Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Arne Duncan's Newe$t Gig

Seems safe to say that Arne Duncan is far busier in his post-government life than he ever was a Secretary of Education. His latest gig is working with "mission-aligned private capital"at something called the Rise Fund.

"I can't believe it either. People just keep throwing money at me."

The Rise Fund is "a global impact fund led by private equity firm TPG in collaboration with a group of renowned stakeholders." TPG (which stands for Texas Pacific Group) is one of the biggest damn private equity investment firms in the world. Found in 1992, they have about $50 billion kicking around at this point. There's a long list of various businesses they have glommed up or invested in, from J. Crew to PetCo. Oh, and in 2002 they teamed up with Bain and Goldman Sachs to perform the leveraged buyout of Burger King, which I can respect because a Whopper Junior with Cheese is my guilty pleasure. Later on they also snagged all or some of Neiman Marcus, Univision, Sabre, Alltel, Midwest Air Group, etc etc-- you get the idea.

Anyway, they whipped up the Rise Fund in December of 2016 Bill McGlashan, founder and managing partner of TPG, and Bono, lead singer of That Band You're Supposed To Like and an always-useful prop for capitalists who want to look socially conscious, and also and Jeff Skoll, a global entrepreneur, film producer, and impact investor-- also the first president of ebay. Skoll's film company had a piece of An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman, and Spotlight. Presumably Bono and Skoll are among the "renowned stakeholders," a list which also includes Richard Branson and Laurene Powell Jobs.

The Rise Fund has seven areas targeted for their global impact fund (spoiler alert:  plain English is not one of them)-- Agriculture, Finance, Information, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Energy, and Education. And that's where one of their hot new hires comes in.

Arne Duncan is one of three new bright lights, along with John Rogers and Rick Levin. Rogers was a founding partner with Bridges Ventures US Sustainable Growth Fund, which in turn worked on social impact investment as well as Springboard Education, a provider of "extended learning programs" for "public and charter" schools (every time someone tacitly admits that charter schools are not public schools, I get a little bit of a warm glow inside). Levin is CEO of Coursera, the big name in online courses for the university crowd. Oh, and he used to be president of Yale.

Duncan's bio is properly puffed, pumped full of hot air, and shows what qualifications TPG was looking for:

During his tenure, Duncan created the $4 billion Race to the Top program to invest in reform and innovation and worked with Congress to secure additional investments in early learning programs and interventions to raise standards at lower-performing schools. Prior to his role as Secretary of Education, Duncan served for eight years as the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, where he boosted test scores and built consensus across the district’s many stakeholders.

He handled a lot of money, made his numbers and got stakeholders on board and-- hey, wait a minute. Duncan "boosted test scores" in Chicago? All by himself!? Do you mean to tell me all those years Duncan knew the secret of boosting test scores, even had the magical power to do it himself, and he let all of America's teachers twist in the wind?!

"A quality education" is the secret of success for everyone, said the man whose success has pretty much been built on being basketball buddies with an up-and-coming future President. “Creating quality takes innovation, partnership – from teachers, students, officials, and business stakeholders alike – and a strong commitment to building better outcomes. I’m eager to help and support The Rise Fund as it works to drive impact across the education sector." Man, driving impact across a whole sector is hard, like some kind of corporate high impact Iditarod.

The Education Sector team is the first of the seven to be formed, but you can be sure the other six will be along to help achieve "measureable, positive social and environmental outcomes alongside competitive financial returns — what we call 'complete returns'.” So "complete" means you make the world a better place while getting filthy rich. There's a moral conundrum buried in all this somewhere, but it's hard to make it out among the "evidence-based impact investing" and whatever rig one uses to "harness the power of the market to drive sustainable social and environmental change, which means that profits are not only possible, they are necessary to fulfil the mission." Yes, you actually can't do good works without turning an big profit. I believe both Jesus and Buddha both taught that.

Garbled blather used to dress up a pretense of social awareness and good works all in the service of wealth and wealth and gathering more wealth. Seems like a perfect fit for Duncan.

NC: The Company School

North Carolina (Motto: "We won't let Florida beat us to the bottom of the barrel") is considering some cool new charter school bills.

Some are the usual charter-flavored pork, like the bill that will raise the unregulated cap on charter enrollment growth from 20% to 30%. That is, any charter, including ones that demonstrably suck, can grow enrollment by 30% without having to ask anyone's permission. This is in keeping with North Carolina's rich history of making charter operators historically rich. Previous laws have also removed any accountability or oversight for charters that want to add grades.

Charter enrollment in North Carolina has doubled over the last five years. Charter fans might say, "See! That huge demand for charters tells you how awesome they are." I might respond that it could also be a sign that the legislature has systematically driven its public school system into a corner and made it increasingly unattractive. But that's a discussion for another day.

But the special new innovation is the concept of reserved charter seats for donors.

That's right! If your company donates land or buildings or equipment to a charter school, up to half of the seats in that charter could be reserved for the children of the company's parents. Employees of your company could also sit on the charter board of directors. Hand over a chunk of ground or a building, and your corporation can have its own school-- and be in charge of running it.

Rep. John R. Bradford III (R-Mecklenburg) says this is an "economic development tool" with companies locating in rural areas offering a perk to employees, pretty much like paying for employee meals. "This creates a vehicle where a company can create an employee benefit," he says.

Sure. A benefit. The first thing I'm thinking of is an employer saying, "Y'all come to work at our Podunksburg plant and we promise your kids won't have to go to school with, you know, Those People's Kids."

But hey-- haven't we had a system like this before, with companies providing schools and housing and stores?

Or the old coke town of Shoaf. Charming place.

Maybe I'm too quick in thinking of a company town with a company store and company school that is run by the company and which helps to fully control the fate of its employees.

Maybe what North Carolina has in mind is a elite private school that is available to select corporate elite, answerable to nobody in particular, and not only outside the realm of public education, but actually in the side the realm of corporate control. Maybe this is simply flat-out privatization, a means for corporate chieftains to both enrich themselves and protect their offspring from contact with Those People's Children.

Or maybe, having pushed the frontiers on charter schools and already started down the voucher path, North Carolina is trying to break new ground by presenting the fully-privatized in-house corporate charter school.

It's not a law yet, but congratulations, North Carolina, on finding bold new ways to assault public education. Your move, Florida!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Betsy DeVos Is Not Entirely Wrong about This

Hey, it had to happen. Even a blind shooter occasionally hits something. And on Fox News America's Newsroom, she said this:

...there really isn’t any Common Core anymore

Breitbart reported on this as a means of whipping up some conservative high dudgeon about the Core, and correctly note that her observation that the Core is no longer out there in classrooms stands "in sharp contrast" to Trump's assertion "Common Core very bad, and although I have no idea what the hell it is, I think we should kill it with fire because many people not like bad thing end it good somehow whatever it is have you seen my ratings."

Now, yes-- DeVos is wrong in the sense that Common Core in some form or other is in many classrooms. In some states it's no longer called Common Core, but it's still out there, sort of.

The "sort of" is important, because as I've noted numerous times, the original vision of the Common Core is absolutely, completely dead.

Remember? The idea was that every state in the union would operate under exactly the same standards, and that while everyone was free to add a measly 15%, the heart of the Core could not be touched. We would all study the same stuff, using our Common Core aligned materials, and a student who moved from Iowa to Georgia could do so without missing a beat. And we would all take one of two assessments, so that every teacher and student in the country could be compared to every other teacher and student.

That did not happen.

The Core-aligned materials turn out to be a hodge-podge of textbooks aligned more to publisher's desires than Common Core Standards. Huge chunks of the standards have always been ignored because they aren't on the test (anybody seen a Common Core Speaking Unit lately?). And the Big Standardized Tests (the actual drivers of reformy curriculum)-- way more than two of them and not much beloved by anyone-- are themselves only loosely aligned to the Core.

Of course, as Valerie Strauss points out, what DeVos probably meant by "Common Core" was not the actual content of the standards, but the idea that the federal Department of Education [insert evil music cue here-- dun dun dunnnnnnn] can impose its control on state and local school districts. This remains a complicated point because the feds never directly imposed the Core; they just extorted states into adopting it of their own free will. ESSA now removes many of the department's extortion tools, though some of the mouth-frothing quotes at Breitbart note that ESSA is still filled with the language of "college and career ready," which is what we're saying instead of "common core" these days.

The feds couldn't impose the standards before, and they can't impose them or un-impose them now. It is up to states to decide what to do, and many have already made decisions about that issue.

The standards do have inertia on their side, as some form of the Core is the status quo in most states. But nobody particularly cares. In high-accountability states, schools aren't following the standards-- they're following the BS Tests. And classroom teachers, after an initial period of trying to be good soldiers, have long since "adapted" the standards to match their own best practices, even as administrators around the country created their own personal version of the standards (and some rebels even mostly ignored the whole business and went back to worrying about actual education).

But the original vision of an entire nation united behind one cramped and narrow vision of what education should be, with one unified set of standards enforced from sea to shining sea-- that didn't happen. What has happened is that the US education system is now clogged with the various fragments, mutant chunks, and toxic detritus of the Core. David Coleman and his buddies meant to build a beautiful, sleek silver spear, but what we have now is a disintegrated, splintered, corroded mess of pieces parts. Instead of one large spear stuck into the body of education, that body is riddled with Common Core shrapnel and buckshot, and instead of a quick and direct extraction, we're faced with a complicated and messy operation to improve our educational health. And ESSA says that the feds, who were already trying to perform surgery with mittens on, now must be handcuffed to the floor.

I'm not sure that Betsy DeVos understands any of that. But when she says there isn't any Common Core any more, she's not entirely wrong-- even if she doesn't understand why.

Monday, April 24, 2017

NEA Takes on Charters

The National Education Association has not always been swift to respond well to the currents of reformsterdom; lots of us still have a bad taste in our mouths from NEA's embrace of Common Core. And when NEA does take a position, it often does so with the lukewarm tap dance of a politician, and not an advocate for education (e.g. its resounding, "Perhaps Arne Duncan might try a bit harder to do a somewhat better job as secretary")

But NEA formed a task force on a proposed charter school statement, and it actually displays a bit of spine.  It has issued findings this month, and thanks to Fred Klonsky, there's a copy available on line. I've read it so that you don't have to, but if you're an NEA member, you probably should take a look.

Charter schools were started by educators who dreamed of schools in which they would be free to innovate, unfettered by bureaucratic obstacles.

So begins the introduction as it dips into the history of charter schools, reminding us that there is, at the heart of the movement, the germ of a not-so-bad idea. This well-sourced paper collects many factoids that you may half-remember, but-- damn-- the Waltons have provided seed money for one out of every four charter schools??!! Half the charters founded between 2006 and 2014 were funded by the federal government. And not a factoid, but a useful quote-- "The result of these efforts has been a massive and burgeoning sector of charter schools that are not subject to the same basic safeguards and standards as public schools." True that.

Key Background

The first section of the paper looks at what the charter school sector actually looks like. Graphs show raw charter numbers as well as number and percent of student population-- as of 2014, charter students were 5.7% of all US students, and charter school numbers have been growing steadily since 2000. However...

Beneath the growth, however, lies a churn. Charter schools open quickly but close quickly too. Among charter schools that opened in the year 2000, 5% closed within the first year; 21% closed within the first five years; and fully 33% closed within the first ten years. In some cases the closure happens mid-year, leaving students, parents and teachers in limbo. Many of the disrupted students then enroll in traditional public schools which must accommodate the transfers without new resources. 

In fact, nearly half of the students dumped by a charter mid-year between 2000-2012 were African American.

The report also shows who runs the schools, with the majority of authorizers being either local school boards or state boards of education.

The report also works down the list of rules that charters don't have to follow. While some states require open meetings, many of the heavy hitters like California do not. Only five states forbid for-profit charters, but virtually none provide regulations that stop any of the profiteering workarounds developed in the charter sector-- in fact, a third of charter states don't even hold charters to the prevailing ethics laws. I've said it before-- most of the time, a non-profit charter is just a for-profit with a good money-laundering system.

Charters do have to follow civil rights laws-- if someone enforces them. Labor laws don't work quite the same in charter land, nor do rules about professional requirements. Only eighteen states require charter teachers to meet the same qualification requirements as public school teachers.

The report concludes that the push for charters has resulted in separate and unequal systems, with charters being largely under-regulated and not locally accountable. And Trump-DeVos looks to make it only more so. If you want a quick rundown of the facts and figures of the effects of DeVosian reform on Michigan schools. Sample: From 2003 to 2015, Michigan dropped from 28th to 41st in Fourth Grade reading. Another sample: Michigan is spending about $1 billion-with-a-B annually on charter schools, 80% of which are for-profits.

The Failed Competitive Model of Charters

First, eighty studies worth of research show that charters, once you correct for demographics and other factors, get test-score results that "are not meaningfully better or worse" than public school results.

However, the impact on finances and community, as laid out in the report, is negative. Charters, under current law, drain resources from public schools, and disrupt community schools, both for the students and for the other community members. And as noted in many reports, charters increase segregation.

And all of that is before we get to the enormous and widespread fraud and waste of charter schools. The report sites several specific instances, like the Ohio charter with 50% phantom student enrollment  or the New York charter that borrowed $5.1 million to buy and renovate a building for which the actual purchase and renovation costs were $1.4 million.

Finally, there are virtual schools, the cyber charters that even a study CREDO, a charter-friendly group, found were a waste of time and money. Cyber charters have been shown pretty conclusively to be failures, and yet states like Pennsylvania continue to shovel money into their fund-sucking maw.

Competition has had more than ample opportunity to spur both charter and public schools to greatness. It hasn't happened. It's time to admit that charter operators do not know any special secret of educating students.

Charters as Incubators of Innovation within a School District

NEA here acknowledges that this much-hyped charter feature can actually happen, and gives some examples like Avalon Charter School in St. Paul, MN. But they lay out two requirements necessary for such success--

1) Local school boards are the only proper authorizers of charter schools, and

2) That board must create the criteria and requirements under which the charter will operate.

The NEA Statement on Charters

So what is the official NEA taskforce position on charter schools?

NEA supports public charter schools that are authorized and held accountable by public school districts.

To be a public charter, you have to be accountable to the public, and that means the elected officials who run the school district. 

NEA opposes as a failed and damaging experiment unaccountable privately managed charters.

Privately owned or managed charters damage the communities they enter. In general, they don't work, providing no real benefit at huge cost. And cyber charters are especially bad.

NEA stands for our students wherever they are educated. Relegating students and communities to unaccountable privately managed schools that do not comply with the basic safeguards and standards detailed above has created separate systems of charters that are inherently unequal. To counter the threat to public education of such charters, NEA supports both communities organizing for quality public education and educators working together to improve charter schools. 

Other facts from the appendices

The top five charter states-- California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Michigan-- contain over 50% of all charter school students in the nation. If you throw in the next five-- Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Colorado, and Georgia-- you account for 71% of all charter students.

If you rank states by the percentage of their students who are in charters, the top by a huge margin is DC itself, with 42%. Next, in order, are Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Utah, Michigan, Florida, and Delaware, all of which have more than 9% of their students in charters.

Here's some other rankings by way of growth:

And there's also some rankings by individual districts. Los Angeles was out in front as of 2014, but that seems like ages ago.

Big Frickin' Deal

I suppose folks may dismiss the report and the stances because they figure NEA will automatically be anti-charter. That is not so obvious to me-- after all, if the nefarious union goal is to create lots of teachers so they can organize lots of unions so they can rake in dues money as part of their evil plan to conquer the country (because so many of our national public officials are such union fans)-- anyway, if NEA wanted to grow its potential membership base, charter schools would be the perfect way to do it, and NEA would be cheering charters on while quietly trying to organize them all and spread the union influence.

On top of that, charters are beloved by many politicians who are and have been union sort-of-allies. It's possible that this report is coming out at this point because now that it's Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos pushing charters instead of Arne Duncan and Barack Obama, it's okay for NEA to oppose them. Maybe, but the country is still full of powerful charter-backing Democrats.

In other words, I don't think it's a given that NEA would be tough on charters. And yet here they are, with a report saying pretty unequivocally that privately run charters are bad news for public education (with footnotes and non-alternative facts and actual data and everything).

So I'm glad to see this report and hoping that NEA is going to be pushing it a bit harder in the months ahead. Let's hope it represents a trend.



Sunday, April 23, 2017

HYH: Edvertising

If I've said it once, I've said it a gazillion times:

The free market does not foster superior quality; the free market fosters superior marketing. 

Annnnd here it comes. The marketing.

The latest episode of Have You Heard with Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider takes a look at educational marketing (it also posits the heretofore unknown product "Extruda," which... just makes me uncomfortable).

There are soooo many issues with school marketing, and not that marketing a school is "unseemly." For instance, as the cast points out, most marketing is aimed at selling a private good, while education is a public good. There is also the issue of customer evaluation-- New Coke had the weight of the advertising world behind it, but that could not overcome all the people who actually drank some and said, loudly, "Yuck!" With a charter school, you may not figure out that you were scammed for quite some time.

But most striking is just the cost. Sarah Butler Jessen is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bowdoin College who studies school marketing and makes a guest appearance on the show. She holds up Eva Moskowitz's Success Academies as one of the leading examples of charter marketing, and she unloads two stunning factoids-- SA has spent about $1,000 per student on marketing, and marketing is the second-biggest expenditure for the charter chain.

$1,000 per student on marketing. Imagine what you could do if you had another $1,000 to spend on actually educating each student.

This is part of the problem of edu-marketing-- even if your marketing is Honest and Pure and True, you have just spent a ton of money on something other than educating students.

Jessen also talks about how charter management groups and chains are far ahead of the marketing war, particularly with their branding and I was surprised (though on reflection I shouldn't have been) that, for instance, KIPP has a whole Brand Guideline Video. Like any other brand leader, KIPP's identity and marketing face is about much more than education. And this is a sobering part of Jessen's research-- while we've all been debating and arguing and thrashing about charters and charter policy and all the rest of it, KIPP and the others have been slowly building the brand perception that charter schools are like private schools in their general awesomeness and desirability.

Marketing also circles back to one of the signature issues of  charters, which is regulation. The average civilian approaches advertising with an attitude of "Well, they couldn't just say that if it was a flat out lie." That, of course, is not actually true. When terms like "organic" (or "common core") are unregulated, advertisers can slap them on anything. And when charters and their marketing are unregulated, they can make any promise they like, whether they plan to keep it or not. I am reminded of a local private school that used to be infamous for promising parents anything ("You're looking for a left-handed lacrosse program that's tied to Latin studies and underwater basket weaving classes? Oh, we totally have that.") and never delivering on it. When it comes to low-information customers, charter schools naturally benefit from a steady supply of new parents who have no previous experience in the marketplace.

This is yet another valuable and important (and, believe it or not, entertaining) episode of this podcast. Check it out right now--

ICYMI: Day After Earth Edition (4/23)

Your list of worthwhile reads from the week. Enjoy, and pass them on.

Looking for the Living Among the Dead

A beautiful Easter meditation from Jose Luis Vilson

The Privateer Legislators

A family friend passed this along from Florida. An articulate argument for not privatizing education in Florida, or anywhere else, from Roger Williams.

Chester Finn Jr. Calls for an End to Teacher Tenure

I assume that if you read here, you also follow Diane Ravitch, but it's easy to lose pieces in the midst of the Ravitchian avalanche of posts, and here's one you really don't want to miss, as the education historian points out what's wrong about so many arguments against teacher tenure.

Call This The Empty Chair 

One more panel about teaching without a single teacher in sight.

Where Did All the Black Teachers Go?

A personal essay about one of the most under-addressed issues in education-- why can't schools hold onto teachers of color?

School Choice: The Faustian Bargain

Russ Walsh looks at what choicers require folks to give up in order to get choice.

Mr Staples, Here's What Happened To Black Teachers

A solid response to that NYT piece from the Schools Matter blog.

Homework Is Wrecking Our Kids

This piece is actually over a year old, but it's still the truth, and still well-worth a read and a share.

Largest Charter Chain in LA Raises Millions To Fight Unionization

Facing a unionizing teacher staff? Charters could take any number of responses, but in LA, the largest charter chains went with "Collect $2.2 from various anonymous friends to keep unions from happening."

As It Always Should Be

Everyone with a little needs a Teacher Tom in their life. Here he is discovering one more beautiufl and joyous thing about his kids.

These Are a  Few of My Favorite Green Things

For Earth Day, another post from my daughter about the small sustainable things we can all do to help.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Checker Still Doesn't Understand Tenure

Chester "Checker" Finn, Grand Poobah Emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, is the reformster most likely to unleash his higher dudgeon over Kids These Days and Those Darn Teachers, and he has done so again on the Fordham Flypaper blog. "Will Teacher Tenure Die?" appears to have been edited down from an original title, "Will Teacher Tenure Ever Die, Please?"

Some of his complaint is simply incorrect. As his old colleague Diane Ravitch points out, his notion that K-12 trickled down from colleges and universities is ahistoric-- K-12 tenure was a response to too many teachers losing jobs to school board members' nieces and failing to register with the correct political party, among other abuses.

After cheering on the slow death of tenure at the college and university level (because I'm sure having a cadre of part-time underpaid instructors is going to make college education super), Finn goes on to bemoan the continued existence of tenure in the K-12 world (even, in some cases, by contract in right to work states). And teachers can get tenure after only a few years and some "satisfactory" ratings, which strikes Finn as evidence. This is an old reformy trope, and I'm not sure what to make of it-- instead of saying, "Hey, teachers are mostly well-rated, so the profession must be in good shape," reformsters say, "Hey, teachers are mostly well-rated, so the evaluation system must be broken, because we just know that a huge number of teachers suck." So, data is good, unless it conflicts with your pre-conceived biases, in which case, just throw the data out.

Finn also persist in calling tenure "life time employment," which is simply flat out wrong. I can rattle off a list of teachers in my area who have lost their jobs despite tenure. Any teacher who's been around a while can. And while there are some large districts where the process is long, convoluted and prohibitively difficult, mostly "We can't fire her because if tenure" is administrator-speak for "I could fire her, but it would take a lot of time and I'd have to, you know, work really hard, and then I would have to find a replacement and you know how hard that would be and I'm already backed up on meetings this week and now some kid just threw up in the hall, so how about I just blame her on the union and tenure and get back to my own work." Where burdensome dismissal procedures exist, they have been negotiated into contracts. Fixing those contracts by outlawing tenure is like fixing the electoral college by installing a dictatorship-- little bit of overkill.

Finn likes the idea of trading tenure for money, and he's not the first. He's correct in noting that job security is a feature that makes low pay palatable (or at least choke-downable) for many teachers, but he misses the flip side of this-- due process protections are something school districts can offer to make their jobs appealing, and they don't cost the district a cent. Finn imagines asking teachers, "Would you give up job protections in exchange for another $25K?" But the real challenges is asking districts, "Which would you rather do-- promise teachers not to fire them for stupid reasons, or pay them each another twenty-five grand?" Which choice do you think boards would prefer? (Hint: only one option increases the budget by a few million dollars>)

Finn recognizes that tenure has value as a bulwark against favoritism and discrimination, but then dismisses it because "the codification in constitutions and statutes of innumerable due process and anti-discrimination protections radically shrinks the rationale"-- in other words, we have laws about that stuff that people mostly follow, mostly. The thing is, absent any sort of reliable or valid teacher evaluation system (which is where we are right now), any administrator can game the system and mask her discriminatory and biased behavior behind any sort of "clean" rationale. And laws do not cover things like running a teacher out of the classroom because she won't let a school board members child start on the softball team or play the lead in the school play.

Finn ticks off "academic freedom" as a legitimate concern, except that the First Amendment argument doesn't have as much "oomph" for him because so many professors are using their First Amendment rights to indoctrinate pupils. In other words, freedom of speech is only necessary for people who are saying the right things. He also correctly notes that so many court cases have taken so many chunks out of the First Amendment for teachers that it's fair "to ask just how much difference does “academic freedom” make to a fourth grade teacher."

He skips completely over the issue of teacher advocacy-- the situation where a teacher has to advocate for a student against the school administration itself.

But Finn has some other ideas, and they start with this humongous whopper:

It’s no secret that the HR practices of private and charter schools—neither of which typically practices tenure—work far better than those of district schools from the standpoint of both school leaders and their students.

As it turns out, it is absolutely a secret. Or, more accurately, it's a thing that is not known to be true.

What Finn means, because he is a fan of the CEO model of charter schools, is that the school leaders are free to hire and fire and shuffle around teachers at will. Nobody should have job security, because job security interferes with the visionary boss's freedom to indulge his vision as he sees fit. Like a 19th century robber baron, he will sit atop his kingdom and only his judgment will be needed to determine What Is Best for all of the Little People. The Little People should be grateful to receive such largesse, and should show their gratitude by staying in their rightful place and keeping their mouths shut. Think I'm overstating the case? Here's the rest of the paragraph that was kicked off by that last sentence:

That’s because the leadership team can generally employ (and deploy) the instructors they deem best suited to their pupils and they’re not obligated to retain any who don’t do a satisfactory job. They can be nimble in regrouping, restaffing, and redirecting their schools—and everyone who works there knows that’s how it goes. Nobody has a right to continued employment untethered to their own performance and the school’s needs. The employer has the right to change the shape, nature, and size of the organization, to redeploy human resources, to substitute capital for labor, to replace elbow grease and sitzfleisch with technology, and to hire and fire according to shifting pupil needs and organizational priorities.

Emphasis mine. 19th century robber baron attitude, his. In a Proper School, teachers are drones and widgets, coming and going and moving about at the pleasure of their CEO, who will decide what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and even if the organization needs to be changed in some fundamental way. Pupils will consume whatever is put before them at the bidding of their Betters. Organizational priorities, as defined by the Gifted CEO, rule all. In this world, the CEO is the sun, and those damned planets better not even think of unionizing or demanding tenure.