I listened to the streaming internet feed of yesterday’s press conference wherein Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eugene Sanders unveiled the plans for the “transformation” of Cleveland’s public schools. The Plain Dealer provides more coverage that you may access through this link.
One thought that ran through my head: Isn’t it amazing (and wrong) that the school district has to seek to spin off and/or partner with charter schools in order to gain sufficient flexibility to pursue academic excellence? Isn’t it an indictment of federal and state mandates that cause public education to be so rigid? In the short term, since addressing root causes for the inflexibility of public schools would take a great deal of time (especially since no politician has even begun to desire to address root causes–the politicians are still piling on with the mandates that increase the level of paralysis), I have to say, in broad terms (not necessarily all the details), that I support Sanders and the path of change that he is seeking to blaze.
Another thought that raced through my head as I listened to the press conference: Too many people within Cleveland are going to nonsensical lengths to try to stop these changes that Sanders seeks. There are too many people in denial about the devastatingly poor performance of Cleveland’s schools. I can’t think of any reason why Clevelanders should cling to the status quo. Does everyone realize the societal cost of maintaining dropout factories? Dropout factories = more prisons. I don’t like that equation, so let’s subtract dropout factories so that we can subtract prisons.
What will it take to allow public schools to be flexible enough to emulate the best practices implemented by private schools? I think Ohio’s politicians ought to be scouring the revised code and administrative code to see what can be weeded out in response to that question.