Politicians Are Poody Heads

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A Teacher Tells All About Life in a Joyless No-Excuses Charter School

on August 12, 2016

Diane Ravitch's blog

Julia Fisher taught English at the Achievement First Amistad High School in New Haven, Connecticut. She is now earning a Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. In this article, which appeared in the Washington Post, she describes life in a “no excuses” charter school.

She begins:

When I taught at a charter school, I once gave out 37 demerits in a 50-minute period. This was the sort of achievement that earned a new teacher praise in faculty-wide emails at Achievement First Amistad High School, in New Haven, Conn.

Amistad is a No Excuses school, in the mold of high-profile charter networks such as KIPP and Success Academy. The programs are founded on the notion that there can be “no excuses” for the achievement gap between poor minorities and their more affluent, white counterparts. To bridge that gap, they set high expectations and strict behavioral codes. School days are long. Not…

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