Empowering Schools to Stay in the Status Quo Fold


It looks like RI education commissioner Ken Wagner is getting another bite at the apple for public promotion of his “empowerment school” idea, which I addressed back in January.  Dan McGowan’s got a handy question-and-answer-style review, but Linda Borg’s promotional article  is notable for the refreshing honesty that it includes from Wagner:

“Quality charter schools make the whole system stronger,” Wagner said. “But we absolutely need a strategy to reduce the demand for charter schools. We must … strengthen our neighborhood schools so they can compete.”

In combination with new restrictions making their way through the pipeline — especially legislation that would give local governments more say in whether to accept new or expanded charters serving students from their towns — one could surmise that the effort is not so much to improve district schools to make them competitive in a growing landscape of actual school choice, but to reroute that demand back toward an in-district, more-union-friendly variation on charter schools.

I’ve argued, before, that taxpayers are absolutely justified in demanding more say when it comes to the big invoices that charter schools are permitted to send to them for payment and that charters have become a method of disrupting the private-school market.  That said, these “empowerment schools” have the feel of going in the wrong direction, particularly to the extent that teachers unions and other insiders get on board with the idea.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    “Empowered” why don’t we send Mr. Wagner a Bartlett’s? These words become so overused that they lose any meaning, except for a general understanding that they are “positive”.. 10 years ago it was “creativity”, 15 years ago it “frugality/frugal”. Now every event is ‘epic”. If you cannot understand why a celebrity is doing something, you can say they are “rock”ing it. Am I being too “transparent”? Perhaps I should be more “nuanced”. “Economy of speech is the first mark of a gentleman”.

    • ShannonEntropy

      Those were some “robust” comments to “run up the flagpole” ,, Rhett. Obviously you “think outside the box” of your “core competencies”

      Ahh … scrooge it all … let’s just use an automated jargon BS generator =►


  • ShannonEntropy

    BTW … if you really wanna hear some nonsensicle vacuous stuff watch Fox TV’s show THE VOICE

    A contestant sings and then four “judges” critique them. Now these four guys prolly couldn’t write a check … but somehow they manage to come up with lofty but worthless “advice” for the singers

    The lovely Mrs S_E & me had a bit of an argument when I said it is obvious these remarks are scripted. So I wrote a few comments down from less then 15 minutes of last night’s show. Suffice it say that if you went to a voice coach and he started spewing this drivel you would fire him after one lesson =►

    You can see the finish line … you’ve come completely full circle … you’ve grown a lot … Got a lot to learn but you’ve come a long way … it all sank in … you are so in your zone and in your land … arcing these performances … that was easy peasy breezy .. you are getting in your zone … your strength is your way forward … and on & on & on

    It’s enough to make me wanna switch the channel and hear someone make some sense — like that new Star Trek show BETTER CALL MAUL

  • jimri

    Sending your kids to public schools is child abuse. Anyone who loves their kids and wants them to succeed will find another option.