It’s possible to do school turnarounds without trauma, editorializes the New York Times. Two years ago, Charlotte-Mecklenburg decided “to put the best principals in the most troubled schools — and give them the autonomy they need to succeed.”
Under the Strategic Staffing Initiative, principals who have improved student performance at their current school are given bonuses and allowed to recruit new leadership teams in exchange for moving to chronically low-performing schools.
Once at the new schools, the principals are permitted to remove as many as five teachers if they consider them to be hostile to reform. These turnaround schools are also given high priority when their new leadership teams request technology, staffing or new programs.
Test scores rose significantly by the end of the first year at the seven pilot schools; discipline problems decreased. (Here’s a link to an Aspen Institute study.) The program has been expanded to 20 schools.
It wasn’t necessary to fire entire staffs, the Times notes. But principals did have the power to get rid of teachers they didn’t want and hire new ones.
NPR asks: Is tenure necessary?