Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Barnes & Noble Next Monday

Attention New Yorkers: Next Monday, October 6, at 7 p.m., Geoff Canada and I will be speaking at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. I’ll read a little from Whatever It Takes, and Geoff and I will both speak, answer questions and sign books. Please come on by and join us.

5 comments on “Barnes & Noble Next Monday

  1. john thompson says:

    Although it may seem like it, I’m really not stalking you. I’d really like to know about a detail in your Slate post where you said the replicable HCZ would each presumably include a charter school. I don’t have a problem with that but I’m curious why you seem to assume that it couldn’t be a neighborhood school.

    I realize that this is just an assumption, but it is an assumption that is founded on a lot of history. It may be easier to START an experiment in a non-union school, but if we want reforms to be SUSTAINABLE then the schools must be union. Some schools for a time might allow educators to speak truth to power, but I can’t imagine systems with honest communication without unions.

    And that gets me back to my previous question. For the life of me, I can’t see a similarity between the slow but good faith effort in Denver and D.C. If Rhee was negotiating in good faith she would have put her evaluation proposals on paper. The alternative explanation seems overwhelming, and I’d think that with your experience in New Orleans you would recognize it. Rhee is operating like a hurricane, blowing away the system. Then when she has a blank slate, she thinks she can create a new system. Its like Ayn Rand. She is now The Destroyer, and then she wants to be The Creator. How can we break out of these well established patterns of human behavior without checks and balances?

    You give such great detailed explanations of the difficulty of reinventing education. But if you compare the unions with the real life scenarios that you describe, as opposed to the theories, I’d say that we have done well in addressing reforms in the last ten years. After all, while union leaders are bringing along their membership, we have to fight anti-union activists with one hand while we fight for real reforms with the other. Think of what a leader like Randi Weingarten could do if she didn’t see existential threats like those poised by Rhee, and at times Klein. She wouldn’t have to be defending the indefensibale in the Rubber Rooms, for instance, if the the NYC and TPTa presnted honest information. (the truth is bad enough. Why embellish?) You may have insight into Klein, but how are outsiders suppposed to work with him given his districts extreme record of fabricating “facts?” Think of how much easier it would be to compromise if it wasn’t for the brazen way that BloomKlein issue false info. After all, if we compromise the careers of teachers will be based on those numbers. Are we supposed to believe they would instantly stop their devious tactics?

    You already have a new project. I’d like to see the Times, however, do a sysematic method of studying the extreme fabrication of data that has been increased by NCLB. Perhaps NYC is among the most dishonest because its the biggest. But even given your experience, I think you’d be shocked.

    I don’t expect you to answer this, but I’d really like to know if Klein believes the stuff he says, or if that just the game he’s always played. I can’t believe he really understands the extent that he’s playing around with discredited numbers.

  2. Meg Sullivan says:

    I have read several of Tough’s articles and they delve in deeply to why poverty is such an irrepressible problem in urban schools. But here is what also gravely concerns me and enrages me: I worked in an urban charter school run by corrupt leaders who strip searched students, indiscriminately changed grade and attendance records, and were openly and blatantly hostile to the students and teachers. I reported them to CPS’s Office of New Schools and not only was nothing done, I was fired.
    I see warning signs similar to the meltdown on Wall Street. If you create schools unregulated and unsupervised, with no one accountable, you will not only undermine the purpose of charter schools, but people will no longer trust urban school experiments that are meant to be an educational oasis.
    Governance is a key issue and I see none in Chicago.

  3. Hi Paul,

    Any chance you two would do a book signing in Harlem? (I missed the one in Union Square.) I’d be there in a heartbeat.



  4. Paul Tough says:

    Hi Graham.

    Yes, we’re hoping to do a reading and signing at the HCZ headquarters on 125th Street some time this fall, in conjunction with the Hue-Man Bookstore. As soon as I have details, I’ll post them here. Thanks for your interest.


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