Thompson: District Claims Turnaround Failures Were Successes
"Nothing illustrates the elusiveness of school reform like Reid Park Academy," writes the Charlotte Observer's Ann Doss Helms in "Westside's Reid Park Elementary Shows the Challenge of Reform." Four years ago, the school "became a pioneer in a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools push to get strong faculty into weak schools. One year ago, then-Superintendent Peter Gorman added middle school students, assuring skeptical families it was a successful school. But 2012 state ratings list it as one of the worst in CMS and the state." In 2008, Helms reports, seven struggling schools piloted Gorman’s strategic staffing plan, the removal of weaker educators, recruiting star principals and high-performing teams of teachers and rewarding them with bonuses. The experiment influenced Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his School Improvement Grant (SIG) strategy. Now, "four of the seven pilot schools had pass rates of 50 percent or lower." Not, surprisingly, the district's district leadership still claims that they can become “90-90-90” schools that are "90 percent minority, poor and scoring on grade level." As Duncan's SIG experiment also continues to produce disappointing results, we can expect a continuation of a similar form of pollyanna-ish spin.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.