Not only is it lonely at the top, it’s stressful too. You have to watch your back and fight off challengers.
Yes, of course, we’re talking about baboons.
According to fascinating new research described in today’s New York Times, it’s not all that bad to be a beta male. In fact, it may help you live longer and perpetuate the species.
“After all,” says the Times, “when the alpha gets into another baboon bar fight, who’s going to take the girl home?”
And what does all this have to do with K12 education? Wait, I’m thinking… Yes, here it is: Who’s better equipped to survive those interminable school board budget meetings without burning out? Who’s more skillful at collaborating, finding consensus, and “speaking with one voice?” Who not only “talks the talk,” or “walks the walk,” but truly “walks the talk?” (Answer: Beta males? And females? It must be true; it’s in the New York Times.)
In other education news — actually, on a more serious note — read the Times’ Michael Winerip on Matthew, a young student with an attention problem who was allegedly “fired” from a New York City charter school because he didn’t fit in.
“Matthew’s story raises perhaps the most critical question in the debate about charter schools,” Winerip writes. “Do they cherry-pick students, if not by gaming the admissions process, then by counseling out children who might be more expensive or difficult to educate — and who could bring down their test scores, graduation rates and safety records?
Also see Joanne Jacobs on “Why Math Tutors Prosper,” Yong Zhao’s provocative call to “Ditch Testing” in light of the Atlanta cheating furor, and Charlotte Williams of the Learning First Alliance on desegregation during the Obama years.