Going For The Gold




After 37 years with NPR and PBS, I’ve finally come to my senses. I have had it with the non-profit world. It’s my turn to make the big bucks.

Because education is what I know, that’s where I intend to set up shop. I am going into the business of remedial education, and I know it’s going to be a gold mine. All I need are failing kids, and I don’t see any signs that the supply is drying up.

What has prompted this 180-degree turn? This sudden change of heart?

It was a recent news report, the key paragraph quoted below:

Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest operator of for-profit prisons, has sent letters recently to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for ‘challenging corrections budgets.’ In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full.

(The emphasis was added.)

You may be wondering what a report on prisons has to do with education, but this is deja vu all over again, in Yogi’s memorable phrase, because back in 1982 I spent six months in juvenile institutions in several states, including Minnesota, South Carolina and Texas, for an NPR documentary “Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Crime” (which won the George Polk Award that year).

Here’s what I learned: Juvenile institutions remained at-capacity or near-capacity no matter what the juvenile crime rate happened to be. For example, when juvenile offenses declined precipitously in Minnesota, the authorities simply changed the rules about what got you locked up. They criminalized behavior that previously led to a slap on the wrist. One particular example sticks in my mind: Until the crime rate went down, girls who ran away from home had been classified as PINS, persons in need of supervision, which requires no jail time. Then, rather than have the juvenile facilities empty, running away became an offense that warranted incarceration.

Prison

The prison system could be the inspiration for a successful economic model!

What a revelation: the needs of the institution — for bodies to watch over — took precedence over the needs of youth. ‘We’ve got the facility, the guards, the payroll; we need youthful offenders,’ the logic went. Because the dominant value system favored adults and jobs over kids, they didn’t even need a guarantee.

So you can see the brilliance of Corrections Corporation of America, asking for an iron-clad guarantee from the 48 states that they will keep the prisons 90 percent full! Who cares what the crime rate is. Just keep the convicts coming.

Now, let’s talk about my business plan.

What I am going to offer states and school districts is this: I will take over their remedial education in return for their guarantee that they will keep giving high school diplomas to students who aren’t ready to function.

Come to think of it, I may not need a written guarantee. Just look at the track record of school reform since in began in earnest with the publication of A Nation At Risk in 1983, and since that time governments and foundations have spent billions of dollars. The dropout rate hasn’t changed much, and the number of graduates needing remedial work when they go to college has climbed dramatically.

Who have been the primary beneficiaries of ‘school reform,’ I ask you?

Duh, the for-profit companies! While consultants and think tanks have done OK, and reporters have been kept busy, the real money has been in testing and textbooks and technology and construction.

Frankly, ‘school reform’ is too expensive for states to continue with, especially since it hasn’t worked. They can cut back on reform, sign with me, and save a bundle.

I have some definite advantages over schools: (1) the technology to diagnose deficiencies and create specific programs that address those shortcomings and measure accomplishment; (2) a population of (finally) motivated young people who realize they need certain skills if they want to find decent jobs; and (3) powerful financial incentives that encourage me to teach them quickly.

Regarding No. 1: schools have semesters, but I will have self-paced modules. Learn it, prove you’ve learned it, and you’re done.

No. 2: While schools have lots of students who are bored and fed up with being treated like numbers, my clients — those former students — will be eager to learn and get on with their lives.

No. 3 is the key. Unlike today’s educators, I will get paid only when the students succeed. Should I fail, I get hurt where it matters: in the pocketbook. In most education systems, failure is blamed on the students. And then their failure is usually ‘punished’ by promotion to the next grade.

So my approach is revolutionary.

Is there competition? I am not the least bit worried about the Departments of Remediation that some colleges have created, because they function exactly like those juvenile institutions back in the 1980s — they need remedial students to stay open. So if they are successful in helping some kids, they will inevitably lower the bar for ‘remediation,’ in order to keep the warm bodies coming. Their financial incentives are screwed up.

Mind, you, I am smarter than that. I will not be calling what I do ‘remediation’ or anything that sounds remotely like failure. What I am going to offer to do is ‘certify’ the skill levels of high school graduates; it’s the same way that the mechanic ‘certifies’ your wreck of a car by banging out all the dents, changing the oil, points and plugs and installing new shock absorbers so it is ready for the road!

The only possible threat to my business would be an education system that focused on the needs of individual children; a system that taught and encouraged thinking instead of teaching (and testing) things. In that approach, time would be the variable, performance the constant. Students would be empowered to dig deeply into issues and…. (Why bother going on about this — it’s not going to happen!)

I’m looking for investors. Act now, to get in early.

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58 Responses to “Going For The Gold”

  1. Lucy Rosborough 15. Feb, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    In awe of your Learning Matters work over the years and I know you will have great success in your new venture…. Best of luck and I look forward to reading about your
    ‘for profit’ venture. Your students will be the ones who truly profit. With great affection, Lucy and Brian

    • john merrow 15. Feb, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Lucy,
      Please read it again. That was intended to be entirely tongue in cheek, my effort at satire. However, I just got a call from an old friend, a Harvard graduate and a skilled lawyer, who also wished me well, so I guess I need to work on my writing.
      John

      • YETMO (Fred Apelquist) 15. Feb, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

        John –

        I got the satire.

        Hard to believe about the capacity phenomenon. If true, this would be shameful beyond all imaginings.

        Heck. As for your phantom retiring, I’ll still wish you good luck in the future. Just to be polite. ;-)

        Fred

  2. Leslie 15. Feb, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    too funny. and too sad. the scary side of satire is when it hits so close to truth!

  3. Joe Beckmann 15. Feb, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    I suggest you go after Accuplacer and/or their owner, the College Board, since most colleges mis-use their diagnostic findings to supplement their enrollment figures with redundant “recovery” courses – that, in fact and even more ironically, rarely treat the problems and usually just pass them on to the regular courses having collected an additional course fee.

    Ah, the beauties of bureaucracy! What a remarkable moneymaker some tests have become!

  4. Elliot kotler 15. Feb, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Profit and winning is holy in our society much more important than children or quality. For example the Biggest Loser is considered successful because it makes a profit. Shakespeare on TV is not a success because it does not make a profit. Which has more quality? Now our society would arque that it is elitist to think Shakesspeare has mor quality than the Biggest Loser. If that is the case than you have the answer.as to why our education is having trouble

  5. Michael Endicott 15. Feb, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Dear John, When I read your piece, I wanted to lol if the facts were not so depressing. I will push this piece everywhere I can. You have exposed the hypocrisy of “privatization is the solution” perfectly. These private entities will “succeed” if we just guarantee their monopoly as they take on the core functions of government. Out here, where “public private toll roads have become the solution,the contracts require the governments NOT to build any additional lanes or transportation infrastructure in the same corridors that would compete for use, guaranteeing that mass transit never gets built! Yes, indeed, it is time to turn over everything to the new super citizen, the Corporation. Yes, let’s lock up our youth, take away their right to vote, and create a new great Democracy in which 3/4 of the population has no vested interest or expectations. The revolution will not be televised. Best, me

  6. Anne Petersen 15. Feb, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Thanks for writing this John. This is a travesty, one that deserves attention. We’ve known in Michigan that prisons were institutions that ate people, destroyed lives, with the for-profit motive driving the action, aided by the unions for jobs and communities for tax revenue. So sad!
    Hugs, Anne

  7. Don Ernst 15. Feb, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    John,

    Powerful piece and captures powerfully the instrumentalism that is afflicting the education time in which we live. I am reminded of the eloquence of Mike Rose and his amazing rif on remediation…we need to start where the kids are…frankly, your piece reminds me why I have left the challenge of fundamentally renewing schools and school systems and have found a new public space in which to work—the Little Rock Public Library System and creating community-embedded educational opportunities that are grounded in imagination and creative pedagogy instead of the cultural fetish of standards/tests/punishment. We profoundly lack imagination when it comes to public education and the issues you alert us to cry out for such imagination–thank God for Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor and their comrades at The Met and Big Picture!

    Onward!

    Don Ernst

  8. Doug Thomas, EdVisions 15. Feb, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Better yet John. If you’re successful, Pearson or McGraw-Hiil will buy you out and you’ll really be rich and you can go back to writing these great blogs for fun!

  9. Joanne Jacobs 15. Feb, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Assessment is the greatest challenge in education with the greatest potential for doing good. If you created a company that let young people learn skills, prove their competence and go into the world, you’d deserve to earn a profit. Paying for student success rather than enrollment woud require monitoring to prevent dumbing-down the certification standards, of course.

    Readers missed the tongue in cheek because this makes a lot of sense.

  10. Steve Crouse 15. Feb, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Hi John , like Lucy ( Hi Lucy) , I bought it too. I think you should try it , sounds like a smash.

    I do believe that you must share the frustration of educators whom you have known and participated with , in your Ed. Matters.

    When I hear politicians speak of Edu. reforms for the Nation, they seem to be unaware of the demise of most State support programs due to budget cuts. As long as people of means insure that their kids get top teachers (Private Schools) , then the Fed will continue to disengage from its traditional role as public provider for quality schools for all.

    The results are obvious.

    Best , Steve C

    l

  11. Kati Koerner 15. Feb, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    You’ve written “A Modest Proposal” for 2012. Mordantly funny and heartbreakingly true.

  12. Cevin Soling 15. Feb, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Don’t schools also demand they be close to full as well and offer prison as the alternative for truants? Everyone is in agreement that schools are deficient, but still insist that kids should go there because of what it could be, not because of what it is. If we pretend that prison are for rehabilitation and provide inmates with degrees upon release, then maybe society wouldn’t feel so badly about sending kids there either.

  13. Grant Wiggins 15. Feb, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    I wonder how many people fell for this – good readers, too.

    Pretty spot-on satire.

  14. David S. Seeley 15. Feb, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    John: Your threat to quit caught my eye. You’re not allowed to. The only thing I’ll add to the many fine comments above is that for many kids, before they fail and get sent to prison, their schools already feel like prison — because we have organized them that way.

  15. Susan Graham, AcademicMerit 15. Feb, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Good one! You got me for a split second via Twitter…

    This piece would be great to use for Common Core– that is “close reading and analysis”.

    I’m looking forward to the documentary and the discourse that follows.

    PLEASE keep doing what you’re doing…. Those of us in the education for-profit world have enough brilliant people to compete!

    • john merrow 15. Feb, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

      To be part of the Common Core, wouldn’t that be the cat’s pajamas! And how deliciously ironic. Will you make that happen?

  16. Rick Clarke 15. Feb, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Maybe you should have titled it “A Modest Proposal”

    • john merrow 15. Feb, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      Some Irishman already used that title……..

  17. Philip Kovacs 15. Feb, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    John I’ve been busy teaching and have not spent a lot of time reading online of late…this piece is brilliant…one of your best.

    i hope it finds its way to many readers.

    Best,
    drpk

  18. Chris Cory, Pace University 15. Feb, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Nice satire, John, but also nice kernels of truth, (I must admit to a fan’s profound sinking feeling for two sentences until I realized you weren’t actually abandoning the rest of us.) The argument that bureaucracies are self-perpetuating and find ways to expand and redefine the need for their services is familiar, particularly, I believe, on the right, for which it provides a convenient rationale for smaller government. I also think there’s a body of sociological research on it: This does not, IMHO, mean some of the services are not needed or don’t help. But, and here’s my suggestion for Learning Matters, the phenomenon does bear nuanced investigation and documentation. That’s especially true at a time of weariness with school reform and pressures for more cost-effectiveness, which will be a feature of the presidential campaign . Could you find a sliver of the education world where this has happened and you could show it with your usual mix of data and anecdotes?

  19. Tom Tobey 15. Feb, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    John
    Very clever jounalism. It sure made me look twice at the well-written article.

  20. Hugh 15. Feb, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    John,

    You say,

    “The only possible threat to my business would be an education system that focused on the needs of individual children; a system that taught and encouraged thinking instead of teaching (and testing) things. In that approach, time would be the variable, performance the constant. Students would be empowered to dig deeply into issues and…. (Why bother going on about this — it’s not going to happen!)”

    As I have mentioned to you before, you can see exactly what you describe: kids of all backgrounds collaborating on challenging thinking and building tasks. Classroom after classroom of focused engaged kids happily learning at an accelerated pace. Entire schools of kids who want to be architects, scientists or somehow change the world even though many don’t know where their next meal is coming from. No boot camp, no excuses, no blaming teachers; everyone wins.

    So why don’t you cover projects like this and start the new narrative you’ve discussed? Find the signal in the noise and amplify it?

    If you want to see this, try http://www.is.gd/Leonardo. Lots of thinking, creating kids here – and standards being rigorously met. Or http://is.gd/Duke_IDEA_video, where you can see the incredible enthusiasm of a young teacher, exactly the one who would be about to quit in another environment.

    I have a limited view of the world, so this is the only project like this I am aware of, but I’m sure there are others. However, even one is existence proof and it is scaling on its own with no attention or resources.

    That’s what I don’t understand. This is such a fixable problem – just give teachers the tools to succeed. But even those who understand it don’t seem to be fixing it. It is completely perplexing to me.

    Don’t quit – start the narrative and go for the Pulitzer.

  21. Glenn Marcus 15. Feb, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    What is the minimum investment?

    COUNT ME IN!!!!!!!!

    but, for the record, I of course am a HUGE FAN

    of satire, and you are giving Jonathan Swift a run for

    his money. Brilliant!

    and thanks – a great great read.

    get that thing published big time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    .Glenn

  22. John Bennett 15. Feb, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Should have waited for April 1st! It’s a real struggle often for me when I read of the proposed mandates from “reformers” who have taken an important effort and twisted it to justify in their minds satisfying important goals and objectives – WHILE ALL THE TIME THEY IGNOR THE KEY FINDINGS FROM RESEARCH ASSOCIATED WITH EFFECTIVE LEARNING. And of course, when their mandates fail, they revert to the finger pointing and the “it can’t possibly be that the mandate was faulty” explanation.

  23. Milton Chen 15. Feb, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Hi, John, sign me up! Also tell the states you’re working in (California needs you!) that you could save them the $50k per inmate we’re currently spending when remediation doesn’t work. Toss in the social and economic costs of crime and you’ve got one answer to our recession and federal/state/local spending. Plus the contribution to the tax rolls of productive citizens.

    Will there be a prize to name your new company? Learning Really, Really Matters?!!

    • john merrow 15. Feb, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

      Maybe we can have the contest on Twitter. I like Learning Really, Really Matters, but there may be some other strong contenders. BTW, I am selling shares in the company. My goal is to sell !000%, like my hero, Max Bialystock.

  24. George Dewey 15. Feb, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    Dear John,
    I am so sorry you have abandoned such a good relationship. We had such a good thing going, until, going, going, GONE. Sigh! I just remember our first date, the one at the JR PROM (Journalistic Requirements for Public Reporting of Ordinary Material) when you promised to be faithful for life. So, I’m breaking up our relationship; you can’t stand me up like that. And I will return the ring by UPS [Undone Promises Services] COLLECT. That ought to show you who’s in charge of things. Department of Remediation indeed! Humph!!

    Signed,
    Jenny Jilted,
    Your lover in the Department of Educational Satire International (DOESNT)
    P.S. Don’t scare us like that, catchy byline and all!

  25. Larry Tietz 15. Feb, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Sign me up! If it fails we can ask for a govt bailout in the name of natl security. We could declare bonuses t o attract only those who l know the syste
    !!

    • jay featherstone 15. Feb, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

      Dear John, touche–even wicked funny satire, however, does not erase the bitter taste of this world. A gallant try jf

      • john merrow 15. Feb, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

        thank you
        you were one of my writing teachers, remember….

  26. David Hornbeck 15. Feb, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Brilliant…clearly ready for Stewart or Colbert

    • john merrow 15. Feb, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

      I wish….but thanks

  27. Rosemarie Menager 15. Feb, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    Enjoyed the satire! It reminded me of some findings from about 20 years ago. A study of prisons in a North Western State found that 96 percent of the inmates in the prison study had learning disabilities/attention deficit disorder. At the time the State of California had a motto “Use a Gun, Go to Prison” So we re-purposed the slogan to “Have a Learning Difficulty, go to prison”. It was not a joke, but a recognition of a grim reality that society fails those who have learning problems and everyone pays. Very frustrating we haven’t YET found better ways to meet the learning needs of our communities. I believe we can, and many want this, but how and when?

  28. Max McConkey 16. Feb, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    The most attention-getting e-article lead so far this year! You pulled us in, John, as if we were fish in a barrel. And then, after hooking us, you offered up some very astute observations. In terms of messaging and substance it was an A+. Congratulations. Take a well-deserved bow!

  29. Paul Binder 16. Feb, 2012 at 1:24 am #

    Suckered me in John. Maybe you should just become a full-time satirist. Nah! The Big Money is clearly in politics.

  30. Ken Fischer 16. Feb, 2012 at 1:43 am #

    You caught my attention for sure, pal. Great piece! Can you act as well as you can write satire? If so, there’s a future for you in the theater. But first…come back and visit us in Ann Arbor — and while you’re here, we’ll catch a Tigers’ game in Detroit with the Prince.

  31. Chris Edley 16. Feb, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    John — Scared the bejeezus out of me. As you probably know, I’m co-chairing a congressionally-chartered, Arnie Duncan-appointed national Commission on Education Equity & Excellence. In theory, a sequel to A Nation At Risk. It’s a great group of folks, and I think we’ll be done this spring. Your piece — indeed many of them — resonates with my biggest nagging concern: The dire problems persist, but I actually believe that among knowledgeable people of good will it is possible to come up with mid-to-long term policy prescriptions. The problems are that (1) the more fundamental changes (governance, finance, the teacher training/PD system, under investment in R&D) that are foundational, and (2) a strategy to build moral and political consensus. K-12 isn”t the only policy domain with this problem. But I sure think it’s the most important for our future. Hang in there, amigo. We need you still. — CE

  32. Don Bartalo 16. Feb, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    John, you need to decide which side your on. There are times when I think you get it about public schools and then, I’m not sure. We don’t have time to play around. Please which side you’re on and stick to it.

  33. Lawrence (Larry) S. Aaronson 16. Feb, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    John: Brilliant Swiftian satire. I love the fact that so many fools from the hollowed hall of grad schools of ed took you seriously. How pathetic. Really its not very funny to more I think about it.

  34. Alexis Wiggins 16. Feb, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    But let’s cut to the chase: It’s human capital, stupid.

    While your satire is clever and points to the big business of education, I think the elephant in the room is that America’s (and for that matter the world’s) top talent is not drawn to the teaching profession. Out of the top 20% of my graduating class, a majority went to business and investment banking. Even now when I ask my top students what they intend to study, most say business, marketing, medicine or tech. I’ve never heard one of them say “teaching.”

    We need a Silicon Valley for education. We need new incentives and initiatives that promote healthy, capitalistic competition for producing the best and most effective educational models and then rewarding them with unique and exciting opportunities for people to “create” in the classroom.

    We need to attract the best, the brightest, the most creative and collaborative (read: the least cynical and stubborn) to the profession. That won’t happen, especially in the public sector, until the system cracks so wide open that creativity, innovation, effectiveness, collaboration, feedback and personal accountability in the classroom are not only encouraged but required, and financially rewarded.

    I imagine the talent of those top 20% from my high school graduating class — peers who have succeeded in banking, business, tech, medicine and television — and I imagine what they could have done in education with their intelligence, talent, and drive. We can throw money at the problem, but I believe nothing will change until we get the best young people into the profession and make it a functional and exciting enough system so that they stay.

  35. Cynthia Dantzic 16. Feb, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Clever, clever!

    You are not seriously quitting your major concern. just shifting the focus and affiliation of your efforts. In fact, you are probably going to be achieving even more toward your professional concerns and are not, as I see it, as driven by financial gain as you make it appear.
    Good luck and keep your followers up to date on your activities.

  36. Ted Fiske 16. Feb, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    John (or should I say Jonathan?)

    Might I suggest Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC as a source of capital for your new enterprise?

  37. Linda Darling-Hammond 16. Feb, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    This piece is brilliant, tragic, and so important.

    I’ve been watching this happen for years. (Ron Paige made money off of this when he was a superintendent in Houston – sending kids to a for-profit “school” set up by for-profit prison operators on a per capita basis. His director of research called it an educational death camp and Paige fired the research director.) This is widespread and part of the privatization agenda that is sweeping the country.

    Thank you for making it public.

  38. Kevin Ryan 16. Feb, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Painful satire, but, alas, good satire should be painful.

    Nicely done, John.

  39. SH1 16. Feb, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    This is a great piece for two reasons: exposes why we have all the new FBI rules on who is “extremist” and “terrorist-suspect” + Obama’s new EO’s on ‘without trial’ and ‘without duration’.

    Second –the satire is AWESOME! The analogy is spot on and impacting. John, If you’re serious, I know how we can make 1 billion dollars over the next ten years, addressing many of the issues you describe in your works.

    let’s talk. I submitted my email with this post.

    Peter Drucker once said (aka “The Man Who Invented Management” as quoted from BusinessWeek Magazine, Nov. 28, 2005): “No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.”

  40. John Pendleton 16. Feb, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Well, John, you certainly got my attention.
    Proctor does a great job at dealing with kids with learning differences, but, of course, Proctor is a private school.

    Isn’t it about time to retire?

    John

  41. john merrow 16. Feb, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Truth is, they’ll have to drag me away. So many stories to tell, and such high stakes. How about I keep on doing it until I get it right???

  42. Barry Stein 16. Feb, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Thanks for your brilliant column “Going for the Gold” Wanted to let you know there is a program that has the elements you propose: (1) the technology to diagnose deficiencies and create specific programs that address those shortcomings and measure accomplishment; (2) a population of (finally) motivated young people who realize they need certain skills if they want to find decent jobs; and (3) powerful financial incentives that encourage staff to teach them quickly. It’s called Fast Break.

    This holistic, team taught, highly experiential and applied program brings students’ math, reading, and communications skills to workplace/college entry standards while providing basic computer skills and proper workplace habits. The intensive 5-8 hours a day program simulates a high performance workplace where teachers and students remain together all day long and continually collaborate. It achieves 2-3 grade-level math-reading gains in only 8-12 weeks and places 80% of grads in career entry jobs or college. Additional success factors include the challenging cross-disciplinary curriculum, faculty teaming and small group coaching, daily feedback on class and individual performance, emphases on career planning, workplace discipline and time management, the use of courseware to manage instruction, and most importantly, the way Fast Break blends the “soft” teamwork, customer service and interpersonal skills with the “hard” reading, math, communications and computer application skills.

    The Haberman Educational Foundation is endeavoring to introduce this program to the Nation’s high schools, which is a steep climb since almost all want to keep the century-old factory model school despite its lack of effectiveness and high costs. Let me know your ideas on how to overcome this inertia. Meantime, we’d be pleased to provide more info if you are interested.

    • john merrow 16. Feb, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      Sure. Pls send info. My email is jmerrow@learningmatters.tv. Our office address is 127 West 26th Street #1200, NY NY 10001

  43. Kathy 16. Feb, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Fascinating and depressing piece. It reminded of a comment made a few months ago, by a California school superintendent highly lauded for turning around a low-performing district. Faced with even more budget cuts, he cynically suggested changing from a school district to a juvenile facility so he’d get enough money from the state to provide kids with the education they need.

  44. Tate Cohn 17. Feb, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks for not REALLY leaving us, John. We need you right where you are, doing what you so excel at.

    Tate Cohn

  45. elise m. 23. Feb, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Great piece and a cool idea! (In my opinion this IS John Stewart Worthy!)

    I remember taking a HS math class that was made for ‘math-haters’ to satisfy the math requirement to graduate (yes, I fell into that category) It was self-paced. The incentive (free time) worked for me. I finished in half the time and had a long lunch almost every day my the second half of my senior year!
    Had I other courses that were interesting and/or self-paced, I would have spent my time in hyper high gear to get me OUT of school and into another country/life! OR perhaps I might have found something really exciting to pursue IN school! Most importantly, I would never have been bored and would have seen purpose in educcation!
    The scenario you describe is a teaching environment I wouId NOW heartily jump into. (I taught for 3 years in Harlem public middle schools and left because of the stupid, ineffective bureaucracy/rules and bad leadership…NOT because of the kids). As a teacher OR a student in this scenario, not only would I NEVER be or have been bored but it would be/have been exciting and stimulating!

    PS- if you WERE going to change jobs (I can’t imagine you retiring EVER), and you start this up, count me in! I’d further suggest we pay a minimum salary to start but incentivize with BIG numbers per student who becomes an avid learner/contributor to society! Akin to waiters/tips

  46. elise m. 23. Feb, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Great piece and a cool idea! (In my opinion this IS John Stewart Worthy!)

    I remember taking a HS math class that was made for ‘math-haters’ to satisfy the math requirement to graduate (yes, I fell into that category) It was self-paced. The incentive (free time) worked for me. I finished in half the time and had a long lunch almost every day my the second half of my senior year!
    Had I other courses that were interesting and/or self-paced, I would have spent my time in hyper high gear to get me OUT of school and into another country/life! OR perhaps I might have found something really exciting to pursue IN school! Most importantly, I would never have been bored and would have seen purpose in education!
    The scenario you describe is a teaching environment I wouId NOW heartily jump into. (I taught for 3 years in Harlem public middle schools and left because of the stupid, ineffective bureaucracy/rules and bad leadership…NOT because of the kids). As a teacher OR a student in this scenario, not only would I NEVER be or have been bored but it would be/have been exciting and stimulating!

    PS- if you WERE going to change jobs (I can’t imagine you retiring EVER), and you start this up, count me in! I’d further suggest we pay a minimum salary to start but incentivize with BIG numbers per student who becomes an avid learner/contributor to society! Akin to waiters/tips

  47. elise m. 23. Feb, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    educcation vs education!

  48. @KellyDillon1 21. Apr, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    I think you are missing a tremendous opportunity by neglecting to partner with for-profit prisons in your remediation business. Think about it. They need prisoners; you need failing students. Instead of sending ill-prepared high school graduates off to college for remediation, why don’t you send them to prison? I mean, they’re likely to end up there anyway once they commit a crime. This way, we can keep them off the streets while we temper their criminal urges with targeted instruction in reading in math. This way, they can leave prison with a GED, no criminal record, and a few job skills. This is certainly a better deal than leaving students’ “rehabilitation” to the schools. For-profit prisons are much more motivated to get the job done and get it done right. Their livelihood depends on it.

  49. David Domincki 06. Jun, 2012 at 2:51 am #

    Itˇ¦s really a cool and helpful piece of information. Iˇ¦m happy that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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