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    "Ben Chavis, the most politically incorrect person on the planet, is also, not coincidentally, one of the people most correct about inner-city education. Read this book by a man who gets results as a practitioner of the 'no excuses' approach to schooling."
    - George F. Will, The Washington Post columnist

    "…[T]here is much to be learned from this account. It is possible to restore public education to its mission of educating the nation's citizens. There is a message of hope and possibility in 'Crazy Like a Fox' that we should embrace."
    - Mitchell Kapor, The San Francisco Chronicle

    "Chavis [is] undeniably one of the country's finest educators…Thrust this book into the hands of all the parents you know and implore them to read it…Chavis is passionate, articulate, and entertaining. He's also right."
    - Mark Hemingway, National Review

    "American Indian [is] a rarity in American education, defying the axiom that poor black and Latino children will lag behind others in school."
    - Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times

    "To get the kind of results Chavis does in Oakland is a work of stripped-down genius. Ben's book reads like Ben talks: forthright, funny, irreverent, and wise. For anyone who cares about American education, for anyone who cares about America, Crazy Like a Fox is an essential read."
    - Jack Cashill, author What's the Matter with California?

    CRAZY LIKE A FOX: One Principal's Triumph in the Inner City provides a hair-raising and inspiring account of educational achievement in Oakland, California.

    Before Dr. Ben Chavis took over as principal, American Indian Public Charter School was a litter-strewn, rundown mess with unsupervised students, horrible test scores and dismal attendance rates, all factors that brought the middle school rightfully to the brink of closure.

    Chavis, an American Indian raised in a sharecropper's shack with no electricity, came on the scene and said he'd like to take over the school, then referred to as "the zoo." Was he off his rocker?

    After being appointed principal, he raised the bar with an approach that would make most educators tremble and set American Indian Public Charter School apart as one of the finest middle schools in all of California.

    Carey Blakely's Blog

    Welcome! Please share your thoughts. Note that the opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Crazy Like a Fox writer, Carey Blakely.

    The Paperback Is Out!

    The paperback version of Crazy Like a Fox: One Principal’s Triumph in the Inner City is now available!

    The hardcover was released about a year ago from today. Both the hardcover and paperback versions of Crazy Like a Fox are published by a division of Penguin Group (USA) called New American Library.

    The paperback features a new foreword by MSNBC analyst Michelle Bernard.

    You can purchase the paperback online or in stores. A new, as opposed to a used, purchase is always appreciated if you can swing it. And my editor prefers that people shop somewhere other than Amazon. Thank you very much for your support!

    More Stats Point to the Same Truth

    I was recently contacted by a man named David Cary who described his education vision, NewERA. You can check out his ideas here: www.neweraschools.com

    I was struck by the statistics he cites below:

    • America is now 16th in the world academically 

    • One third of high school students drop out 

    • One half of high school graduates are not college-ready 

    • By 12th grade, the average black and Hispanic student is four years behind 

    • Children are now exposed to one stimulus every seven seconds 

    • Every parent works in 75–90 percent of households 

    • Children average six hours of electronics (TV, video games, internet) per day 

    • 25 percent of children are inactive and obese 

    • 80 percent of jobs in growing fields require a college-ready skill set 

    • College graduates earn $1 million more in their lifetime 

    These stats point to the impossible-to-ignore reality that our education system needs to be fixed and fast and that it pays literally and figuratively to get a good education. 

    Lastly, I liked this quote David Cary included in his vision document: 

    “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee

    It’s time for American K-12 education to get beyond its plateau and make upward progress. 

    Re: Democrats, Lies, and the Awful Education of Minorities!

    I found the following praise for Crazy Like a Fox: One Principal’s Triumph in the Inner City in a Google Alert. The blogger goes by the pseudonym Diogenes The Cynic.

    Here’s what Diogenes the blogger passionately wrote:

    “One of the most compelling conservative books I have had the fortune to read is Crazy Like A Fox: One Principal’s Triumph in the Inner City, by Dr. Ben Chavis and Carey Blakely. Ironically it was not written as a ‘conservative’ book but conservative principles naturally erupted throughout this memoir of a brave educator that spun trash into gold. I found myself cheering as this politically incorrect America Indian pioneer took over the American Indian Charter Public School in Oakland, California, that was failing in every measurable aspect, a cesspool of illiteracy, and single-handedly brought it to the fifth ranked public school in the state – based on standardized tests! In that process Ben Chavis slashed and burned every stupid liberal idea, from unions to multiculturalism and their decades long ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ – all to the abject horror of the Oakland liberal educational establishment. He was attacked by many leftist-liberal educators but he would turn their criticism into an attack on how they have failed minority education for generations. I am astonished this book has not received more play from the conservative media elements, it is a spectacular read. (Laura Ingraham and John Stossel did cover it.)

    “For those of you with the belief that public school education has deteriorated to the point of disaster – and especially inner city schools, and the dominant political party has had a great role to play in its downfall then this book is for you.

    “If you thought it was a monumental case of hypocrisy for Barack Obama to send his children to the prestigious Sidwell Friends school while he destroyed the voucher program in DC, which then prevented poor black children from attending the same school – then this book is for you.

    “If you are tired of being lectured by Democrats on racism, while they and their union paymasters have for generations kept minority children in a world destined to fail, and never once admitted their grotesque mismanagement or complete negligence about the disastrous consequences – this story is for you – because Ben Chavis has a special message for these ‘pimps’ as he calls them.

    “If you are tired of liberals telling the world that not enough is being spent on education and that taxes need to be raised to fix this problem – while they purposely thwart any attempt of accountability for teachers, and fight with tooth and claw the ability to fire incompetent teachers, standardized testing and No Child Left Behind – then this book is for you. Chavis bemoans the money being wasted by a system that is designed to spend and designed to fail. He is a proponent of No Child Left Behind and dedicated the book to it, because he is not afraid of standardized testing and wants to be held accountable – he is the anti-liberal education establishment. Are you listening NJ teachers? I would think Governor Christie would be dispensing this book at meetings.

    “Ben Chavis is an American Indian educator and self made wealthy businessman, has struck a rock in the desert with his teacher’s ruler and unleashed an untapped river of pure water. He took over the American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland California, which had a 35% absentee rate, alcohol and marijuana problems, kids having sex on a mattress behind a tool shed, and moronic Oakland teachers spending hours making beads and banging drums to keep the students culturally attuned to their Indian heritage. Chavis, a veritable Hercules, cleaned the Augean Stables of this rot and fired almost everyone working at the school. He painted, scrubbed and revitalized the school building but more importantly he wire brushed the corroded minds around him. He brought absenteeism to 2%, he tracked down mothers in bars at ten in the morning demanding their children come to school, he made math and English a top priority devoting 90 minutes to each subject, he banished all multicultural nonsense from the curriculum, he ended the minority “victimization” mentality and he taught free market capitalism as a color blind road to prosperity. Test scores sky rocketed! Read more »

    Guest Blog: Dumbing Down vs. Raising Expectations

    A friend of mine who just finished up a year as an academic coach at a low-performing school district in Southern California has a great anecdote to share about one day on the job and–I might add–one day of making a meaningful difference despite the deadening mediocrity that surrounded her.

    Here it is:

    “I had to take over and a 5th and 6th grade Special Day Class at the last minute due to an emergency situation one Monday.  Knowing the teacher quite well and being a former sixth grade teacher myself, I felt confident and figured it would be an easy ½ day.  I walked in to find eight students and two aids spread randomly throughout the room not working at all and no lesson plans in sight.  The kids were all over the place, I saw no books on desks and not a single student had a pencil out. When I asked them to please sit in their seats, the response from one boy was, ‘We don’t got no seats. We sit wherever.’

    “This had become common to me. As a coach I have the opportunity to visit and teach in sixty some classrooms between two schools and was starting to realize that how I taught and ran a classroom was not at all close to how most of the teachers in our district were teaching and running theirs, veterans or not.  By now my mouth was ready to run. ‘Wow, what fantastic English you have. Sit right in the front so we can make it even better!’ His smile faded immediately, but he obeyed. Naturally I was getting no help from either of the aids. After getting rid of gum, silencing the kids and creating a seating arrangement I was finally able to begin teaching.

    “In November I should be able to walk into a room and take over that second and not have to waste valuable minutes on classroom management.  Nevertheless, I was able to teach grammar, reading comprehension strategies and even some writing, which apparently was new to most of them.  They were well behaved and engaged the rest of the day.  For the English Language Development block I welcomed 12 new students with similar learning abilities and attitudes. The frustrating part of that block was not only the time I spent going through the retraining process again, but the activity assigned.  When I asked one aid where the activity sheets were that had been listed on the board, I was handed a stack of coloring pages.  These supposed activity sheets had very basic sentences on the bottom of the page in small print while the picture took up pretty much the entire page. ‘You mean they just color this? That’s it? For 35 minutes, they just color? Does it go with something? What is the lesson?’ I ranted at the aid.  Her response was awesome, ‘Well, yesterday they wrote their names and today they color the picture.  Here are the colored pencils.’

    This is a program that our district had spent umpteen thousands on to adopt and our kids are going to color? I pretty much almost lost it then, but bit my lip, tossed the ‘activity sheets’ aside and decided to teach a vocabulary lesson focusing on some of the words I read in the sentences.  Again, the students were engaged, participating in discussion and learning.  What a concept! Probably the most irritating part of my day did not have anything to do with the students, but with the aids.  Their English was horrible and one of them would not stop speaking Spanish to one student, translating my every word and at one point even writing for the child!  I couldn’t take it anymore and had to step in.  I asked her to let him please just listen to my lessons for a little bit and to stop translating for him. She seemed a little undone, but got over it. I talked to the boy several times throughout that day and even though most of his responses were nods, he did talk to me a little.  So he can speak!  Why aren’t we letting him?  This is what I can’t stand about how we choose to teach English Language Learners.  Coddling just doesn’t work.

    “Later in the lounge, both the aids came running up to me like little school girls do to their teacher.  ‘How did you do that? They were quiet and learning, that was great!  We never do writing!’ These two veteran aids, who I thought hated me during my reign in their room, were flabbergasted at what I had done.  As flattered as I was it only made my blood boil.  My only response was, ‘They will only do what you expect of them.’ As much as I am learning from this job, the more frustrated I get with our school system. We are doing nothing but enabling these kids.  We make excuses and refuse to raise our expectations. It is incredibly aggravating.”

    How is technology affecting children’s concentration, empathy, impulse control?

    A new article from The New York Times provides insight into how technology affects the brains and lifestyles of children and adults. Impulse control, concentration, empathy, immersion in an activity, true social skills–many of these important traits are being lost in the din of email alerts, Facebook updates, compulsive email checking, and so-called multitasking, which researchers are saying is not so effective after all. Technology is important and without a doubt it is beneficial to have so much information at our fingertips. But, are we letting it go too far?

    Here’s an excerpt from the article:

    This is your brain on computers.

    Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.

    These play to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats. The stimulation provokes excitement — a dopamine squirt — that researchers say can be addictive. In its absence, people feel bored

    While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress.

    And scientists are discovering that even after the multitasking ends, fractured thinking and lack of focus persist. In other words, this is also your brain off computers.

    …In 2008, people consumed three times as much information each day as they did in 1960. And they are constantly shifting their attention. Computer users at work change windows or check e-mail or other programs nearly 37 times an hour, new research shows….

    …Researchers worry that constant digital stimulation like this creates attention problems for children with brains that are still developing, who already struggle to set priorities and resist impulses.

    Connor’s troubles started late last year. He could not focus on homework. No wonder, perhaps. On his bedroom desk sit two monitors, one with his music collection, one with Facebook and Reddit, a social site with news links that he and his father love. His iPhone availed him to relentless texting with his girlfriend.

    When he studied, “a little voice would be saying, ‘Look up’ at the computer, and I’d look up,” Connor said. “Normally, I’d say I want to only read for a few minutes, but I’d search every corner of Reddit and then check Facebook.”

    Mr. Nass at Stanford thinks the ultimate risk of heavy technology use is that it diminishes empathy by limiting how much people engage with one another, even in the same room.

    “The way we become more human is by paying attention to each other,” he said. “It shows how much you care.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/technology/07brain.html?src=busln

    AIPCS Vandalized During Oakland Teacher Strike

    Yesterday in Oakland during the one-day teacher strike sponsored by the teachers’ union (Oakland Education Association), a union member allegedly vandalized property at American Indian Public Charter School (the school where I used to teach for Dr. Ben Chavis and which formed the basis for Crazy Like a Fox).

    AIPCS is a non-unionized charter school that did not participate in the strike and decided to educate its students instead. As a result, AIPCS staff and students started their school day with spray-painted graffiti that said “strike”, gates that had been glued shut, and littered leaflets that said “Chinese Students + High Stakes Tests = High API.” Regarding the leaflets, all students of all ethnic groups perform well at AIPCS. Note that last year, the science scores for black students were higher than those of Asian students.

    A man wearing a bright green shirt (the color worn by the striking OEA teachers) was spotted by the school in the early morning by a nearby resident who scared him off.

    Here’s a description of the incident from Oakbook:

    “Teachers at American Indian Public Charter School in the Laurel District arrived to work Thursday morning to find that someone had spray painted the word ‘strike’ on the school’s sign and on the pavement in front of the school. Someone had also filled the school’s padlocks with glue, and littered the campus with leaflets bearing the equation: ‘Chinese Students + High Stakes Tests = High API.’

    “Sopath Mey, the middle school’s principal, said that the disruption to the school’s morning routine was particularly inconvenient Thursday because the school was taking care of 40 extra students, the younger siblings of American Indian students whose parents couldn’t afford to take a day off work during the Oakland teacher’s strike. A neighbor chased away someone suspected of vandalizing the school at around 6 Thursday morning.

    “The teachers at AIPCS are not unionized and weren’t striking Thursday. The middle school posts some of the highest test scores in the state. Last year, AIPCS boasted an Academic Performance Index (API) of 977. AIPCS has long drawn the ire of charter school opponents who claim that charter schools sap students and money from the traditional public school system.” http://www.theoakbook.com/MoreDetail.aspx?Aid=3902&CatId=8

    There’s more info at Oakland Tribune reporter Katy Murphy’s blog, including kooky comments from OEA members who need to log more staff development hours in rational thought (i.e. “It is possible that the glue and graffiti was put there by somebody hoping to discredit the union.” And the reasonable probability of that scenario is?) http://www.ibabuzz.com/education/2010/04/29/strike-day-vandalism-at-american-indian-school/

    And more in the San Francisco Chronicle about the “successful” strike. Here are some excerpts with the link below:

    “District officials, faced with an $85 million budget shortfall over the next two years, reiterated once again Thursday that they can’t afford to give the teachers pay raises.

    ” ‘I think we all agree our teachers need a pay increase,’ said Brad Stam, chief academic officer for the district. ‘But right now, we can’t afford one. We don’t want to bankrupt the district to do it and go back under state control…’”

    “At Edna Brewer Middle School on 13th Avenue in the Glenview neighborhood, all 40 teachers were on the picket line, chanting, ‘Scabs go home,’ and pounding drums and cowbells…”

    “One emergency substitute was surrounded by strikers and was forced to push through the line of striking teachers to get inside. Of the school’s 700 students, about 40 came to class, said special education teacher Mark Airgood.”

    Don’t forget that most public school funding comes from Average Daily Attendance money, so having students stay home from school decreases revenues for Oakland Unified School District, which in turn makes it all the more difficult to issue pay raises to teachers.

    “Another 600 Oakland schoolchildren lined up for a $5 double feature of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ and ‘Oceans’ with free popcorn offered at the Grand Lake Theater. Owner Allen Michaan held a special screening in support of the teachers’ strike.

    “He normally doesn’t offer the deal until summer.

    ” ‘We’re shocked by how many people showed up,’ Michaan said. ‘We weren’t ready for it.’”

    At least someone expressed some common sense:

    ” ‘To ask for money when California is on the brink of collapse is crazy,’ said the middle school worker, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid animosity at his school. ‘We could all use a pay raise, but if you give the teachers a raise, then the district will have to cut jobs.’”

    (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/30/MNV61D726D.DTL)

    Bias Against Charter Schools

    I read “The Patron Saint (and Scourge) of Lost Schools” in New York Magazine and found myself irritated with journalist Jeff Coplon because of his bias against charter schools, which he referred to as “quasi-public schools.” Charter schools aren’t “quasi” public; they are public.

    Coplon writes about charter schools: “Can privately run schools justly take public money while excluding the most vulnerable students? And should children be pushed to their limits—and beyond—to prove they can best their suburban counterparts on some flawed and arbitrary exam?”

    Again, charter schools are not privately run! They are public schools. I don’t know enough about the school leader described in Coplon’s article, Eva Moskowitz, or her schools, Success Charter Network, to comment on the exclusion of students, but I definitely take issue with calling standardized tests “flawed and arbitrary.”

    This article is another example of taking a charter school’s enormous success (the students’ test scores were incredible) and completely undercutting that success by saying the tests don’t mean a thing.

    Coplon also writes about standardized tests: “Despite their well-documented defects, these assessments are the make-or-break barometer of a school’s ‘accountability’ and a vital marketing tool for high-performing charter networks. Lofty numbers bedazzle authorizers and lure fat checks from foundations and trustees.”

    If the “defects” are so “well-documented”, then why doesn’t Coplon back up his assertions with some evidence? If people truly believe, like Coplon does, that test scores do not demonstrate a school’s “accountability”, then they assume that parents would be just as comfortable enrolling their child in a school where 0% of students tested proficient in English as one in which 100% of students tested proficient in English.

    And what’s so wrong about foundations and trustees signing “fat checks” to support schools? They are trying to help children who come from poor, uneducated families succeed in life. Oh, the horror.

    Did Coplon notice how every family member quoted in his article was absolutely thrilled that his/her child was enrolled in a Success Charter Network school?

    For example: “Some might deem this excessive, but Ashley’s grandmother, Yvette Rolack, was delighted with the extra attention—and with Ashley’s pair of 3’s. ‘They really stayed with the kids to help them get where they needed to go,’ she says. ‘I am a security guard, and I like my job, but I want my granddaughter to excel and not just stand at the door and nod her head and give directions. I want more for her.’

    Unfortunately, opponents of charter schools want less for her because they fight to protect, uphold, and make excuses for a failing inner-city public school system rather than offering children and their families choices and opportunities.

    I, quite frankly, like Eva Moskowitz’s quote that some people “believe in choice for themselves, but they don’t believe in choice for other people. To me, that is really fundamental to social justice: to have choices in life.”

    Let the people, not the politics, choose.

    Here’s the article in its entirety–worth reading despite the bias, in my opinion:

    http://nymag.com/news/features/65614/


    Rubber Room Doom

    Finally, some progress has been made on this topic, which is one of the most egregious examples of what unions can do to a school system. This type of union abuse makes me so  disgusted with our public school system! What a wasteful and shameful embarrassment for America.

    From The New York Times:

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the city’s teachers union have agreed to do away with “rubber rooms” and speed up hearings for teachers accused of wrongdoing or incompetence, ending a disciplinary system that has made both City Hall and the teachers’ union subjects of ridicule.

    Steve Ostrin, who has been in a reassignment center for more than five years, said closing them would be a “good thing.”

    Under the agreement, teachers the city is trying to fire will no longer be sent to the rubber rooms, known as reassignment centers, where the teachers show up every school day, sometimes for years, doing no work and drawing full salaries. Instead, these teachers will be assigned to administrative work or duties outside classrooms in their schools while their cases are pending.

    The centers have been a source of embarrassment for both the Bloomberg administration and the United Federation of Teachers, as articles in newspapers and magazines detailed teachers running businesses out of the rubber rooms or dozing off for hours on end.

    “Given the amount of press that this subject as gotten, to say that this is a big deal is probably an understatement,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference announcing the agreement.  “This was an absurd an expensive abuse of tenure. We’ve been able to solve what was one of the most divisive issues in our school system.”

    Officials said the agreement would also shorten the time it takes for cases to be resolved by allowing more arbitrators to be hired and requiring them to hear cases more frequently. Cases that lasted several years could now be completed in months.

    After removing a teacher from the classroom, Education Department officials will have 10 days to file incompetence charges and 60 days for charges of misconduct. Any teacher not formally charged within that time will be sent back to the classroom. In more serious cases in which education officials are trying to suspend a teacher without pay, the department would be required to file charges within three days.

    As Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein has increased efforts to get rid of teachers the city deems ineffective, the number of teachers in rubber rooms has grown. There are now about 550.

    Although the city has invested about $2 million in hiring more lawyers to help principals get rid of teachers, it has managed to fire only three for incompetence in the last two years.

    The centers will not close until the fall, officials said, but they pledged to resolve all of the pending cases by the end of the year.

    While the agreement may solve the thorny public relations problems for the city and the union, it does nothing to address the more costly absent teacher reserve pool, which consists of teachers who have lost their jobs because of budget cuts or when a school is shut down for poor performance, but have not been accused of incompetence of wrongdoing. Those teachers, who now number about 1,100, do not have permanent classroom jobs but draw full salaries.

    Mr. Klein has pushed for the power to lay off reserve teachers, but neither the union nor state legislators has been willing to go along.

    The agreement between the union and the city comes amid an increasingly icy relationship between Michael Mulgrew, the union’s president, and Mr. Klein. Despite the rubber room deal, there are no signs that they are any closer to an agreement on a new teachers’ contract.

    www.nytimes.com/2010/04/16/nyregion/16rubber.html

    Did Florida Miss an Opportunity for Reform?

    From The New York Times:

    Gov. Charlie Crist has been jawboned and buttonholed as he has traveled around the state in recent days, and his office was deluged with 120,000 messages. Passions have not run so high in Florida, the governor said, since the controversy over ending the life of Terri Schiavo in 2005.

    This time, the point of contention was eliminating tenure for Florida public school teachers and tying their pay and job security to how well their students were learning.

    On Thursday, Mr. Crist picked a side, vetoing a bill passed last week by the Florida Legislature that would have introduced the most sweeping teacher pay changes in the nation.

    The veto puts Mr. Crist, a moderate Republican, at odds with his party base in the Republican-controlled Legislature. His decision has also renewed speculation that he might drop out of the Republican primary for a United States Senate seat and run in the general election as an independent. For months, he has been trailing the more conservative Republican candidate, Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, in polls.

    Mr. Crist said Thursday that his decision was not political. He cited “the incredible outpouring of opposition by teachers, parents, students, superintendents, school boards and legislators.”

    The bill was supported by the Florida Department of Education and statewide business groups, which expressed disappointment in the governor’s decision, saying that teachers should be held more accountable.

    But the governor, announcing his veto in the Capitol in Tallahassee, said the changes envisioned would put “teachers in jeopardy of losing their jobs and teaching certificates, without a clear understanding of how gains will be measured.”

    Linking teacher pay to student achievement has long been a goal of some education reformers. They are mostly conservatives, but their ranks also include people in the Obama administration.

    They argue that teachers should be treated like people in most professions, and paid based on how effective they are.

    The issue has made for a season of strange bedfellows, with the Obama administration’s chief education initiative, Race to the Top, seemingly encouraging just the kind of overhaul that Florida Republicans endorsed and that teachers and their allies furiously opposed…

    www.nytimes.com/2010/04/16/us/16teachers.html

    A Right Denied

    Whitney Tilson, an influential and passionate education reformer, has recently released a documentary called A Right Denied: The Critical Need for Genuine School Reform. I haven’t seen it; has anyone reading this viewed it? What did you think of it? I love the cover image (shown below and followed by the copy from the back of the DVD):

    “Most Americans have long known that our public schools aren’t getting the job done, but as our country increasingly falls behind our economic competitors and a wide academic gap within our country persists between low-income, minority students and their more affluent peers, these twin achievement gaps have reached crisis proportions.  Simply put, the failure of our public schools is the most pressing domestic issue our nation faces.
     
    “There’s good news, however: we now know what must be done to fix our schools and a wave of reform is beginning to sweep the country.  But it won’t be easy – the system, while failing children, has been working very well for the adults, who fight ferociously to maintain the unacceptable status quo.  The outcome of this battle will determine the long-term future of our country.
     
    “Whitney Tilson committed himself to this issue more than 20 years ago, when he was one of the first people to join Wendy Kopp in starting Teach for America.  She in turn later introduced him to David Levin, the co-founder of the KIPP network of charter schools, and he has served on KIPP’s board in New York City for nearly a decade. Mr. Tilson is also one of the founders of Democrats for Education Reform, Rewarding Achievement (REACH), and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, and serves on the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the Council of Urban Professionals, and the Pershing Square Foundation.
     
    “After spending more than two decades on the front lines, witnessing first-hand public education’s shocking failures and remarkable successes, Mr. Tilson was inspired to assemble a powerful and at times unsettling presentation about the twin achievement gaps and what must be done to address them.  He utilizes the latest data and research to paint the most detailed portrait of American public education ever committed to film.  More importantly, he presents us with a way forward so our nation can deliver on its promise to all of its children and ensure its long-term future.”