What can a viral video of a teacher ripping up an elementary schooler’s book tell us about government regulation and management? In this inaugural recording, Sam and Abram try to unpack some of the arguments and assumptions in Elizabeth Green’s January 2018 article in The Atlantic: “The Charter School Crusader” about Eva Moskowitz and the school system she founded and now leads: Success Academy Charter Schools.
First, we explore the context of the education reform movement in NYC and restructuring of public schools during the Bloomberg era. This gives way to a discussion of the terms revolutionary and radical—which we define as an effort to change the underlying structures and systems. Moskowitz positions herself as a revolutionary because she is changing the school system with entrepreneurial leadership and top-down authority, all while operating as a private citizen. Sam and Abram ask whether revolutionary change must include activating the power of a mass movement of the people, and holding oneself accountable to the public.
This leads to a discussion about end goals, efficiency, and accountability. Moskowitz believes she can most effectively make change as a private citizen, but uses public funds in the process. Sam and Abram untangle this puzzle and raise more questions, like: Is efficiency more important than making schools equitable, accountable, and parent-friendly? How do we, as bureaucrats, hold ourselves accountable to the services we need to provide in real-time while also asking ourselves deeper question about our goals and measures? How do race and school segregation play into this debate?
· The Charter School Crusader by Elizabeth Green, The Atlantic, January/February 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/success-academy-charter-schools-eva-moskowitz/546554/
· CREAD: Culturally Responsive Educators of the African Diaspora. https://creadnyc.com/
· Reinventing America’s Schools: Creating a 21t Century Education System by David E. Osborne. September 2017.
· She Breaks Rules While Expecting Students to Follow Them by Lisa Miller, New York Times book review of Eva Moskowitz’ memoir. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/08/books/review/education-of-eva-moskowitz-memoir.html
· The Education of Eva Moskowitz by Eva Moskowitz. September 2017.
· Success Academy’s Radical Educational Experiment by Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, December 2017. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/success-academys-radical-educational-experiment