Instead of taking over persistently failing schools, Massachusetts will give autonomy. The Boston Globe reports:
Over the next two years, Boston will try to transform English High.
Enrollment at the nation’s oldest public high school will be cut from 1,200 students to 800. The school day will be expanded by about an hour. And the stakes will rise: Struggling teachers could be transferred to another school, and truants could find a school official knocking on their door.
The state hasn’t had much success with interventions it’s imposed on failing schools, so it decided to give English High and three other schools a chance to engineer their own turnarounds. The four will be “pilot schools,” created in Boston to compete with charter schools.
Pilot schools, like charters, have more freedom than traditional public schools. They can set longer school days, choose their staffs, and determine how they spend their budgets, but are overseen by the school system.
Apparently, the pilot schools won’t get new principals or teachers. A teachers’ union leader quoted in the story is very negative about the English High plan. That doesn’t bode well, but perhaps the threat of eventual state takeover will concentrate minds on change.