The short answer is, No.
When “The Softer Side of ‘No Excuses'” was published at Education Next, I posted a comment* and then emailed one of the authors, Robert (Bob) Maranto, an endowed chair in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas.
My initial email stated directly that one implication in the article is blatantly untrue and essentially nasty:
Like all charter schools, KIPP schools are chosen by parents, but critics fear that disadvantaged parents do not know enough to choose wisely, or else do not have their children’s best interest at heart.
I adamantly renounce this implication, and genuinely do not know a single critic of “no excuses” policies who believes this.
While it took a few emails to push home my point, Bob and I appeared to reach some common ground—we share some background characteristics and he was polite and willing to discuss my concern.
In fact, Bob directly by email agreed I have reason to be upset, and even offered to post an apology on the article (although I specifically asked for a retraction and do not need an apology).
To date, despite a few follow-up emails promising the apology, nothing has been posted.
And thus I feel it is fair to post this “for the record” and to ask, Should we trust advocates of “no excuses”?
If they are willing to make outrageous slurs directly refuted by evidence to the contrary in order to sway readers to their claims, then, again, I say, No.
* I strongly recommend reading the comment posted by Catherine M. Ionata.
8 thoughts on “For the Record: Should We Trust Advocates of “No Excuses”?”
Thanks for recommending the last comment by Catherine Ionata. It was very telling. I remember Paul Tough was very impressed with the looking at the speaker trick. But Ionata tells a different story when she says the children don’t actually make eye contact.