Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Quick Fix for America's Worst Schools

A powerful article in Time about what the Obama administration is doing to REALLY address "America's Worst Schools":

We've known for a long time that there are too many bad schools in the U.S., dropout factories that shove barely literate children through the system. Because of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) — the George W. Bush — era education law that forces every school to report whether it makes "adequate yearly progress" toward nationwide math- and reading-proficiency standards — we can now point to exactly which schools are the lowest performing and the least improving. With that information in hand, the question becomes, Well, what do we do about it? (See TIME's special report on paying for college.)

The Obama Administration has a plan: take the 5,000 worst schools in the U.S. and give them more than $4 billion over three years to get a lot better — fast. It's the emphasis on speed that makes this endeavor something new. The government has thrown big money at education for decades, with very little to show for it. Even under NCLB, most of the failing schools that were forced to make changes did the bare minimum required by federal mandates.

The White House's new approach amounts to Extreme Makeover: School Edition. Fire the teachers and principals, turn schools into charters, lengthen the day and year, or shut the schools down completely and send the kids elsewhere. These so-called turnaround strategies — which aim to increase test scores, decrease dropout rates and improve classroom culture in short order — are perhaps the most ambitious part of President Obama's education-reform agenda. But it's a high-risk intervention.


Monday, Feb. 22, 2010

A Quick Fix for America's Worst Schools

By Gilbert Cruz / Philadelphia

Time Magazine,8816,1963754,00.html

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