There are many people right now devoting their careers to making changes in education that lead to greatness. One of the most captivating stories is that of Geoffrey Canada in Paul Tough’s “Whatever it takes.” Canada is on a mission to bring the neighborhood of Harlem out of poverty. At the time of the writing of “Whatever,” Canada was changing his experiments to focus on full support for children from conception onward, through parenting programs and education. I found his hypotheses believable. I am eager to see what results he gets and how his thinking evolves.
A second New York story can be found at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/10/60minutes/main20041733.shtml
A New York charter school is focusing on GREAT teachers. The hypothesis is that if you get the most talented teachers, you will get the best results in the classroom. One of the many conventions this school breaks is tenure. Tenure is rejected as a reasonable method for employing teachers. Hallelujah. Tenure seems outdated to me in the worst way (To me, tenure smells of aristocracy. However I am not familiar with the history of tenure, so I don’t know if the two are linked.), and it is refreshing to see “experts” saying this on network television. Another convention the principal of the charter school breaks is firing. He readily fires those teachers who are not delivering great results. I think all corporations could learn a lesson from the story of this school and the principal’s determination to get the greatest players on his team through recruiting, firing, and appropriate salaries. For those who use the Core Protocols, you will notice the awareness of the ideas of “greatness” and “mediocrity” and how he uses these terms consistently to create messages about what he is working to accomplish.
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