Monday, March 05, 2012

How to Treat Bad Schools

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), a rock star ed reformer, with a spot-on NYT Letter to the Editor, making the obvious point that ALL public schools, not just charters, should be subject to rigorous review (and closure in the case of chronically bad performance):

How to Treat Bad Schools

Published: February 27, 2012

To the Editor:

"Shuttering Bad Charter Schools" (editorial, Feb. 21) holds up a study claiming that "only" 6.2 percent of charter schools are closed annually as evidence of the need to close additional charters. However, a far lower percentage of traditionally organized schools are closed every year despite high dropout rates, low levels of student achievement and a refusal to change in the face of repeated failure.

Rather than singling out charter schools, we should hold all schools accountable for performance and insist on transformation where there is failure. Legislation I've introduced and proposals from President Obama would demand that failing schools either replace their principals and most teachers, change to a new charter school or close schools altogether.

The measure of a school's success isn't how it is organized but whether its students achieve. We would do well to apply this measure to all schools and not just single out charters.

Washington, Feb. 21, 2012

The writer, a Democrat, represents Colorado's Second District in the House.

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