Thursday, December 17, 2009

Whose needs come first in schools?

The Boston Globe's Scot Lehigh weighs in on what's really going on with this backsliding:

Now, if one believes the top priority at failing schools is to protect faculty and staff jobs, then the Senate's amendments make perfect sense. But if you think the fundamental purpose of schools is to educate students, then more dramatic change is called for when they fall short.

"We are trying to give superintendents and teachers the tools they need to return a school to effectiveness as quickly as possible,'' said Paul Reville, the state secretary of education. "In the interest of students who have been trapped in underperforming schools, everything ought to be measured against that standard.''

But if key restructuring decisions require arbitration, turnaround efforts will get bogged down or be avoided altogether. House members need to recognize that reality when they meet in caucus today to discuss the education legislation.

They should also resist those who contend that the state's quest for Race to the Top dollars really won't be hurt by a weak bill - or even by a failure to pass one at all.

"We are facing very stiff competition from other states,'' said Reville. "To beat that competition, we are going to have to show dramatic leaps forward on innovation, on intervention, and on charter schools.''



Whose needs come first in schools?

AT FIRST GLANCE, it's a relatively minor matter - but in fact, we've just seen a demonstration of the way the devil in the details could cripple efforts to reform underperforming schools.

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