Mike Winerip's must read regular Monday ed column - this one was another full of food for thought - (Lesson Plan in Boston Schools: Don’t Go It Alone) touched on what looks like a good thing - on the surface. Even my wife who barely notices ed stuff commented that it seems like a good idea to bring in teams of experienced teachers in schools being redesigned. So let's do a little parsing:
Earlier this year Massachusetts enacted a law that allowed districts to remove at least half the teachers and the principal at their lowest-performing schools. The school turnaround legislation aligned the state with the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program incentives and a chance to collect a piece of the $3.4 billion in federal grant money.Yes, the evils of Race to the Bowels of Hell. One of the themes of the article is that many experienced teachers don't want to go to these turnarounds.
From Washington this makes abundant good sense, a way to galvanize rapid and substantial change in schools for children who need it most. In practice, on the ground, it is messy for the people most necessary for turning a school around — the teachers — and not always fair. Often the decisions about which teachers will stay and which will go are made by new principals who may be very good, but don’t know the old staff.
Asked about applying to one of the city’s 12 turnaround schools, Lisa Goncalves, a first-grade teacher with seven years’ experience, said, “I’d be hesitant to go alone.”
Said Celine Coggins, the chief executive of Teach Plus, which developed the idea and is financed by the Gates Foundation: “I think teachers want to know they’re not going into a school alone as a hero.”Bong! Bong!! Warning bells going off - THE GATES FOUNDATION. We know things like reducing class size can't be part of this solution.
So here is their supposed solution to the problem turn arounds that dump out the old and end up with scads of newbies.
And that is the simple idea behind a new program that is being used to staff three of the turnaround schools in Boston: you don’t go alone. Rather than have the principal fill the slots one by one, the Boston schools have enlisted the help of a nonprofit organization, Teach Plus, to assemble teams of experienced teachers who will make up a quarter of the staff of each turnaround school come fall. The teams will spend two weeks working together this summer. While teaching a full load, they will serve as team leaders for their grades and specialty areas like English immersion. They will work 210 days versus the normal 185 and get paid $6,000 extra a year. On average they have eight years’ experience.I love this line:
“It’s like jump-starting a culture at these schools,” said Carol R. Johnson, Boston superintendent of schools.Right Ms. Johnston. Follow the Gates and ed deform mantra: "it's about changing the culture of the school, not inadequate resources" and you will end up where all the other Gates initiatives are ending up.
Well, here is what I told my wife. It won't work."What would you do," she asked?
"I'd bring in the team but leave the old staff in place. See what happens if you increase the resources of the school by say 20%. Why not? Billions are being tossed down the toilet. Let Gates fund that. But he won't. Because success would prove the ed deform plan to be as false as George Washington's teeth.