Kentucky Advances New High School Improvement Tactic

By Catherine Gewertz — January 08, 2010 1 min read
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Kentucky appears to be moving toward allowing private management of its lowest-performing middle and high schools. A bill that cleared the state’s House education committee the other day would add outside management as an option for school districts.

Outside management of low-performing schools? Sound familiar? That’s because it’s one of the four “turnaround” strategies that Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been urging states and districts to adopt in dealing with their chronically low-achieving schools. And winning federal stimulus money is a tad more likely if you have a plan to use these strategies.

So there goes Kentucky, adding the strategy in an attempt to position itself better for the money. (And oh, yes, to improve its schools.) Assuming it gets the money, who will it bring in to do the notoriously hard work of turning around low-performing high schools? It’s not like the field is crawling with skilled practitioners at this stuff. And the availability of money can be enough to lure some folks into hanging a “turnaround expert” shingle when they’re, uh, not really very expert at it. Caveat emptor.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.