Wednesday, October 07, 2009

"Turning Around" is Not Sufficient

Larry Cuban:

The first dirty secret is that even in those few schools that end up as success stories: Turned around schools often do not stay turned around. There are, indeed, magical moments when people, resources, outside expertise, and community coalesce neatly to handcraft a successful school; yet these schools, be they charters or neighborhood schools, seldom stay together for more than a few years and, either slowly or swiftly, disintegrate and resume their prior dismal state. Stability in academic performance–five or more years–in schools defined as “effective,” “successful,” or whatever label is attached to them are simply hard to sustain. Successful schools, however defined, are fragile inventions that easily fall apart when school leaders transfer, key teachers depart or no longer collaborate, community activists lose interest or a dozen other changes occur including shifting the measures of achievement.

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