Duncan laid out his vision for Chicago-style accountability at Brookings yesterday. USA Today:

The goal is to turn around 5,000 failing schools in the next five years, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday, by beefing up funding for the federal school turnaround program created by the No Child Left Behind law.

Obama doesn’t have authority to close and reopen schools himself. That power rests with local school districts and states. But he has an incentive in the economic stimulus law, which requires states to help failing schools improve.

Duncan said that might mean firing an entire staff and bringing in a new one, replacing a principal or turning a school over to a charter school operator. The point, he said, is to take bold action in persistently low-achieving schools.

As Pastorek has found in Louisiana, we’re short of scaled improvement and replacement capacity.  We’re likely to make some progress on that front as a result of the $4.3B Race to the Top fund.  

Strong accountability is a tough stance for a D.  We’re seeing courageous rhetoric from Obama/Duncan.  Will states follow?

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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