Education profs struggle in school

University partnerships can fizzle over time, notes the National Council on Teacher Quality. The faculty may lose interest.

University of South Florida has given up on its charter school, handing control to the district, reports Inside Higher Education.

In recent years, faculty members have virtually been absent from the operations of the school. Even student teachers couldn’t serve there, the spokesman said, because the charter’s teachers were too inexperienced to be their mentors.

. . . “What was happening is that the College of Education, which is the biggest in Florida and one of the big ones in the Southeast, their intellectual energy was really going into the school district,” as opposed to the on-campus charter, (USF Vice President Michael) Hoad explained. “In an unfortunate way, the university will do more with the school as a school district school.”

The charter was supposed to serve a low-income community where families move so often it’s known as Suitcase City. When the school faltered, dropping from a C to an F rating, the faculty threw up its hands.

University of California at San Diego sponsors the high-performing Preuss School, a charter middle and high school for low-income students, Insider Higher Ed adds. Preuss wasn’t started by education professors, explains Cecil Lytle, a music professor.

(Preuss) came out of anthropology, economics, mathematics, and other fields, Lytle explained. “The binding issue was bringing the imprimatur of the university and the standards of the university to K-12,” he said.

Seton Hall, partnered with the Newark teachers’ union, has boosted scores at a low-performing, high-poverty Newark K-8 school, reports the New York Times. Newton Street School was given charter-like powers to set its own academic policies and hire (and fire) its teachers. With union support, it replaced six of 44 teachers and extended the school day by an hour for the middle grades.

Seton Hall’s education professors took over much of the staff development, scheduling workshops on data analysis and coaching newer teachers in their classrooms. They equipped every Newton faculty member with a free I.B.M. laptop, and handed out basketballs and tickets to Seton Hall’s home games as an incentive for students and their parents. About 50 Seton Hall undergraduates came to Newton last fall to tutor students.

Scores went up significantly in 2008.

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