If everything has gone according to plan, a friend and I have hurtled through the air across an ocean, dining, sleeping, and waking to eggs Florentine — all this and first-run movies on a 500-ton double-decker — and are now, as we speak, checking out the Colosseum, where two seconds ago in the scheme of things 65,000 Romans would have been cheering on their favorite gladiator or bestiarius and wondering how a f——g moron like Nero ever got to be emperor. Overhead, a Roman eagle soars. What if I could soar like that, some season ticketholders surely day-dreamed. And now we can. (We can also speak into our iPhones in English and have it come out seconds later in Italian. Free. È incredibile come? (How incredible is that?) Ronzoni, sono buoni, as my father once wrote (heretofore, my only Italian). He also wrote, “Man, oh Manischewitz, what a wine,” later the exclamation of choice on the surface of the moon, but I digress. (Though I imagine the ancient Romans also fantasized about being able to walk on the moon.)
Who knows what’s happened over the weekend?
So if this week’s posts seem even less relevant than usual, it’s because I couldn’t figure out the power adapter in my room or am just having too much fun. But here are a couple of items from last week:
Stanford’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes released a study last week that shows (page 46) New York’s Success Academy students gaining 137 extra days in reading achievement and 239 extra days in math compared to their district peers. That’s a lot of days in a 180-day school year. It suggests that the 15,500 scholars in the 46 Success Academy schools got roughly double the learning per day of attendance compared to their peers.
As always: The success of Success is a thrilling story that points the way toward breaking the cycle of poverty, crime and despair. Great for those 15,500 kids — and their kids and kids’ kids, but also for society as a whole. Imagine the social, civic, and fiscal/economic impact.
Some charter schools suck. Many are mediocre. But when you find a public-school formula that works so spectacularly well? And has been proven in not just one or two schools for just one or two years, but now 46, some of them for a decade? Spread the word.
Last week I got to shake hands with Norman Lear on the occasion of his 95th birthday. Even THIS I got to experience. Talk about American heroes!