Friday, July 29, 2011

Most of All, We Need to Open New Schools With Better School Models

"You can't fire your way into a successful school system", former Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker rightly said; as I've been arguing this week, you need to have better teachers available to replace those you're moving out, and better principals as well. But most of all, as bad schools are closed (preferable to turnaround efforts, like that of Locke High School, where I used to work), you need to have promising new schools waiting in the wings to open.

My trustees and I are planning to open One World Secondary School, a model that has evolved from ideas I first began formulating 20 years ago. We are trying to attract money, political support, and parental support to what we believe is a solution to the twin dropout crises--the much heralded dropout crisis in our high schools, and the less well-known, less addressed dropout crisis in our colleges.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, at this week's Iowa Education Summit, said that charter schools "are not needed in every district in New Jersey and wouldn't add much to the education offered there." But although Governor Christie has been a real leader on some important education issues, he's wrong this time, and wrong to back down in the face of the suburban status quo.

I will be arguing in the coming weeks why I believe One World Secondary School represents the model most deserving of support today, while also addressing more topical, current education issues, such as the SOS march planned for this weekend in Washington; but to begin, I'd like to draw attention to the excellent article in last December's issue of The Atlantic, "Your Child Left Behind", in order to build some of the urgency needed to reform schools in every neighborhood in the United States.

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