Last evening, January 2nd, my favorite journalist/talk show host once again demonstrated how his IQ can drop in half when the subject being discussed is education. Rich guy, and probably well-meaning, philanthropist Geoffrey Canada saluted the Bloomberg/Klein cabal, touted merit pay, bashed teacher unions, demanded a longer school day, pretended that the multi-billion dollar disaster of American standardized tests compared our kids to foreign students, supported KIPP Academy and even went so far as to cite the Houston public schools under Rod Paige’s leadership despite the documented evidence that the “Houston Miracle” that spawned NCLB was a complete fraud for which only the whistleblower was punished. Mr. Canada also took umbrage with the phony baloney issue of “social promotion” and wishes NCLB were fully-funded.

Canada kept repeating that the reason poor kids are in failing schools is because of politics, Yet, all of his political theories are faith-based free-market schemes with no record of success anywhere and not a single example of actual classroom practice – in other words HIS pitch is 100% political.

I LOVE Charlie Rose. I rarely miss a program. I used to watch his 2-6 AM show, CBS Nightwatch, in the 1980s. There is no better interviewer on science, the arts, culture or politics than Mr. Rose. However, on the rare occasion he covers education, his guests are always conservative drill and kill proponents. The conservatives want vouchers, more testing and longer school days. The liberals want merit pay, more testing and longer school days.

The only guests I’ve seen on Charlie Rose in recent years have been Chancellor Klein the founder of Teach-for-America and Geoffrey Canada. For some reason the ordinarily remarkable journalist, Rose, completely suspends his disbelief and allows his platform to be used to promote dopey educational theories that are ruining the lives of children.

Perhaps Mr. Rose does not know that other voices exist in public education or that there are successful urban schools where the students are treated as his Upper East Side friends expect their children to be educated.

I offer a partial list of guests who can share their expertise and present a different vision of education for future television programs:

Dennis Littky & Elliot Washor
Jonathan Kozol
Deborah Meier
Herbert Kohl
Theodore Sizer
Alfie Kohn
Susan Ohanian
Etta Kralovek
Roger Schank
Ron Canuel
Stephen Krashen
Constance Kamii
Gerald Coles
Gerald Bracey
Ken Goodman
John Taylor Gatto
Robert Coles
Diane Ravitch
Ted Hamory & Stephanie Lee
George Wood
Lella Gandini
Pedro Noguera
Chris Lehman
me

Related article Bill Gates and Eli Broad Go Gangsta

My new article suggesting a novel New Year’s resolution guaranteed to resolve 99.7% of all school conflicts, Beyoncé Feels Your Pain, is available here.


The publication of his outstanding new book, Painting Chinese: A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth, provided me with a rare opportunity to spend time with legendary educator and author Herb Kohl. Kohl has published more than 40 books about education since the 1960s and has made enormous contributions to progressive education and social justice.

My interview with Kohl is finally in-print in a District Administration Magazine cover story, Landscape of a Lifetime: Herb Kohl Reflects on Education Today. While the hard copy looks gorgeous, you can also read the article online here.

I am most grateful to Herb Kohl for decades worth of inspiration and for the generosity and patience he contributed to this editorial project.