My new education-policy blog

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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17 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    Congratulations on the new position.Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    Typo – “played a role”, not roll.Report

  3. stillwater says:

    Is it a paying gig? If the answer is yes, don’t say anything.Report

  4. Congratulations, but I have a few questions.

    You talk a lot about decentralization and the move away from authoritarian methods in schooling. Yet teacher unions are not really any more decentrailzed. In fact unions kind of have to be centralized to have any effectiveness. So is centralization good in one case and bad in the other?

    Also, you talk about where some of these reformers get their funding from as if this is part of some dark conspiracy. But some more liberal groups get their funding from people like George Soros. Isn’t that just as bad? And what made you change your mind about where people get their funding?

    I haven’t seen either Waiting for Superman or the Lottery, but I do know that some of those stories involve parents (including many parents of color) who want to a better life and education for their kids and they feel they are not getting it in the public system. In some way, I was one of those kids in that my working class parents put me through private schools (half of it in Catholic schools) until college. Where do these stories fit in? Are they just ignored because they “pull at the heartstrings?”

    Finally, if these school reformers are not the answer, the what is the answer? Is it the status quo? Is it expanded taxation?Report

  5. Barry says:


  6. jeff says:

    I knew a lurch to the left was a prerequisite at getting a blogging gig at most old-school media outfits… but even Forbes? Wow.Report

  7. greginak says:


  8. E.D. Kain says:

    Thanks, all. Dennis give me a bit to put together a coherent response when time is permitting.Report

  9. Lyle says:

    What about each school being run as a small business with the principal evaluated soley on the length of the waiting list or lack there of the school. Test scores would be published and all students from a Metro area could apply to any school. (thus the concept of waiting lists). Presumably the parents and students would pick the best school. No central direction, in fact the central office could be reduced to almost nothing each school would get a budget per student and be required to take students on a first come first served basis up to the enrollment limits.Report

  10. Pooh says:


    I do some work with educational pilot programs (not a formally trained educator or anything), but it seems to me that poor educational outcomes are more of a symptom than the diseases itself – the same conditions which lead to “bad neighborhoods” (poverty, unemployment etc etc etc) lead to poor “measurables” of school performance when compared with “better” neighborhoods – research and experience have shown that you can “reach” a decent portion of kids in these situation, but it’s fairly labor intensive to do so.

    So I guess my question is this, are we, to a degree, putting the cart before the horse by focusing so much on structural reform of education and not enough on the front end?Report

  11. Stuart Buck says:

    It’s disappointing to see that you quote Ravitch making a point that she knows to be silly and ignorant: “Right-to-work states do not have higher scores than states with strong unions. Actually, the states with the highest performance on national tests are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and New Hampshire, where teachers belong to unions that bargain collectively for their members.”

    This is completely irrelevant. Those states also have demographics that are much different from poor southern states. If all Ravitch is doing is refuting the claim that unions are the only source of all evil, well, no one ever made that strawman argument in the first place.

    And as she well knows, unions have tried their best to defeat educational achievements that she purports to admire in Massachusetts. See this exchange:

    It’s disappointing to see her still making such a dishonest and misleading argument.Report

  12. I noticed that this looks a lot like your old True/Slant blog. Some Googling has revealed that Forbes is. in fact, responsible for True/Slant’s fate both then and now. I really enjoyed your stuff on True/Slant, so I’m happy that American Times has found a new home.Report

  13. Stuart Buck says:

    Here’s Jay Greene nearly two years ago, explaining to Diane why she was so wrong in the claims she was making about different states’ educational outcomes and their rates of unionization: