Study: Reform needs to take local conditions into account
Wholesale staff replacement is the reform strategy that lies at the heart of Arne Duncan's Race to the Top. States unwilling to fire entire faculties and principals risk loss of badly-needed federal funds. But a recent study by the Center on Education Policy on improving low-performing schools, finds big problems and "unintended negative consequences" in many staff-replacement strategies.
The study, which examined five years of restructuring under NCLB, found that successful school improvement efforts at times included staff replacement. But those schools, "had a large pool of applicants as well as a plan or vision for the school that allowed it to overcome its past reputation as a “failing” school, support from the teachers' union to resolve any contractual issues, and effective hiring systems that did not rely on principals alone to recruit and interview applicants."
The study makes a case for reform strategies tailored to the specific needs and conditions in each school.