In school reform, 'collaboration' has an iffy pedigree
By Thomas E. Potter
Regarding the Oct. 14 editorial “School reform’s second act”:
Despite consistently high spending and many efforts at improvement, D.C. public schools’ performance has been universally recognized as intolerable for more than four decades. During this period, political candidates and school officials advocated for and promised change. The resulting efforts were all highly collaborative. All stakeholders were well represented. Meetings were frequent and long. Superintendents of various stripes came in expressing high hopes and soon left, defeated. School board members came and went — some on to higher political office.
The single notable consistent result of each of these efforts was failure. The years of failure eventually accumulated to decades of de facto tolerance of intolerable performance.
Now, following Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s takeover of the schools and Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee’s turbulent tenure, comes presumptive mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray, offering continuation of the change that Ms. Rhee sought and, to some extent, effected.
But he promises to bring about change through a collaborative approach. This raises obvious questions: Why didn’t past collaborative efforts yield improvement? What does Mr. Gray plan to do differently to succeed where others have so consistently and so miserably failed?
| October 15, 2010; 7:44 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, schools
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