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  • October 1, 2014 09:49 PM Pharmacy School is the New Law School

    For many years that I worked at the Monthly I rather enjoyed covering the demise of the law school. Law school was the go-to professional option for reasonably ambitious but ill-focused college graduates. It offered the promise of making good money to think.

    And then the economy collapsed. In the aftermath of the great recession all of these highly indebted law school graduates floundered in the job market. No longer were there lots of law firms interested in hiring them for lucrative careers.

    Well there’s a new problem with professional degrees in higher education. According to an article by Katie Zavadski in the New Republic:

    A predicted shortage of pharmacists over the last decade, combined with an expected expansion of the pharmacist’s role in medical care, made it a lucrative career path. Even as the economy struggled in the mid-aughts, pharmacy graduates easily found big salaries, 9-to-5 jobs, and the respect that came along with handling medications. Nicholas Popovich, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, tells me that, “Some signing bonuses even involved a car, that type of thing.”
    Now, the profession is on the verge of a crisis: The number of pharmacy jobs has dried up but the number of pharmacy students keeps growing. It’s difficult to find a cushy, full-time job and metropolitan job markets are saturated. PharmD candidates are graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.

    LittlePharm

    Being a pharmacist wasn’t a glamorous job, of course, but it was a very stable one.

    The bottom dropped out for two reasons. The first was simple supply and demand. In 2000 the Department of Health and Human Services issued a report indicating that there was going to be a shortage of pharmacists. Students sensibly responded by signing up for pharmacy school. And now there are too many of them, many still in school.

    The other problem is more complicated, however. HHS predicted that pharmacists would increasingly play a greater role in medical care. This, to some extent, actually happened but that hasn’t really worked out so well for pharmacists. As Zavadski puts it:

    The expansion of pharmacist roles and responsibilities has to be approved on a state-by-state or federal basis, and such initiatives to hand over nurse and physician roles to pharmacists have not gained much traction.
    Some individual states have made advances in recognizing pharmacists as healthcare providers, and through Obamacare, pharmacists will be included as members of care teams through Accountable Care Organizations for Medicare Part D recipients. They will provide medication therapy management services, and will be reimbursed for their time. But still, the expansion is not yet what had once been predicted.

    To a certain extent all of our jobs are dependent on policy and laws. But there’s a danger when the growth of a profession is so directly tired to the minutia of federal policy. It can go wrong so quickly, so dramatically, and so expensively.

    And, like with so many things about higher education, there’s not much incentive for colleges to slow down the race, even though they know the kids aren’t going to have jobs lined up.

    Zavadski: “PharmD students are cash cows, taking on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and often committing to a longer course of study.”

    We’ve seen this one before, guys. [Image via]

  • September 26, 2014 04:00 PM Sometimes a Community College Degree Is Actually Worthless

    This perhaps shouldn’t come as much of a surprise at this point, but now it’s official: there are some college degrees that don’t improve earnings whatsoever.

    At least as far as community colleges go, some degrees just really aren’t worth it. According to an article at the Hechinger Report:

    The research, conducted under the aegis of the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment and focused on community colleges, confirms the widely accepted belief that many graduates make more than people without degrees.
    But it also found that the large proportion of community-college students who major in the liberal arts, humanities, and general studies and have not gone on to earn bachelor’s degrees receive little or no financial advantage at all in exchange for their time and tuition.
    Researchers speculated that students at community colleges may end up in the liberal arts because there’s not enough room in nursing or technical programs, or because they’re not aware of the earnings implications.

    This doesn’t mean that getting an associate degree in the humanities or general studies is a straight-up awful idea. Indeed, for someone who goes on to earn a bachelor’s degree in English or political science it makes a good deal of financial sense to do the general studies degree at a community college.

    But just earning an associate in the humanities, that doesn’t really help much at all. What sort of job is that good for?

    Certificate

    Perhaps more interesting, however, is that even many of the “practical” courses of study don’t seem to improve earnings much.

    It seems that recipients of many community colleges’ “newly trendy professional certificates,” in things like healthcare technology management, counterintelligence, criminal justice, border security, financial regulatory compliance also don’t earn any more than they would have if they just didn’t bother.

    While those professional certificates certainly sound practical, it appears the sort of people who hire for jobs in counterintelligence or border security don’t seem all that impressed by a few courses the local community college slapped together. A certificate in counterintelligence doesn’t equal expertise in counterintelligence, after all.

  • September 26, 2014 11:00 AM It’s Time to Reform Work-Study Programs

    The Federal Work Study program, which provides money to American colleges to hire students to do campus jobs, has long been a source of crucial spending money for students. It provides them with a reasonably convenient way to earn money while taking classes. Often they can even integrate the jobs with their studies, particular by working for professors or in academic departments where they also major.

    But the program isn’t really working very well, according to a new paper by Rory O’Sullivan and Reid Setzer for the Young Invincibles. As they write:

    At the 24 percent of institutions that responded to a question regarding job placement and students’ career interests, 47 percent of job placement were unrelated to students’ career interests. Some… 49 percent of job placements were unrelated to students academic programs. Most institutions were unable to determine whether FWS student worked in jobs related to their academic interests.

    WorkStudy

    Basically, the problem is that students now need “work experience” to be qualified for reasonably good professional jobs. In theory work-study should be great for this, since it allows students to remain on campus and earn money in something related to what they want to study. But in practice work-study is usually divorced from students’ academic programs and interests so they often graduate from college without being able to demonstrate the work experience jobs demand. And so they often have to toil in unpaid (or underpaid) internships in order to try and gain the necessary resume points.

    All of this is despite the fact that they may have already has been working on campus for four years. Another problem is that the colleges that get the most work-study money often have few poor students.

    What to do? The report recommends several things. But they mostly come down to this: integrate work-study into career services:

    1. Promoting FWS as a career-ready program through the location of Job Location Development programs
    2. Creating a career Internships Program within FWS

    The program basically now functions as a way to provide money for campus departments to get free labor. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the point of work-study is to help students. What students need is to get jobs when they graduate.

    What not have students choose work-study programs as part of their academic and career planning?

    One potential hurdle here is that not all students on campus qualify for federal work-study programs, but all students participate, at least on some level, in career services. The two programs can’t ever work precisely in tandem.

    But work-study programs have changed dramatically over time to respond to the needs of society. In 1964, when it started, it was supposed to be largely devoted to community service and volunteer work. In time that became unfeasible. Today it looks like new changes are needed to work-study so it serves the students it’s supposed to help.

  • September 26, 2014 10:08 AM Yes, Some Colleges Are Hurt by College Rankings. That’s How It’s Supposed to Work.

    For the last year or so we’ve heard a great deal about President Barack Obama’s proposed college rating system, the basic outlines of which are, according to a 2013 piece in the New York Times:

    A plan to rate colleges…based on measures like tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. The ratings would compare colleges against their peer institutions. If the plan can win Congressional approval, the idea is to base federal financial aid to students attending the colleges partly on those rankings.
    Mr. Obama hopes that starting in 2018, the ratings would be tied to financial aid, so that students at highly rated colleges might get larger federal grants and more affordable loans. But that would require new legislation.

    In general this seems like a good thing. Such a ratings system might look rather like the one we’ve used for almost a decade here at the Monthly. But not everyone’s pleased with the idea.

    According to an article at Diverse Issues in Higher Education, some historically black colleges are getting a little uncomfortable:

    The HBCU community is now waiting for the anticipated rollout this fall of the ratings system. Some fear that the college ratings may…have unintended negative consequences for HBCUs.
    Citing the wide range of higher education institutions across the country, [Morgan State University President David] Wilson questioned the viability of a comprehensive ratings system. “My major concern is that I don’t think we can come up with a rating system in this country that (speaks) to the variety of missions of higher education systems,” he said.
    Johnny Taylor, president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, told Diverse last week that he is not opposed to the concept of a ratings system, as long as it accounts for the nuances and differences between institutions. But the fact that he and TMF member institutions have had little input into what shape the ratings system will take may put them in a reactionary position by default when the plan is announced.

    It’s actually not that hard. Here at the Monthly, many of the country’s HBCUs have long done pretty well on our rankings systems. Georgia’s Spelman College, for instance, ranks 39th in the nation for liberal arts colleges. That’s pretty good. That’s mostly because it does a really awesome job graduating its students. It’s got a 73 percent graduation rate, despite the fact that almost half of its students are poor. Its graduation rate is much higher than we predict based on the percent of students receiving Pell grants.

    But not all HBCUs are Spelman. Yes there are “a variety of missions of higher education systems,” but a rating system has to point out when some schools aren’t doing a very good job. “If the system is not done properly, one that understands and respects all of the nuances that exist between institutions,” Taylor said it in the Diverse article, “it will harm HBCUs, period.”

    Well, OK, but Morgan State University (Wilson’s school) ranks 179th among national universities in our rankings this year. That low ranking is not because we failed to “understand and respect all of the nuances that exist between institutions.” No, we’re aware of the nuances, the school just has a 30 percent graduation rate. That’s lower than we should expect based on the percent of students at the school who are poor.

    Some schools should be harmed by the proposed rankings. That’s how it works. That’s designed to encourage better behavior by schools in the future.

  • September 24, 2014 09:29 PM The Onion Predicts the Future

    With so much discussion about what we’re going to do about university athletics, this piece of satire from the Onion a few years ago is rather refreshing:

    Bowing to pressure from alumni, students, and a majority of teaching professors of Florida State University, athletic director Dave Hart Jr. announced yesterday that FSU would completely phase out all academic operations by the end of the 2010 school year in order to make athletics the school’s No. 1 priority. “It’s been clear for a while that Florida State’s mission is to provide the young men and women enrolled here with a world-class football program, and this is the best way to cut the fat and really focus on making us No. 1 every year,” Hart said. “While it’s certainly possible for an academic subsidiary to bring a certain amount of prestige to an athletic program, the national polls have made it that our non-athletic operations have become a major distraction.” FSU’s restructuring program will begin with the elimination of the College of Arts and Sciences, effective October 15.

    Eventually some school is really going to try to do this, I swear.

    After a few years a college is going to figure out that it’s just trying to do too many damn things, and it’s time to just cut a few functions of the university and concentrate on its “core strengths.”

    There are complicated legal issues here, but at least a few schools are going to realize that the core strengths probably aren’t academics.

  • September 19, 2014 02:40 PM Harvard Business School, Heal Thyself

    Recently I wrote about a study performed by Harvard Business School assessing the way American business leaders feel about inequality in America. Somewhat surprisingly, HBS alumni indicated it’s a problem.

    As a piece at Al Jazeera put it, alumni believed that “the weaknesses in elements that drive prosperity for the average American indicate that the American economy requires a strategy in order to do its full job.”

    But former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has an interesting point to make in reaction to the same study. As the headline in an article he wrote for Salon put it bluntly: “Harvard Business School is ruining America.” Reich:

    …The authors neglected to include a discussion about how Harvard Business School should change what it teaches future CEOs with regard to this “profound stake.” HBS has made some changes over the years in response to earlier crises, but has not gone nearly far enough with courses that critically examine the goals of the modern corporation and the role that top executives play in achieving them.
    A half-century ago, CEOs typically managed companies for the benefit of all their stakeholders - not just shareholders, but also their employees, communities, and the nation as a whole.

    We know this story, right, how the American CEO changed?

    But starting in the late 1970s, a new vision of the corporation and the role of CEOs emerged - prodded by corporate “raiders,” hostile takeovers, junk bonds, and leveraged buyouts. Shareholders began to predominate over other stakeholders. And CEOs began to view their primary role as driving up share prices.

    As Reich emphasizes, however, HBS has a lot to do with this new model.

    So it would seem worthwhile for the faculty and students of Harvard Business School, as well as those at every other major business school in America, to assess this transformation, and ask whether maximizing shareholder value… continues to be the proper goal for the modern corporation.

    They learn a lot of these tactics at schools like HBS.

    He points out that this inequality is not some independent unfortunate occurrence in reaction to which HBS alums can just sit around bemoaning the mysterious problem. Oh, goodness, how did this darn thing happen?

    Um, the grand thinkers at Harvard Business School kind of caused this.

    For years, some of the nation’s most talented young people have flocked to Harvard Business School and other elite graduate schools of business in order to take up positions at the top rungs of American corporations, or on Wall Street, or management consulting.

    Now, it’s not specifically Harvard’s fault so much as it is a general trend in economics and business that favors maximizing shareholder interests and ignoring everyone else’s. And Reich, at any rate, is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley is also is home to the Haas School of business, which is equally at fault in this predicament.

    But it’s not that business schools dramatically changed to produce CEOs who were worse. Prior to the late 1970s the average American CEO didn’t go to business school at all. HBS was founded in 1908, but the glory of HBS, and the proliferation of American business schools, dates from the latter half of the 20th century. The corporate raider CEO grew up at the same time all of these aspiring businessmen decided an MBA was a good idea. American capitalism seemed to get along pretty well without any damn MBAs.

    Is it really “worthwhile for the faculty and students of Harvard Business School… to assess this transformation?” Should they even exist? The transformation is not just tied up in the intellectual work of American business schools; it appears pretty closely connected to such institutions’ very existence.

  • September 18, 2014 01:00 PM Why Do Colleges Expect Endowment Managers to Be Wizards?

    The hardest jobs at prestigious universities might not be those performed by academics or traditional administrators. The heavy lifting, the impossible job, might be that of the endowment manager, the money guy. He’s got to fix everything.

    According to an article in the New York Times:

    Miscues by university management and more tepid investment returns have pulled down Harvard’s results, culminating in the June resignation of Jane L. Mendillo, the chief executive of the Harvard Management Company, who started just before the market collapse in July 2008.
    The performance of Ms. Mendillo, who is leaving at the end of the year, illustrates not only the vicissitudes of investing but also the revolving-door aspect of an operation like the Harvard endowment, where retaining top talent can be difficult because of the intense scrutiny and the availability of bigger paychecks elsewhere.

    And what did Harvard need Medillo to do? Well, basically exactly what David F. Swensen did at Yale in the 90s: make a lot of money with private equity and short-term, risky investments. He made the school much richer. And then Jack Meyer did the same thing at Harvard. This changed everything at America’s most prestigious colleges.

    “The pressure on people in that kind of institution is tremendous from people who want to see good results all the time,” said Keith Ambachtsheer, who runs an education program for nonprofit board members at the University of Toronto. “There’s no patience for the fact that managing endowments is a long-horizon enterprise that naturally involves occasional periods of disappointing results.”

    Critics often accuse academics of not understanding business or the bottom line. They just want to sit and their ivory towers and think about impractical subjects. Meanwhile, out in the “real world” we’re all busting our humps trying to meet demands and make money, right?

    It turns out there might be another way universities don’t understand business. It appears that one of the problems of colleges with regard to money is that they often fail to understand that downturns don’t always mean a crisis. From the article:

    One former official of Harvard Management compared the endowment’s cautious, defensive style in the Mendillo years to a soccer team that tries to keep possession of the ball instead of taking shots on goal. Many of the company’s alumni called Ms. Mendillo more of a steady, capable manager than a visionary investor.

    Harvard will report a 15 percent return for the last fiscal year. Mendillo matched the school’s long-term record of 11 to 12 percent annual returns during her time in the job.

    Isn’t a steady, capable manager exactly who you want to run a $32.7 billion endowment? A “visionary investor,” after all, could lose a school a lot of money.

  • September 17, 2014 06:02 PM How Vocational Education Leads to College

    Often when Americans think of vocational education they tend to rather look down on it. Particularly for Americans from professional backgrounds, voc-tech signifies manual labor and the sort of classes students take when they’re not going to go to college, and when they don’t really have any options.

    The reality is more complicated. And a little more inspiring. It turns out students who attend vocational high schools often matriculate at 4-year colleges.

    According to a piece in the Boston Globe:

    Once viewed as a place for student slackers with no college ambition, Massachusetts vocational high schools are increasing academic standards, offering honors classes, and producing more college-bound students than ever before.
    During the past five years, the percentage of vocational school graduates attending four-year colleges rose at schools across the state, including Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in Easton, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough, and Joseph P. Keefe Regional Technical School in Framingham.

    The article explained that at two of the vocational schools, four-year college enrollment increased from about 15 percent to nearly 30 percent in the last five years.

    That’s because, while “vocational” might be in the name, the real subjects taught at the school are demanding and intellectual. They’re just practical, too. Many vocational schools are heavily math and science focused, for instance, and students who attend such schools are perfectly capable of succeeding in demanding bachelor of science programs.

    It’s unclear what’s driving this. It may be that companies are just demanding more education for the same jobs. As the article put it, “employers are requiring a higher level of education for many of the fastest-growing career sectors, such as information technology, environmental studies, engineering, biotechnology, and health care.”

    But vocational high schools are getting better, too. And the graduates of voc-tech schools seem perfectly capable of succeeding in college.

    This is a point often made by education reformers, for instance. The skills necessary for success in good vocational jobs are the same damn things you need to succeed in college.

    Indeed, it appears many students seek out vocational programs simply because such programs are a good way to find focused, high quality classes to learn the material that interests them.

    It doesn’t just mean wood shop anymore. Now it means chemistry and calculus.

    But then, maybe the voc-tech kids have known that for years. It’s only now that we’re started to try to pay attention to the success of all high school student that we’re figuring out lots of vocational programs are good.

  • September 17, 2014 11:27 AM Colleges Let Taxpayers Help Poor Students While They Go After Rich, Report Says

    In what it calls “an elaborate shell game,” universities and colleges are shifting their financial aid from low-income students to high-income ones to bolster their prestige and raise them up the rankings, a new report says.

    Meanwhile, according to the report by the nonprofit, nonpartisan New America Foundation, universities are leaving their poorest families to vie for a piece of billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded Pell Grants.

    Because of this, the federal government continues to spend more and more on Pell grants, which now total more than $32 billion, yet the lowest-income students end up borrowing more money than ever to pay for their higher educations.

    To substantiate its argument that universities and colleges are substituting Pell grants for their own financial aid, the report relies on previously published research.

    But it also cites new data showing that the proportion of private, nonprofit universities and colleges that now charge the poorest families $15,000 or more in tuition and fees—even after financial aid and discounts are accounted for—is rising sharply. That means the neediest students are paying an amount that equals at least half of their families’ annual incomes.

    The universities, the report says, “with their relentless pursuit of prestige and revenue,” are using their financial aid not to help low-income students, but to attract affluent students with good grades who can improve their positions in the U.S. News and other rankings, and whose families can afford to pay the rest of the tuition.

    Ninety-five private colleges with endowments of more than $250 million charge low-income students an average net price of more than $10,000 apiece, the report says, while 60 charge more than $15,000. Another 33 charge more than $20,000 and 11 charge more than $25,000 each to students whose families earn $30,000 or less.

    The trend is not confined to private institutions. Forty percent of public universities and colleges also now charge $10,000 or more a year to students from families in the $30,000-or-less income bracket.

    “This is one reason why even after historic increases in Pell Grant funding, low-income students continue to take on heavier debt loads than ever before,” the report says.

    Not all colleges and universities are following this trend, the report says. It says low-income students make up a comparatively high 15 percent or more of the enrollment at 24 private, nonprofit institutions—some very wealthy, others small, and others religiously affiliated with missions of serving low-income students—that still manage to charge them $10,000 a year or less.

    [Cross-posted at The Hechinger Report]

  • September 16, 2014 03:41 PM Nine Years After Katrina, We’re Still Asking the Wrong Questions About Education

    “Is the educational system better now than it was pre-Katrina?” It’s the question I hear more than any other. But the typical responses around test score growth miss how we should measure school performance in New Orleans.

    It’s just over nine years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August 2005, and we’re still asking the wrong questions.

    Rusted scissors, coins and other debris sit on the floor of an elementary school in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans, La. File Photo.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Rusted scissors, coins and other debris sit on the floor of an elementary school in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans, La. File Photo. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    The operative question is are people in poverty better prepared for a disaster than before Katrina? I’m not talking about whether or not the city’s evacuation plan has improved. I’m asking if our impoverished neighbors have a greater likelihood of getting in cars, with gasoline, driving to North Louisiana, staying in hotels, eating, potentially enrolling in other schools or colleges and then eventually driving back to New Orleans, rebuilding their homes, getting business loans and having political influence to direct their own recovery?

    In other words, is the realness of Katrina taken into consideration in our school reforms? Are we maximizing the opportunities that school reform gives us to equip New Orleanians for life? When you’ve been through a disaster like Katrina, preparedness is true to life.

    The nation looks to New Orleans for advice on education, but they need to be reminded why New Orleanians need better public schools. Around 100,000 people were held inside New Orleans, unable to escape for days. But let’s be clear, if Katrina didn’t barrel down the Gulf, a high percentage of that number couldn’t have left if they wanted to.

    Floodwater didn’t trap 100,000 New Orleanians.

    Katrina just exposed the greatest public policy disaster in the United States. It’s the same public policy disaster that lies in wait within many American cities. I used to say the failures of our educational system trapped largely black and brown bodies inside the Superdome and city. While theĀ­re isn’t research that can tell us what school type those who were forced to huddle in the Superdome attended. It’s safe to say public schools failed them. However, policy failures in transportation, healthcare, policing and housing joined education to limit people’s ability to get out of harms way.

    Over the last few months, I’ve released columns in the Washington Post and the Hechinger Report that essentially challenge if New Orleans and education reform are maximizing their opportunities to address what really traps people. These pieces have been met with extreme praise or criticism. The common theme among the criticisms is that schools can’t and shouldn’t treat all social ills.

    Likewise, I’ve been told that school reform must focus on the needs of the child. As one person wrote me, “Schools aren’t jobs programs. He continued, “You’re being unreasonable in your expectations of schools.”

    I’m being unreasonable in my expectations of schools.

    When Mayor Ray Nagin and the Bring New Orleans Back Commission revealed that some neighborhoods would come back as green space, it’s wasn’t unreasonable to ask that an elected official represent a neighborhood school.

    When about half of the black male population is unemployed during a time of rapid economic expansion, it’s not unreasonable to demand that schools hire black teachers. It’s not unreasonable to ask federal innovation grants to encourage local historically black colleges and universities to create pipelines to enter teaching careers.

    With a child poverty rate of 42 percent compared with a national rate of 23 percent, it’s not unreasonable to examine the amount of loan debt incurred by low-income public school graduates.

    The current performance gap between 4th-grade and 8th-grade black and white students on the more reliable National Assessment on Education Progress (NAEP) isn’t substantively different from the gap in the 1992. So it’s not unreasonable to question the steep incline on Louisiana’s statewide exams.

    As important as our current school reforms are to the future of the city, the impact of its graduates won’t be felt for decades. Two-thirds of New Orleans’ 2025 labor pool is expected to be working-age adults, meaning — if we want to become a more literate and productive city — we must make significant investments in the adults who share their fates with children. It’s not unreasonable to examine adult educational progress as measures of success.

    When 1 in 7 black men is either in prison, on parole, or on probation, it’s not unreasonable to demand that schools stop the practice of expulsion and suspension. It’s not unreasonable to see forcing students to walk on white lines or even wearing uniforms as criminalizing.

    In a city that is one of the most conducive for start-up businesses, which schools are, it’s not unreasonable to ask the state to limit vouchers to black owned, effective schools.

    Whites are twice as likely as blacks to have at least an associate’s degree (25 years and older). It’s not unreasonable to question if reforms are impacting college readiness. It’s also important to question colleges and universities to see if they are making changes to graduate underrepresented groups.

    In a city where whites earn twice as much as blacks, it’s not unreasonable to demand that a disadvantaged business enterprise program (DBE) for the multibillion-dollar school construction project be as effective as student learning. Schools should be required to enter long-term professional service contracts with black and brown-owned food service providers, bus companies, accountants and banks.

    How many people have to be killed, fired and jailed for it to become clear that black skin is associated with bad. So it’s not unreasonable to say that black teachers need protection. Implicit bias and unconscious discrimination as well as outright discrimination impact who is hired, fired, recruited, and yes shot.

    In New Orleans, whites represent approximately 35 percent of the total population but approximately 60 percent of private and parochial schools. Blacks represent about 90 percent of the public school population. It’s not unreasonable to provide incentives for public schools to actually look like the public.

    Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. John Dewey said these words decades ago. Dewey knew that limiting education to technical matters of curriculum and instruction defied the essential reason why schools exist - the community. Fixing schools is a means to that broader end, and any school reform that doesn’t explicitly uplift parents, local businesses, and other stakeholders is a reform that is destined to fail. We must close the community gaps that make New Orleans the tale of two cities.

    If we created a school for community growth index, how would New Orleans schools rank? School measures must speak to the individual and social needs of the community. Leading up to the 10th Anniversary of Katrina, I will examine education in a reasoned attempt to create measures that examine educational systems impact on the day-to-day realities of families and communities in New Orleans.

    [Cross-posted at The Hechinger Report]

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