I have met so many people and made a lot of new friends, including my roommate. These people weren't just people I sat next to in class, they come from so many different backgrounds, but we all shared the same ambitions.
The Obama administration hopes to extend this thread even further, making school turnarounds a top priority. But overall, school turnaround efforts have consistently fallen far short of hopes and expectations. Fortunately, findings from two generations of school improvement efforts, lessons from similar work in other industries, and a budding practice among reform-minded superintendents are pointing to a promising alternative.
Done right, not only will this strategy help the students assigned to these failing schools, it will also have a cascading effect on other policies and practices, ultimately helping to bring about healthy systems of urban public schools.
Just one-quarter of the schools were even able to accomplish a lesser goal: In52 Ohio schools were forced to restructure because of persistent failure. Even after several years of significant attention, fewer than one in three had been able to reach established academic goals, and less than half showed any student performance gains.
Of the schools required to restructure in —05, only 19 percent were able to exit improvement status two years later. And we must consider carefully whether merely making AYP should constitute success at all: Though the CEP study found that improvement rates in Michigan and Georgia were considerably higher, Michigan changed its accountability system during this period, and both states set their AYP bars especially low.
Though alarming, the poor record for school turnarounds in recent years should come as no surprise.
Promising practices have failed to work at scale when imported to troubled schools. A review published in January by the Thomas B. Some of them also adopted the same curriculum programs, had teachers with similar backgrounds, and had similar opportunities for professional development.
However, this case-study style of analysis is deeply flawed. The prevailing view is that we must keep looking for turnaround solutions. But, in fact, the number and scope of fix-it efforts have been extensive to say the least. Long before NCLB required interventions in the lowest-performing schools, states had undertaken significant activity.
Between and states required the reconstitution of failing schools in Denver, Chicago, New York City, and Houston. In Alabama took over a number of schools across the state, and Maryland seized control of three schools in Baltimore.
Since NCLB, interventions in struggling schools have only grown in number and intensity. Importantly, more than replaced staff members or the principal, among the toughest traditional interventions possible. Occasionally a program will report encouraging success rates.
The University of Virginia School Turnaround Specialist Program asserts that about half of its targeted schools have either made AYP or reduced math and reading failure rates by at least 5 percent.
Though this might be better than would otherwise be expected, the threshold for success is remarkably low.Metropolitan State Denver is a public university located in Denver, Colorado.
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