Memphis jazz, Boston blues

Incoming Boston school chief Carol Johnson boasts an impressive track record. But will she be able to translate her Memphis victories into a Beantown success story? Not if the local teachers union has anything to say about it. The Boston Globe features a savvy story about Johnson's efforts to clean up chronically failing Memphis schools by tossing out poorly-performing principals and classroom teachers. About bringing such tactics to the Bay State, Boston Teachers Union President Richard Stutman told the Globe, "That can't be on the table. It doesn't do anything but engender fear and hostility." Well, it also seems to engender academic success. Johnson's approach helped test scores rise in Memphis, notably the scores of minority students. Boston teachers and their leaders would do well to give themselves an education--about what works in schools and about whom schools exist to serve (i.e., students, not teachers). Then, they should get out of Johnson's way.

"New superintendent faces far different hurdles in Boston," by Tracy Jan and Maria Sacchetti, Boston Globe, June 24, 2007

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