As Mike just wrote, Secretary Duncan was at the National Charter Schools Conference today, and he spoke about turnarounds. While I continue to be thankful that he is focusing on America's worst schools, I'm disappointed by his direction--especially in one critically important area.
During his speech, he finally gave some more specificity about what he has in mind when he says "turnarounds." ????He gave four options.
The first is keeping the students in the school and hiring a new staff. Unfortunately, this has the effect of recycling low-performing teachers back into the system, and it's extraordinarily difficult to build a strong culture in a school where all of the students remain, especially if it is a middle or high school.
The second is turning the keys over to a charter operator, but again keeping the kids. He often points to Green Dot and Mastery as CMOs that do this work. But I just looked up Mastery's test scores, and though I respect what they are trying to do, they've only taken over three schools in Philadelphia and one of them didn't make AYP last year and another only made it thanks to confidence intervals.