Michele McNeil's article in Education Week on January 14th was a fascinating look at a near miss in California. She writes about newly-elected Jerry Brown's immediate revamping of the education agenda, only days after taking office and says:
"(His) education shake-up comes as the state board is weighing new regulations that would help districts implement the state’s new parent-trigger law, which lets parents vote to convert traditional public schools into charters, fire the principal, or close the school, among other options."
Although I strongly agree that parents should have a voice in their schools and I facilitate such collaboration in my building, the provision that is attached to the trigger law concerns me. Further, I worry that such policy might eventually be explored in Arizona.
Would such an approach not create a climate where principals are forced to focus more on politics than practice? Is the administrator who is worried about torches and pitchforks really going to challenge the "river of nostalgia" that is so prevalent in education? It is not uncommon for what is right to be unpopular before the long-term results are manifested. Strong policies and practices are often thrown out before they have a chance to take root and create systemic change. "Monitor and Adjust," is ignored as a critical step and effective, sustainable change is brushed away by the swing of a pendulum. Thus, school improvement becomes a string of quick fixes that never actually fix anything.
Is this what is next for Arizona?