NY Times CoverThis Sunday's NY Times Magazine featured a cover story by Seven Brill titled The Teacher Unions’ Last Stand. Its a compelling narrative on behalf of the self-styled education reformer-entrepreneurs. It happens to be the same narrative that drives the strategies of Arne Duncan’s Ed Department and the Gates Foundation. It’s the new narrative of the education establishment. The problem with the narrative is that it is based on a foundation of faulty facts. Brill and company know the facts they assert are wrong, but their readers may not.
1. Brill claims that K-12 teachers have life-long tenure once they pass their probationary period, like college professors. This is just not true. The word "tenure" should not be used to describe what obtains for public school teachers. Simple due process rights bear no similarity to "tenure" for college professors. Brill creates a false impression by not clarifying what tenure really means.
2. The Harlem Children’s Zone charter school, which gets better results in the same neighborhood, hand-picks their students. The poverty rate is much lower. In the first two years they were not getting the results so they dismissed the students, recruited different ones and got better results. Brill neglects to provide this important piece of information when he compares the schools.