Saturday, January 16, 2010

Some Assurances Seem More Assured than Others

Through Race to the Top, we are asking States to advance reforms around four specific areas:

  • Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
  • Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
  • Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
  • Turning around our lowest-achieving schools. (emphasis added)

East Side Monthly:

One of the real coups for proponents of (re-opening Nathan Bishop Middle School) was the recruitment of Lazzareschi. A product of the Providence public schools himself, Lazzareschi started his administrative career as the assistant principal at Carl Lauro Elementary School on Kenyon Street before becoming a principal in Cranston. For the last five years, he had been the popular principal at the Martin Luther King School here on the East Side. His career received an additional boost last year when he was selected as Rhode Island’s Elementary School Principal of the Year, which earned him a trip to Washington to receive his award.

In theory, this is the kind of thing that Race to the Top is supposed to stop -- sending your best principal into new $35 million dollar neighborhood school in the middle of the most (i.e., only) affluent part of the city. I'm not going to hold my breath.

On the other hand, if they spent $35 million dollars on this school to please the most affluent and influential constituency in the city, and are only hoping for $100 million from RttT, which will just help poor folks, who might not be citizens or vote and don't make campaign contributions, that kind of puts things in perspective, too. As a politician, you need that money, but it is not enough money to upend the power relationships in your city.

There are some other nice quotes in the East Side Monthly article alluding to the need to get the "right" kind of kids in the school:

More pragmatically, the challenge is to ensure the school is able to recruit a new sixth grade next year that is as excited about being here as the current class seems to be. Administration and parents are aware of what has to be done. The school has begun to hold open houses for prospective parents and interested neighbors to showcase just how far the new Bishop has come. Then in the spring, the plan is to invite in fifth graders to see what all the buzz is about. The School’s goal is to have around 700 students when all three middle school classes are filled.

Don't worry, those seats will be filled... the only question is by whom.

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