Monday’s meeting of the Indiana Select Commission on Education spotlighted the “school turnaround” efforts that the state Department of Education has been applying to low-performing schools.
But a recent article in Education Week raises questions about the approach that Indiana has adopted at the urging of the U.S. Department of Education. Written by Alyson Klein, the article was produced with help from the Hechinger Report and 18 news organizations, including the Indianapolis Star.
Klein writes that there have been mixed results from school turnaround since the Obama Administration “supercharged” the effort with $3 billion in School Improvement Grants targeted to schools that had failed for years to improve test scores. Some schools that have implemented turnaround approaches have seen improvement, while others have gotten worse.
“They mandated these models before they even researched them,” complains Keith Rheault, retired Nevada superintendent of public instruction. “We’re testing it out.”
As a condition for getting SIG money, the feds require schools to adopt one of four models:
// Transformation – replace the principal, implement a research-based instructional program, extend learning time, change governance structure.
// Turnaround – replace the principal, get rid of at least half the school staff, implement research-based instruction, extend learning time, changing governance structure.
// Restart – turn the school over to a charter-school operator or education management organization.
// Closure – close the school and send the students elsewhere. Continue reading