Last week, almost 200 parents, educators, community members and supporters, gathered at Carver Heights Elementary school in response to an invitation by leaders from the Innovative School District (ISD). Their representatives came to deliver the news that the school had been included on a short list of schools under consideration for inclusion in the controversial school improvement model, which might shift control from the locally-elected School Board to an outside, for-profit charter school operator.
Despite a stark lack of evidence for this model’s success and its dismal track record for transforming high needs schools in other states, representatives seemed to offer little to no alternatives to what they proposed was needed: an ISD takeover.
Although the meeting’s invitation pledged to allow community members a chance to provide feedback and engage in a “conversation,” it seemed apparent to those who had gathered that the stated intent was misleading. Rather than invite community members to discuss the school’s needs and share what seems to be working well, the ISD representatives started their presentation by presenting test scores that painted a picture of “failing” students, an “under-performing” school and offered inclusion in the ISD as the only possible solution. These labels landed heavily upon the school’s educators, who had joined the event all wearing their yellow Carver Heights shirts, displaying the message: “Talk to Me, I will Listen, Teach Me, I will Learn, Inspire Me, I will Succeed.”
Community members also struggled to process the decision-making timeline presented: one of the schools being considered would be selected within a week’s time.
Why the Rush?
Cultivating good leadership, building trust and school improvement strategies takes time to develop. Trust and time is precisely what the school’s community asked ISD representatives to provide. Read more