An OUSD parent called my attention to the following Education Week blog post by Diane Ravitch, an NYU researcher and former United States Assistant Secretary of Education, about extreme measures to improve public schools in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and New York City. Ravitch talks about new school creation and the wholesale replacement of teachers and principals.
Sound familiar? She writes:
From what I know, and from what I have seen, schools are not shoe stores or hamburger joints, which can be opened and closed at the owner’s whim. They should be durable institutions with deep roots in the local community. If they are low-performing, every effort should be made to help them. And, further, I have seen many terrible new schools created in the past few years, some of them regular public schools, some of them charter schools. Contrary to the new popular wisdom, it is not easy to create a good school from scratch. There is not an army of great principals and teachers who are waiting in the wings, ready for the call to start a new school.
OUSD has taken this approach a step further, by moving to close some of these new schools, created from scratch, that have the same low test scores and high dropout rates as the ones they replaced.
Would you argue that some schools need wholesale change to give students the quality of education they deserve? Or have those changes proved to be a distraction from the underlying challenges facing public education, and created needless instability?