You begin by letting the Alabama department of education intervene and take over the Montgomery County school system. And you make sure the process is under the direction of state superintendent Mike Sentance who has never worked in a classroom, a school, or a central office, and therefore has NO TRACK RECORD of turning around school systems.
And what does he do? He engineers a contract for $536,000 for a consultant group in Massachusetts he has a relationship with. They are to assess schools in Montgomery. You do another contract for $762,000 for a CFO to take over the financials. Then you go to Philadelphia and hire a “turnaround” specialist.
Here is what you don’t do. Look at educators in Alabama who have bona fide experience with good schools and seek their help.
Where do you find such people? In the Montgomery County public school system for starters.
Loveless Academic Magnet Program (LAMP) high school is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the no. 34 best high school in the country and no. 1 in Alabama.
The GreatSchools web site gives LAMP a perfect score of 10. so obviously they have some educators who know what they are doing.
GreatSchools also gives Bear Exploration and Forest Avenue, both elementary schools in the Montgomery system, a perfect 10.
Compare these rankings to Lee high with a 2, and Lanier, Carver and Jeff Davis high schools with a 1.
What’s going on? How can a medium-sized system like this have schools that perform at both ends of the spectrum?
This is where honesty–not consultants–come into play.
As much as anything one has to take a cold, hard look at the students in these settings, the homes they come from, the parents they have, the environment they live in daily, etc. Ff these schools are to become better, these are the issues that must be addressed.
Educators are not miracle workers–though they are too often expected to be.
Poor grades in school are simply a symptom of a much larger issue.
But once again we do what we do best, we go after band aids rather than trying to figure out where the blood is coming from.
And we waste $1 million in the process–just for starters.