Close or Turnaround! Are School Turnaround Plans Working?

“Never say yes to anything you can’t say no to.”
― Marty Rubin

The question of the hour is are closing schools more effective than school turnaround strategies. As advocates, parents, ed reform leaders and citizens across the state are lobbying and advocating for the passing of various bills to help with school improvement, the biggest question on the table is are the school turnaround plans on all levels helping schools turn around student achievement or are we simply just turning around in circles?

The Wallace Foundation has done a lot of work around supporting school turn around initiatives by providing funding to build strategies and blue prints on how to make this work successful. The success this foundation has found in supporting school turn around strategies starts with empowering educational leaders and decision makers to be intentional about engagement.

It requires truly understanding the holistic work of turn around initiatives and their connection to engagement efforts. The key to school turn around strategies is to ensure that we all stakeholders are engaged, informed and involved in the processes, beginning to end, on how the strategies are implemented.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, highlights how epidemics develop and what has to be done to address them effectively. I believe that what we are experiencing in education is a social epidemic which drives the continual need for school turn around plans, leaving the question at hand, are school turn around plans working?

The reality is we can only turn around so much before we land right back in the same place we started. Gladwell highlights that the success of any social epidemic is dependent upon the engagement of people.



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