Twenty-five years ago a broad coalition of legislators, business people, education experts, and state officials put together and passed a wide-reaching education reform law. That law reflects a set of shared beliefs—basically, that a combination of increased funding, state testing tied to graduation requirements, new state curriculum frameworks, charter schools, and increased authority for superintendents and principals would lead to better schools. I was part of that coalition, but later came to believe that the law omitted a critical element—working with principals and teachers to help them improve their craft – and helped start a non-profit (the Bay State Reading Institute) to work with elementary and middle schools in this way.
Both Adams-Cheshire Regional School District elementary schools have seen increased standardized test scores.
When Carlos entered Kristen Reidy’s first-grade class at the Salemwood School in Malden, Mass., nearly five years ago, his reading scores put him in the “at risk” category. He missed his dad, who was still in the family’s home country in Central America, and he “could get into some behavior problems if you didn’t have the right mitts to catch him and let him know you believe in him,” Ms. Reidy says
You can’t be successful changing adult behavior if you’re looking down on teachers. You have to get them to trust you, to like you, and to have confidence in you