ERIC Number: EJ868023
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec-2
Reference Count: 0
Stimulus Rules on "Turnarounds" Shift: Stimulus Guidelines Changed for Turning around Schools
Maxwell, Lesli A.
Education Week, v29 n13 p1, 19 Dec 2009
The final rules for the $4 billion Race to the Top competition give states and districts more leeway in how they intervene in chronically underperforming schools, a subtle but important change that raises new questions about whether the push to turn around struggling campuses will succeed in rehabilitating large numbers of them. Under the guidelines issued last month by the U.S. Department of Education, states and districts using the federal grant money could opt, as a first resort, to use a turnaround approach that many educators favor: providing professional development and coaching for a school's current staff members and making changes to curriculum and instruction. Originally, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had sought to make that "transformation" model a last resort for school turnarounds if three other, more aggressive methods--replacing the principal and at least half its teachers--reopening the school under a charter operator or other outside manager--or shutting the school down--were not feasible. He had also called for charter school operators to take the lead in turnaround work, a role that the new rules play down. Although the principal of a targeted school would still have to be replaced, the department's revised rules on turnaround strategies are a welcome shift, some observers say, from what they think has been an excessive focus on eliminating or radically changing the teaching corps and leadership teams inside troubled schools. To others, though, the shift portends more of the same type of overhaul efforts seen at schools identified as failing under the federal No Child Left Behind Act--a tack that critics say has produced few success stories.
Descriptors: Federal Aid, State Government, Educational Change, Systems Approach, Competition, School Districts, Change Strategies, Low Achievement, Educational Environment, Intervention, School Culture, Charter Schools, Guidelines, School Personnel, Teaching Methods
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A