Saturday, September 28, 2013

SUPES Academy: Making Dupes of Us All

Is SUPES short for super-duper?

If the vision and mission statement of SUPES Academy, a Wilmette-based puppy superintendent mill CPS gave $20 million dollars to, is any indicator of educational know-how, it's time to worry:
" identify, develop and support a new generation of outstanding leaders for America's school systems who will provide our children with the skills they need to live as successful adults, in a world of competition.
SUPES Academy graduates will be highly sought after for their capacity to transform the culture of systems and school, to dramatically improve student achievement, and to close the achievement gaps."
After navigating the corporate jibber-jabber, the empty promises are evident. One is led to believe these super-humans, after just five convenient weekend sessions, will be able to: transform the culture of systems (whatever that might mean); impart adult-level, global competition skills to children; and close student achievement gaps. Wow! Solving society's ills only takes 10 days!

A quick look at the bios of this year's self-appointed "master teachers," and it's more mind numbing nonsense:
  • "...Matthews served as the educator in residence for NewSchools Venture Fund a venture philanthropy firm working to transform public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs."
  • "...Wise continues as Managing Director for Atlantic Research Partners, LLC, a firm dedicated to supporting high potential leaders in important organizations. 

Transform, powerful ideas, passionate entrepreneurs, high potential leaders, important organizations. Each of these terms are as vague as the next and do nothing to actually show how this organization can manufacture superintendents who can alter the entrenched and systemic problems an urban school system faces. Even Captain Underpants, whose motto is, "truth, justice, and all that is pre-shrunk and cottony" has a more attainable goal than SUPES and its master teachers.

The speed with which the Board approved this with virtually no discussion is impressive. After the $20 million dollars is spent, and with no real accounting of identifiable results, we'll all be graduates of the DUPES Academy instead.

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