One sentence says it all….
Children are the human shields here. What is only important to the DOE is that the law from on high, is enforced. That law is buried in the No Child Left Behind Bill, put and passed by Republicans a long, long time ago,states that if a school did not meet targets, it should be closed and replaced with one that will. (It then details how to do that.)
At first glance to most, and I would once include myself in that category (and so was Diane Ravitch btw), is that it makes sense in a general sort of way… Why would anyone continue to put their child in a failing school? One where teachers did not care, one where students did not care, one where principals did not care, one where parents even did not care?
At one time that made sense to me. But when one looks at schools today, one does not see that type of behavior at all, at least in public schools. One sees outstanding teachers spending inordinate amounts of time, far more than any corporate employee ever had to muster, to teach. One see students alert, well disciplined, bright, excited to be in school, energetic and very responsive in class. One sees principals engaged, arriving at 5 am, motivating students, and teachers as they start arriving in the am, and leaving often after 8 pm to get things squared for the next day, week, and month. One sees parents walking their children to school, following their homework on line, talking to teachers, asking questions. getting answers…
Test scores. Everything is based on test scores and now, all research over the past two years points to data that show all test scores mimic the poverty income curve… Low income per household = low test scores. High income per household = high test scores, and the curves follow each other exactly. Both rise and fall at the same income levels.
So in reality, one has in the inner city, where one is teaching children of very low incomes, an awesome school that shows up as failing; and in the suburbs, where all the kids can afford to buy exotic drugs, one has mediocre schools of very high income students, which can brag on their test scores…
Testing is not a proper measurement of educational quality. It only measures how well prepared children are from their home, for any given test.
But what is profoundly interesting, is a complete disdain of democracy being expressed by the DOE and to some extent the Governor. The Christina District had after meetings with teachers, principals, parents, students, formed a plan that all could get behind to make test scores higher in that school. So in a nutshell, this is what the people paying for their schools, want… This is the local control element.
The “outside control” element wants new leaders to shake things up… Don’t know if any of you have been where leaders shake things up, but it rarely works. Things break down and go backwards very quickly. Only when the leaders settle down into the status quo, let the staff run things again, do good things begin to happen. However that is one of the things the DOE wants. Fire the principals, Put our people in there instead.
“At the highest level, the plans propose continuing the work that is already underway at the schools, which we know has not been effective,” Alison May wrote. “The plans propose supplementing the current work in minor ways, which we do not believe will be transformative for students.”
What the DOE wants are leaders who have authority to spend money, hire people, and do what they want with no oversight from anyone.
Local leaders think that giving people money and unaccounted leadership ability, leads to what happened at a charter schools, a place where if you ever delegate to people money and leadership ability… in return, you get Graft. Corruption. Cheating. Fornication. Fellatio. Cunnilingus, all now being documented page by page at a Charter School audit in Delaware that goes by the initials FFA… “We don’t want this white trash running our public schools” school boards now say without saying.
Notice the point May’s stated: “the work underway has not been effective”… The University of Delaware did a study and stated that two of the schools were doing an exemplary job at teaching their students. They actually did visits to the school. Yet from test scores, these schools were allegedly in the bottom 5%. However, another rating service, Niche, using different criteria, put the priority schools as the 98th, 97th, 75th, 68%, and 67% worst schools in the state. The last three are far from the 5%. Meaning in from another set of eyes, the wrong schools are being prioritized.
So it appears something has been effective at changing these schools. but under the test scores being held by the DOE. that effectiveness is not being shown.
Bottom line, It’s your money. Who do you think should be in control of your districts schools? Local control? OR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!!!
Anyways, Christina decided to punt, and allow its superintendent to negotiate and if anything gets agreed, the board will vote at that time….