The latest column by the superb Washington Post writer Jay Mathews is about turnarounds and the stimulus. Like me, he’s in favor of closing failing schools and starting fresh instead of trying to fix those in a persistent state of underperformance. (He uses arguments and data from my Education Next article “The Turnaround Fallacy” to build his case.)
A couple months ago, it looked like the turnaround train had built up enough steam to easily blow by any questions or concerns. But when someone like Mathews (author of Escalante and Work Hard, Be Nice, two of the most important books about pockets of educational excellence in urban America) starts yelling, “slow down!” the conductor is apt to take notice.
With $4.35 billion from the Race to the Top and $3 billion from the School Improvement Grant program at stake, our getting this right is critically important for disadvantaged kids and taxpayers as well.