Rep Chu and the NEA released a proposal to give free money to failing schools–a bad idea.  National Journal carries the debate.  My take: SIG should be more not less restrictive if you care about getting low income kids into better educational options ASAP.  Here’s why.
We’re talking about the worst schools in the country that have been on a Needs Improvement list for most of a decade. They’ve had years of flexibility, they should be closed and replaced.
I’ve been involved in 800 attempted school improvement projects–most don’t work very well.  We know how to open good new schools.  NYC is the best example; Klein closed 90 bad schools and opened 400 new schools.  Graduation rates in the new schools are significantly higher.
As Van Roekel’s headline suggested, we should do what works–close bad schools and open good ones.  Low income kids need the best possible option we can give them ASAP.  Failing schools don’t deserve tenure or flexibility.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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