Wednesday, April 06, 2011

State Takeover

The state of Connecticut has clearly demonstrated its ability to manage big time projects. We now run a 3.2 billion dolar deficit, but the State Department of Education will now control Windham Public Schools, according to the Hartford Courant. I'm not sure what this really means, other than the addition of a "special master" to oversee operations. Special is right. I'm willing to give the state the benefit of the doubt, and as an earlier Courant article reported, the district has issues to rectify. But my guess is that the state will come in and do a lot of data meetings which will confirm what we already know--students aren't learning what they need to learn. As I have detailed already, the initial focus of any change needs to be on the school's culture. The second focus needs to be on curriculum. The second piece requires money--something the state doesn't have. My guess is that the state will blame the teachers. It's the popular, and simple-minded thing to do. There will be no focus on informing and influencing parents. No focus on improving school culture. The state will provide professional development that is useless instead of proessional development that is useful. Sorry. There I go with my cynicism. I want to believe. I want the students of Windham Public Schools to perform. I enjoy the underdog status, and can only imagine what it would be like for a a group of poor, minority students to start overcoming their circumstances and move on to college success. Time will tell. But in the time that has been lost, so have too many students.


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