Politicians will certainly be glad to have a good reason to take from one part of the public budget and move it to another. Like, for instance, the fact that charters don’t need central office staff. Won’t it just be the height of fiscal responsibility to get rid of superfluous government employees, which charters prove the district, central office staff to be, to fund the police, fire, road commission and such?

            Of course it will.