Can’t Think of A Blog Post

November 18, 2009

I apologize for my lack of a post yesterday and this lame post today.  I just can’t seem to think of a good post.

Yesterday Greg suggested that I blog about this excellent editorial in the Wall Street Journal denouncing the Ford Foundation for giving $100 million to the teachers union to spur education reform and claiming that this money would “shake up the conversations surrounding school reform and help spur some truly imaginative thinking and partnerships.”  The Ford Foundation might as well give $100 million to the city of Las Vegas to address gambling addiction. 

But the Wall Street Journal already did a great job, so it didn’t seem worth my blogging about since I really wouldn’t have anything to add.

I also thought about blogging about how the Race to the Top criteria issued this week hardly demand meaningful reform from states.  But I’ve already written several times on how little we should expect from Race to the Top, such as here.  The bigger surprise is that anyone is surprised.  Besides, Jeanne Allen did a fine job critiquing the Race to the Top criteria here.  And on top of all that, I’ve probably been beating up on Obama and Duncan about education reform too much.  The reality is that at least they are saying a lot of the right things, which has had a big effect on education reform battles at the state and local level.  It’s a big deal that a Democratic Administration has (at least rhetorically) thrown its weight fully behind expanding choice and competition (if only via charters), merit pay, weakening teacher tenure, etc…

I also thought about blogging about a bunch of local issues.  A state school board member was featured in an article in the Northwest Arkansas Times explaining why she opposed every newly proposed charter school in Arkansas this year.  She helpfully explained that she had visited a predominantly Hispanic school in Springdale, AR that was making AYP with its ESL students and “that helped convince her Springdale’s services were sufficient for their students.”  There’s no need to let those families decide if the quality of their education is sufficient.

But some of my friends who write the excellent blog, Mid-Riffs, were already working on something to address this.  I saw no need to duplicate.

In short, I’m sorry, folks.  Maybe I’ll think of something fresh soon.  Or maybe I can just keep writing about all the things that I was going to write about but didn’t.  Or did I?

Ford Foundation Upgraded from “Destructive” to “Useless”

December 22, 2008


The Disturbinator 4000XL, a state-of-the-art disburbance generator.

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

A while back, in his well-read takedown of the “free market” think tanks endorsing the original bailout that got us into the present mess, Jay mentioned that the donors to those think tanks probably didn’t intend for their money to be used to endorse a radical expansion of government intrusion into the economy.

I thought of that post when I opened an e-mail this morning from the Ford Foundation. The e-mail was sent to people (like myself) who work for grantmaking foundations.

To help us “think and talk about” good grantmaking, Ford is distributing a deck of “role cards” representing the roles grantmaking staff play, such as “advocate,” “talent scout,” and “disturbance generator.”

It makes you wonder what life at the Ford Foundation is like. They spend all day inventing decks of cards, apparently. 

Not only that, but being insulated from the discipline of the market, it looks like Ford isn’t up with the latest technology. As soon as I arrived at my new workplace in August, I had a state-of-the-art disturbance generator installed in the basement. But at Ford they’re still generating disturbance by hand.

I’m sure this is exactly what Henry Ford had in mind for his money when he gave it to a charitable foundation. On the other hand, given what Ford does with most of its time and money, I suppose we should be glad for every cent and every working hour that gets diverted into activities that are merely useless rather than actively destructive.