Notes on the state of “education reform”

Matthew Yglesias

I keep trying to write an article about the strange death of the education reform movement and the extent to which many of the contemporary woke wars emerged from these once-intense, now-forgotten battlegrounds. Every time I sit down to write it, though, the column spirals out of control. But this is my newsletter and I can do what I want, so instead it’s going to be a series of posts that come out on no particular schedule. Some of them will probably be a little unsatisfying and anti-climactic, but I appreciate you all bearing with me on this journey because I think it’s important. 

What finally got me to actually start this series is the Chicago mayor’s race, where the incumbent Lori Lightfoot failed to make the runoff. 

To grossly oversimplify a situation that has lots of local nuance: with Lightfoot out, the final round will feature Paul Vallas, the candidate of the police union running on a law-and-order platform, against Brandon Johnson, the candidate carrying the progressive torch. This is Chicago of course, so all the main candidates, including Vallas, are left-of-center in a national political context, and the vanquished Lightfoot is genuinely very progressive. Johnson, though, is the preferred candidate of the Chicago Teachers Union.1

But I think what’s interesting about it from a national perspective is the extent to which Vallas’ profile is centered around the crime issue.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?