I started this blog about 11 years ago, and in that time I have written over 500 posts. Some of these posts are particularly meaningful to me so I thought I would collect my personal ‘top 10’. I know that I don’t often go through the archives of blogs I like so this is a way for people who read this blog to either re-live the ‘greatest hits’ or for newer readers to get caught up on it:
When Steve Jobs’ widow got involved in education reform and aired a prime time infomercial on all three major networks to promote her plan to reinvent high school, it was a major coincidence that the main school she featured was the high school that I taught at in Houston. with some investigative reporting and some contacts I still have from my Houston days, I revealed a scandal which may have contributed to the rock star principal there being fired.
At the Teach For America 20th anniversary alumni summit, I heard Obama’s secretary of education, Arne Duncan, tell a story about an amawing school turnaround that sounded, to me, to be too good to be true. This led to my first ever school ‘debunking’, This got me discovered by Diane Ravitch and I became a key ‘fact checker’ for the corporate reform skeptics from that day on.
I haven’t written much about my main passion in education — teaching math. This post summarized what I think about how the math curriculum evolved in this country and what I think of it. This one was widely read because it was picked up by a popular site called ‘the dish’.
I had the rare opportunity to visit one of the most high profile charter chains in the country, the New York City KIPP school. As I blended into the woodwork, I had the opportunity to reveal that what is going on there is not particularly impressive. I never got invited there again.
I’ve written a lot about research in education and how it is often presented in a misleading way. For this post I showed how the ‘months of learning’ statistic is completely unreliable.
This post revealed that KIPP had cheated on their US News & Zorld Report entry. A few weeks later their rating was disaualified and I am confident that this post was the cause of it.
Over the years I wrote about 20 ‘open letters’ to various people in the education reform community. Some were to people I knew and others were to people I never met. This one got a lot of attention, including a response and there were articles about this exchange in both the New York Times and The Washington Post.
This is a post I’m really proud of. In it I explain to Arne Duncan about why the methods he pushes to evaluate schools and teachers is inaccurate by applying them to his basketball career at Harvard. This reauired me becoming an expert in late 1980’s Ivy League basketball.
When the New York media released the teacher ratings to the public, I used the data to show how flawed the metrics were. This post was the most compelling where I showed that a teacher can be evaluated ineffective and highly effective in the same year.
This was the ‘viral’ post that got me on NPR and propelled the popularity of this blog. I’m not sure that TFA ever fully recovered from it.