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The crucial matter of hiring, firing, and retention
Few schools get turnarounds right, least of all high schools, writes Sara Neufeld for The Hechinger Report. In 2012 and 2013, the federal Institute of Education Sciences (IES) asked 49 states and the District of Columbia about their capacity to support failing schools that had received federal turnaround money. This money disproportionately went to high schools, and states reported significant problems. To fix a struggling school of any level, the right principal and teachers are paramount; state policies often negatively impact hiring and selection. At Quitman Street Renew School in Newark -- on which Neufeld wrote an earlier series -- an excellent principal received teacher-hiring authority in 2012 and replaced half his staff. Each successive year this authority was challenged, because the district had tenured teachers without placements and a budget shortfall. Principal Erskine Glover made some excellent hires from the district pool; others were not top choices. Meanwhile, New Jersey introduced a law mandating teacher evaluations, making it harder to get tenure but leaving seniority rights intact. This tension around hiring operates nationally. Areas where states reported struggling most were in implementing the right teacher evaluations to effectively reward teachers performing well at low-performing schools and dismiss teachers who weren't. The IES report cites several states with promising turnaround practices, yet none of these address hiring, firing, and retention. More
Source: Public Education News Blast
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Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) is an education support organization that works as a collaborative partner in high-poverty communities.