Why schools succeed

In looking at successful schools, Alaska has found common elements, reports the Anchorage Daily News:

Goals are clearly defined, and everyone understands how to reach them. And principals and teachers use test data constantly to prescribe new, more effective ways to teach children.

It takes money too, say principals, but there’s lots of evidence that money is the second step in improvement. First, the principal has to set high expectations and develop a plan. One principal took over a school so bad that many teachers had quit. He hired energetic new teachers willing to buy in to his ideas.

Alaska’s lowest-performing schools haven’t “embraced accountability,” said Les Morse, the state’s testing and data guru.

Translation: They tend to dismiss No Child Left Behind, find the federal law an unfair distraction and are plodding along with a business-as-usual mentality.

I don’t know why this isn’t the norm: Look at schools that are succeeding with high-need students, analyze the common elements, do more of what works.

Via This Week in Education.

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Comments

  1. Joanne Jacobs wrote:

    I don’t know why this isn’t the norm: Look at schools that are succeeding with high-need students, analyze the common elements, do more of what works.

    And the answer is: why should it be the norm? Does anyone keep track of how schools do? Does anyone’s career get a big boost by turning in a stellar performance? Any big, fat bonuses for breaking the state record for highest percentage of kids reading at or above grade level? No? Well then why should it be the norm?

    Up until the advent of the NCLB what was the motivating force that would impel the various actors in the public education system to do the things that are necessary if education is an important goal? It’s a serious question which seems to get either unserious answers or no answers at all.

    And I miss the “preview” button. Mistakes are magnetized as soon as the comment is posted.

  2. Ric in Oregon says:

    “Goals are clearly defined, and everyone understands how to reach them. And principals and teachers use test data constantly to prescribe new, more effective ways to teach children”

    Gee, this is how any effort succeeds. Businesses, civic groups, even families.