January 31, 2008

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Carol Johnson took over as superintendent of Boston's public school system five months ago and has cleaned house by firing all her underlings. Her goal is to "close the achievement gap." Specifically, her plan is to close the achievement gap by doing the following:

  • Ensuring graduation for all by creating and expanding programs to prevent students from dropping out of school and recovering those who have. Currently, only 58 percent of students graduate in four years. (rainbows)

  • Strengthening support for students with special needs. Foster inclusion classrooms and reduce over-referral to special education, particularly among boys of color. (lollipops)

  • Creating a district-wide literacy curriculum that prepares children to read and write proficiently. (unicorns)

  • Expanding enrichment programs during and after school, including the arts and music, recreation and athletics, and advanced placement for students excelling academically. (happy thoughts)

  • Exploring new school models, including public Montessori schools, early/middle colleges with dual enrollment, gender-specific programming, school/business partnerships and international baccalaureate programs. Appoint a new, senior-level position to oversee and monitor the performance of pilot schools. (magic)

Gee, no one's ever tried those bromides before.

Prediction: achievement gap will remain undisturbed in Boston.

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