posted by: robn on January 23, 2014  10:49am

AF and IDEO should be aware that some elective “disruption” has produced negative results in the past. Case in point; Branford’s Walsh Intermediate School was designed in the 1970s as an open classroom school. The desire for an open atmosphere ignored very basic issues of privacy and acoustics that have made for a very difficult learning/teaching environment.

Long and short: experiment but don’t do something that’s difficult to undo.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 23, 2014  12:18pm

What happen with the Investigation of the high rate of suspensions among Achievement First charter schools.

posted by: Walt on January 23, 2014  6:05pm

Hopefully the newer curricula will consider   some training on the negative effects of garish hairdos and excessive piercings on the chances of the student being hired after they graduate from the School

Even if they are sharp,  neat, well - trained kids, appearance can   easily kill job opportunities

posted by: CreatingUrgency on January 23, 2014  7:05pm

“In making the announcement, Toll acknowledged that the charter schools have focused too much on teaching to low-rigor standardized tests and are ready for a “disruptive” change in model.”

So, charter schools were supposed to be the innovators…laboratories of innovation…which showed public schools how to “do it right”. And now, NOW, you are saying “WE DID IT WRONG!”

You have got to be kidding!

Achievement First can con anyone out of money.

posted by: Eric B. Smith on January 23, 2014  7:38pm

@Walt. I am the father of the teenager I believe you were referring to when you mentioned “garish hairdos and excessive piercings.”  The curricula does not need any of the type of training you mentioned.  That’s a parent’s job, which I will never abdicate to a school.  Yes, she is sharp, neat, well trained (if I do say so myself) and her appearance is perfectly fine (as others have said so themselves, including the photographer apparently).  Rather than fit the cookie cutter image of America implied by your comment, people should be free to choose how they want to dress and style themselves.  She has made informed choices and her choice to not serve at places that won’t let her live authentically has not hindered her from getting good internships, volunteer opportunities, and acceptance into four colleges she has heard from so far with no rejections.  Your comment makes it clear that we have a long way to go before we can accept people (I intentionally did not use the word “judge,” since it’s not our job to judge anyone) based on the content of their character and not by the color of their hair or the number of their piercings.

posted by: Walt on January 24, 2014  3:33am

Eric Smith

Tried to be non-offensive,  by not referring to the picture, but obviously did not succeed. 

It is the job of personnel folks to judge many factors in hiring, including appropriate appearance .

Your daughter, from what little can be determine from the published picture appears neat, good-looking and intelligent,  and the fact that she was apparently chosen to represent others on this important new group certainly indicates she is thought of as way above average.

Do not wish to insult her or you,  but my point is still valid.  She will do much better on the job market if she grows out of this fad.

Up to her, and I guess you, to some extent,  but I believe the schools as well as the parents should offer guidance

posted by: ElmCityVoice on January 24, 2014  9:26am

Seriously, these AF people have NO SHAME. After years of scamming and bullying public schools for not properly teaching to the test, they decide the test no longer works. Perhaps it’s because their kids are doing no better with this miserable “teach to the test” strategy they call education than the public school. This reminds me of the children’s story,“Sneetches on the Beaches” by Dr. Seuss.

AF people don’t want to have “Teach to the Test” stars on their bellies if the rest of do. Now they’re willing to spend hedge fund money, go through the magic machine, and come out with IDEO stars on their bellies. Dick Ferguson, an AF board member wondered aloud, what it means to “take this innovative model and try it out on real kids.” Hey, those “real” kids are our kids! Why not try it out on your own kids first.

posted by: Eric B. Smith on January 24, 2014  10:14am


You’re right only in the sense that appearance matters when seeking a job.  Where you’re wrong is in the assumption that there’s only one standard for what’s appropriate.  Without knowing what a person is looking to do career-wise, one can’t begin to assess what’s appropriate.  It’s also broad, paternalistic, and condescending judgments that tend to insult and offend, despite a person’s best intentions.

I also can’t help but disagree with you regarding the role of schools in offering this kind of guidance.  I look to the school to provide subject matter education.  Its best to leave education on these types of issues up to parents for a number of reasons.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 24, 2014  10:15am

posted by: Walt on January 24, 2014 2:33am

Do not wish to insult her or you,  but my point is still valid.  She will do much better on the job market if she grows out of this fad.

There are jobs the fad industry that she could apply for.She could get a job as a Model.She can get a job as a actor.Who says she has to apply for a job in the main stream. As far as hair when it comes to Black folks we are always under attack.

posted by: robn on January 24, 2014  10:43am


This is Sir Richard Branson, Knight of the Realm, accomplished sailor, philanthropist, F1 team owner, billionaire.

posted by: mohovs on January 24, 2014  1:31pm

So the previous mayor rebuilt all the schools in New Haven over the last decade and now they are obsolete buildings???? Give me a break. If you head out of New Haven you will find that many communities have no problem with their kids learning using schools from the 70’s that are obsolete by todays standards. Please do not waste any more money building new buildings when they are not the problem.

posted by: Walt on January 26, 2014  7:36am

Hardly a fair comparison, Robn

Sir Dickie was third generation royalty
( if Sir meets that definition)  from a very wealthy family , a dialectic who could not handle school and dropped out of high school for good.

Got involved in music and drugs and eventually became an entrepreneur,  He was great at that, as you have indicated,

Apparently was never hired by anyone at any time ,He was instead,the boss and the hirer,  and could make his own decisions, not to be OKed by others.

As you   probably know,  Bronson usually looked pretty sharp, not as in your photo,  appropriate for his position in music,

He was also a gambler, and when he lost a big bet, posed for your un-typical picture in order to pay off his debt, it is said.

Not really an apt comparison,

Kind of sorry now   that I opened the subject,  but nevertheless the topic   has truth,  and I believe the system should offer some enlightenment to the kids before they face the hiring interviews

posted by: Eric B. Smith on January 26, 2014  12:16pm

Walt, no need to feel sorry for starting the conversation.  It’s worth having and it’s similar to the conversation my daughter and I had when she expressed interest in coloring her hair and getting piercings.  The issue isn’t that you raised the issue.  The issue is how you raised it, e. g. the adjectives you used.

And Robn’s comparison my not be fair, but it sure is funny!

posted by: nhstudent4ever on January 26, 2014  8:14pm

I think moving away from teaching to the test is a positive direction, but I don’t think technology is the answer. Kids today often have access to technology, and that seems to cross economic lines. I think they should focus on the “habits of success” rather than the technological issues.

Schools should foster creativity and individualism. It sounds like Jasmine will be very successful regardless of her choices of appearance. Schools should teach the importance of being neat and clean, and how a certain professional appearance may be expected in some settings. However, they should also be championing the notion that your intellect is far more powerful than your appearance!