kitchen table math, the sequel: starting at the top

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

starting at the top

This in from Niki Hayes:

Waterbury has teachers, parent run the schools

WATERBURY, Conn.—Two Waterbury schools are including teachers and parents in management decisions under an experiment aimed at turning around the struggling schools.

City education officials are ceding management of Washington Elementary School and West Side Middle School to teachers and parents. The program involves experts from the University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education.

Under the program, budget, hiring, scheduling and other major decisions will be made by a collaboration of educators in the school, neighborhood leaders and parents.

The UConn program is called CommPACT, which stands for community, parents, administrators, children and teachers.

The two Waterbury schools and six more from New London, Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven have agreed to take part, all making a five-year commitment to the program.

Reading this, I had 3 reactions.

Number one: fiasco. We're talking about parents who have never in their lives run a school, who know nothing about running a school, and they're going a school.

Number two: fiasco. Parents who have never in their lives run a school running an already failing school. So now we've got parents in the turnaround business, with the success rate for turnarounds standing at one in five.

Number three: Wait and see ? Perhaps this could be a Marines-on-the-ground type situation?

The Waterbury plan sounds like a form of site-based management, and I have the impression that site-based management, in the few places where it has been tried, hasn't worked well.



Not surprisingly, site-based management, aka school-based management, hasn't actually been tried:

Some form of school-based management has been embraced by most large urban school districts and by probably well over a third of all American school districts during the past 15 years. The idea is to improve schools by giving teachers and principals more say in the decisions affecting them and to involve local communities in the governance and management of their schools. Studies have shown, however, that school-based management has rarely, if ever, been fully implemented within the hierarchical structures of American school districts. [ed.: check] Thus it is difficult to know whether this form of decentralization has the potential to improve school practices.

Can’t Let Go
By Patrick J. Ryan
Education Next
Winter 2001, Vol 1 No 4

New York state regulations require school-based planning for all public schools.

100.11 Participation of parents and teachers in school-based planning and shared decision making.

State's Schools Mandate Joins Parents and Staffs
By LINDA SASLOW June 6, 1993
Waterbury, CT transfers authority over "struggling" schools to administrators, teachers, & parents

speaking of school-based management

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