Friday, November 16, 2007

The great experiment

In marked contrast, here's a much more thoughtful article from the latest Economist:

When Mr Klein took the job in 2002, having led the Clinton administration's efforts to break up Microsoft, The Economist joked that he should try to do the same thing to New York's schools monopoly. He more or less has. Under the new scheme, every school run by the city will receive a public report card, with a grade that reflects both academic performance and surveys of students, parents and teachers. The first grades were given out this week.
Schools that do well will get a boost to their budget; the principal may get a bonus of up to $25,000 on top of a base salary of  $115,000-$145,000. Schools graded D or F (about 12% of them this year) will have to submit  improvement plans that will be implemented with support from Mr Klein's  department. Principals whose schools are still faltering after two years will be fired. Schools still failing after four years will be closed. Though each element of what is happening in New York has been tried elsewhere, this seems to be the most far-reaching urban school accountability initiative in America.  Mr Klein claims that no school system on earth has innovated on the scale of New York.

New York's schools

The great experiment
Nov 8th 2007 |
From The Economist print edition

Bringing accountability and competition to New York City's struggling schools

THE 220 children are called scholars, not students, at the Excellence charter school in Brooklyn's impoverished Bedford-Stuyvesant district. To promote the highest expectations, the scholars — who are all boys, mostly black and more than half of whom get free or subsidised school lunches — are encouraged to think beyond school, to university. Outside each classroom is a plaque, with the name of a teacher's alma mater, and then the year (2024 in the case of the kindergarten), in which the boys will graduate from college.

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