does your school need a fresh start?

One summer I had a job as a nanny with a wonderful woman who taught me a lot about a lot.  Her son was two at the time, and going through quite the tantrum phase.  Early in my time with her, he started pitching a fit about not getting what he wanted.  He began screaming so loudly that I started to move towards him.  His mom stopped me though, and over his screaming she said, “No.  If you give him what he wants, he’ll never learn to change his behavior.”

If you’re as interested as I am in the role the Federal government has been playing in public education lately, then you’ll find this release fascinating.  You can open it as a word or pdf document, in Spanish or English.  Go ahead, take a few minutes to read through the publication being distributed to parents across the country.

“Low performing schools.”  Let that sink in.  What’s the subject of that sentence?  That’s right, “schools”.  Schools are the ones doing the “low performing.”  Not the students.  Not the community.  Not the parents.  Just the schools, and the teachers who represent them.

Thank goodness Arne Duncan and the Department of Education are here to throw $6 million at the lowest performing schools in America. And it’s all outlined in this wonderful pamphlet entitled “Does Your School Need a Fresh Start”?  At first, I felt as if I were about to watch a 30-minute infomercial detailing the latest car care system.  It is a good publication though – short, concise, easy to read.  It almost had me agreeing with everything in it.  Until I realized what it was proposing.

What does it take to turn a school around?  “Stronger school leaders”, better “professional learning culture”, “more learning time”, and more “student supports”.  Only once did it mention parental engagement.

How will this turnaround take place?  In a very organized fashion.  There are four options – one involves getting rid of the principal, one entails cleaning house altogether, and the other two involve closing the school completely.

It left me to wonder – if we just give the parents what they want, who is going to teach them to change their behavior?

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