A Real Reform Menu for Education?

Traditionally, Rhode Islanders have been offered a choice of two options for improving their troubled educational system…

  1. Spend more money on district-level bureaucracies, with minimal change to existing school practices.
  2. Spend more money on non-educational social service programs.
According to Jennifer D. Jordan of the Projo, however, in the case of six currently underperforming Rhode Island schools, while the spend-more-money piece is still in play, state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is putting forth four new options to replace the above two…
  • “School closure and sending students to other schools“.
  • “A turnaround model which replaces the principal and retains 50 percent or fewer of existing teachers and staff.”
  • “A restart model which invites in a regional collaborative or a charter management organization to take over the school”
  • “A transformation model which replaces the principal, evaluates all teachers, revamps classes and offers ‘expanded learning time’ including longer school days or weekend classes.”
Significantly, unlike the usual RI options, these new options involve making changes directly at the individual school level. The message is that schools, as a fundamental unit of education, matter. Expect wailing and gnashing of teeth to commence soon.

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Robert Balliot
11 years ago

Commissioner Gist is certainly demonstrating dynamic, problem solving leadership.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“evaluates all teachers”
[gasp] Not that. Anything but that …
(Ditto what Robert said.)

Slapdap
Slapdap
11 years ago

Right wingers sure do like unfunded mandates and vague plans.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
11 years ago

The teachers unions still own the General Assembly (e.g., the healthcare panel legislation).
The teachers unions will get their way, because Democrats want their money and political support more than they care about children.
So Rhode Island’s education system will remain mired in mediocrity (at best) — the preferred status quo for all things Rhode Island.

Robert Balliot
11 years ago

Ragin writes: “So Rhode Island’s education system will remain mired in mediocrity (at best) — the preferred status quo for all things Rhode Island.”
If the schools were simply mediocre, this sort of attention would not be required. Mediocrity evolves into failure when no one tries. Those schools are failing.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

It’s sad how indoctrinated people are as to the necessity of government schools. Of course this is largely the product of government schools themselves, so the system is self-perpetuating.
I wonder what the drop-out rate/failure rate would have to be for people to see that privatization is a better-quality and more affordable alternative to public schools. Sometimes I think if half of the students were graduating functionally illiterate people would still be reluctant to privatize just because of the status quo. It’s 20% now and people still fight the idea, on what basis I will never understand. Private schools could not possibly do worse than our public schools are doing right now. It is not physically possible.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

Dan, right on. America did just fine for over a century before the Progressives, led by John Dewey, commandeered education and installed their German-based system.
In the slums of India there are private elementary schools. Parents pay pennies per day for their kids to be taught. You can bet that everyone involved cares enough to do their best – children, teachers and parents – all because it is a private, voluntary system.
The Statist system has been with us so long that alternatives to it are considered by the Establishment to be not merely radical, but insane. That’s why it is so critically important and urgent to dismantle that system now.

mikeinri
11 years ago

The only way these schools can be saved is by returning the decision-making power to the stock-holders, that is, the members of the school community. On this point, Gist is right on. Unfortunately she is also increasing the power of the bureaucrats by adding state mandates and increasing RIDE control. Does she want to empower the schools, like charters, or not?

Donny Lenters
Donny Lenters
9 years ago

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9 years ago

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