Friday, February 19, 2010

Almost a Great Idea

Out in St. Paul, Minnesota, they've come up with a pretty good plan. Kind of. The plan is to send out a team of experienced teachers - they're calling them coaches in this program - to work with high-needs kids in schools across the city to improve their test scores. I'm 99% on board with this program.

I love the outside the box thinking of taking a team of senior teachers and sending them in to do intensive work with small groups of kids who most need it. This is the kind of targeted intervention that I think we should be doing all the time. I just wish that it was for some end other than a one-time boost in test scores.

If this were a regular program designed to operate continuously forever, I would be singing its praises from rooftops. But the sole focus on testing is an issue. Specifically it's on the goal of boosting test scores by 10 percentage points this year. I have issue with that.

Learning is about more than acing high stakes standardized tests. They have a powerful tool here to really make that clear to students and really make a difference. But they're only using the tool halfway. What a waste.

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