About

I am the chair of the Department of Educational Studies at Seton Hall University. My doctorate is in teaching, learning and educational policy from Michigan State University, and I am a former high school English teacher. My blog is designed to be a place to discuss the current state of American public education and how to preserve its promise of opportunity for all children.

17 responses to “About

  1. Pingback: The Soap Opera of Teacher “Tenure” in Louisiana and New York | deutsch29

  2. Pingback: The Soap Opera of Teacher “Tenure” in Louisiana and New York – @ THE CHALK FACE

  3. Your thoughtful posts are sincerely appreciated!!

  4. Sharon Kass

    Conservatism works. Ditch public schooling for private-sector education–diverse in diverse ways. Various funding schemes possible. Parents need to be helped to parent better. Future parents need to be helped to prepare for marriage and parenting. Anti-white, anti-capitalist attitudes are fatal to poor blacks.

    • I must respectfully disagree. The private sector is outstanding at many things, but there is no advanced nation on earth that leaves essential infrastructure entirely to the private sector and for very good reasons. A universal education system is part of our national commons and must be entrusted to interests other than revenue and profit.

      • mary thompson

        I could not agree more with you. A strong public school system is an integral part of what binds us as a nation.

  5. Dan

    Dr. K,
    I believe you are biased in your view as you are a teacher. I have looked at charter schools vs public and it isn’t even close! Why do so many Parents get upset when they do the lottery and they are not picked? Common Core is a joke and looks to create more liberal minds. sorry but respectfully have to disagree with you sir.

    • Charter schools, as a sector, are not outperforming the public schools by any reasonable measure. Those with very high test scores tend to use a number of tools to cherry pick the students they want to teach and end up with many fewer students with serious disabilities, language learning needs, and extreme poverty. This is simply not comparable.

      The Common Core standards have many problems, but a plot to create more liberals is not among them.

      • Dan

        I personally believe you are also cherry picking. From what I found they are much better, you never answered why all the parents go crazy for the lottery for the charter school? Personally I blame the unions for much of the problems. When they fight for bad teachers, and make it hard to fire them and keep them in rubber rooms for years on full pay. Not a very good thing and doesn’t put children first.

      • No cherry picking here. Simply facts. The charter sector does not outperform public schools as a sector, and those that tout their high test scores generally get those test scores by pushing out students who do not thrive within their environments and by engaging in test preparation to an extreme degree. This is all well documented by now.

        Parents have many reasons for desiring a particular school for their children. Sometimes it is sincere interest in the model. Sometimes it is misrepresentation by the charter school operators. For example, Northstar in Newark likes to boast how all of their seniors graduate which sounds amazing — until you find out that only half of their students who start in 5th grade ever get to 12th and the school does not fill their seats.

        Blaming the woes some public schools face on unions is simply boilerplate anti-union talk. Most of those schools suffer far more from the impact of excessive turn over of faculty and staff than from too many teachers staying year after year. The unions do not create the poverty that afflict so many school systems, nor do they create the heavy concentration of poverty into specific schools.

      • Wanda

        My school, a charter and public high school of choice, only cherry-picks as far as giving priority to first generation high school graduates. Otherwise, students get into our school by lottery. We are a non-profit, multi-cultural collegiate prep school. Our student body possessing special needs, IEPs, 504’s, and ELLs are numerous. It’s really tough to differentiate for them all, but we do it. I think that lumping all charter schools together is just as wrong as lumping all students into the same category. My school was founded on the mission statement that all students, given the proper tools and resources, can learn, succeed, and go to college. We work hard to fulfill this mission…one student at a time.

      • I hope you notice that I wrote about the charter sector as a whole – meaning that there can be charter schools which “outperform” the fully public schools. Further, my observation about cherry picking students applies to those schools that do perform highly on standardized tests and that observation was also modified by saying “tend to” – and that is true. Many of the highest performing charter schools behave that way. I am fine granting you benefit of the doubt on the school with which you are familiar – with over 6000 charter schools in the country there is plenty of room for individual schools to be entirely positive actors.

  6. Jon

    Dan, the charter school supporter, needs to educate himself and be legitimately informed; something I teach my 7th grade students. He backs up his knowledge of both unions and charter schools with nothing but conjecture. Teachers placed in “rubber rooms” havd traditionally ended up there when administrators don’t perform their due diligence. When there is compelling evidence, teachers are auspended without pay and/or lose their licenses. NYSUT agreed to various expedited 3020A hearings under he APPR which Cuomo and his hedge fund/charter school/profiteering contributors have virtually done away with. The charter school lottery is a sham and they spend millions on recruitment advertising to skew the numbers in order to scap up more public monies under the guise that they can’t serve the number of families who want them. Dan should do some legitimate research into how Success Academy runs. Maybe they don’t teach social studies so that they can churn out a citizenry who won’t even recognize that they are being sold a false bill of goods. Perhaps Dan went to a charter himself.

  7. Patrick Dore

    Hi Dr. Katz –
    I am new to your blog (found it through Atrios) and haven’t had a chance to peruse everything yet, but I am very impressed by what I have seen so far. I have a question for you which you may have already addressed: what are your feelings – and what data do you believe – in regards to class size in K-12? As a current high school teacher (LAUSD) I think that this is the main issue in education, and I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

    • Hi, Patrick — thank you for reading and for your feedback! I agree with you that class size is an enormous issue and one that has been largely ignored by policy makers to the detriment of many of our children. I would recommend that you connect with the group Class Size Matters and their director, Leonie Haimson, who is probably as knowledgeable on this issue as anyone in the country!

  8. Wanda

    I teach at Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School. You don’t have to take my word for it…look us up at bdchs.org and you will find that we are over 60% minority races and are a lottery school that won the National Blue Ribbon Award this year for excellence. We are subsidized by two children’s charities and many fundraisers throughout the year. We work hard to ensure that our students have the resources and opportunities they need to succeed. We track progress, make sure every student knows they are cared for and that we have opportunities for each of our struggling students. Students that know and understand that they are loved perform better than those who are lost in the shuffle of a huge school. We are capped at 600 as our facility simply won’t hold more than that.

    • Again, that’s fine – I’m honestly not interested in impugning motives and truthfulness without good reason. The larger point deals with significant trends in the sector as a whole and the tendency of policy makers to fall for false narratives based upon misrepresentation of those trends.

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