We Know How to Turn Schools Around, writes Allen Odden in Education Week. We just don’t do it very often.
The bottom line is that the country knows how to turn around low-performing education systems, dramatically boost student learning, and close achievement gaps. And in most cases, the funds to accomplish these goals are already in the system. The problem isn’t funding, it is having the will and persistence to fix the system, drawing on knowledge that exists now.
“The first step is to create a sense of urgency” by looking at performance data, Odden writes. Step two is to set ambitious goals that go far beyond “adequate yearly progress.”
Turnaround schools must “throw out the old curriculum and adopt new textbooks, create new curriculum programs, and start to build, over time, a common understanding of effective instruction.”
Odden recommends “a battery of assessments, including formative and diagnostic assessments, common end-of-curriculum-unit assessments, and benchmark assessments.” The goal is to “enable teachers to make midcourse corrections and to get students into interventions earlier.”
He also suggests: quality professional development, extended learning time, “dense” instructional leadership and a focus on recruiting top talent.