Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How Chris Guerrieri saved Duval County’s schools

Okay a little hyperbole I admit but I wanted to get your attention. With little fanfare Duval County Public Schools has changed how they are going to do things this year. They removed from the principal evaluation those parts that tied performance to referrals and discipline and this one little thing has the potential to greatly improve the learning environments in our classrooms and schools.

A few years ago the superintendent decided he was going to improve discipline and how he was going to do it was by tying principals evaluations to referrals and suspensions. With their jobs on the line referrals and suspensions went way down (well processed referrals anyways). The superintendent was able to pat himself on the back and the Times Union was able to write an article praising his policies except discipline didn’t improve, in fact it got worse which is what happens when you tend to ignore problems.

Suddenly the inmates were running the asylum as teacher’s ability to discipline and in some cases teach went out the window.

Well now things have changed, no longer are principals’ disincentivised to discipline. Hopefully they will also no longer cajole teachers into accepting toxic learning environments and kids who choose to steal learning time from other children will get consequences for their behavior. Hopefully.

So how did I save our schools? Well years ago I wrote what a ridiculous policy this was and have banged the discipline drum ever since. I didn't accept their false narrative instead I tried to make sure people knew what teachers were going through.

Now I am sure when the school board decided to change the policy they didn’t go, well Chris (and most people capable of rationale thought) thinks it is a terrible idea to tie discipline to principal’s evaluations, no I am sure they think they thought about it independently, but I did help put the notion out there. I contributed to the dialogue and like the 100th monkey eventually taught his cousins 1000s of miles away how to use tools, they got it, yes it would have been better if they got it years ago but they did finally get it.

Even more however is this is just one example of how it won’t take breaking the bank and reinventing the wheel to improve things. The solutions for great and quick turnaround are within our grasp, I mean mine and yours, not necessarily the school boards because it obviously takes them years to get it but the solutions are there.

No comments:

Post a Comment