We learned pretty quickly, however, that mandating Saxon was a mistake. Not because it wasn’t a good program, but rather because, by focusing our energies on convincing teachers and principals to use a particular curriculum, we were, on some level, taking ownership over student achievement results from teachers and principals and shouldering it ourselves. After all, if teachers were merely implementing required programs—programs they didn’t feel they had the authority to deviate from—then how could they be held accountable if student achievement results didn’t naturally follow?
Indeed. Whose accountable for an across the board drop in PPSD high school scores following the introduction of a new curriculum?
Of course, Porter-Magee veers too far in the other direction:
In short, it soon became clear that if you bring together a group of smart, dedicated teachers and principals who are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure kids can learn, they are going to succeed.
Where do they find these idiots?
The problem is that you need, just for starters, good teachers, and a good, coherent curriculum that fits the community. There are lots of good curricula from many angles and approaches, but all are not equally good.