Why Not Try Training Teachers Before You Close a School?

By Ed Moscovitch

The NY Times editorial board wrote the other day about a failed school in Brooklyn. The only remedies they could suggest were closing the school and weeding out mediocre teachers.

Why do school reformers, like the Times’ editorial board, never consider a serious effort to provide training and mentoring to teachers in troubled schools (and coaching on educational leadership to principals)?

From what the editorial – reports, I’m sure the teaching at the school needs work. And maybe if a coaching/mentoring program fails after a couple of years, it might be necessary to reconstitute the school. But why start there?

Apparently, like most education “reformers”, the Times believes that great teachers are born not made, and that therefore is little point putting any effort into working with them. How very sad – and how very mistaken!!

To see what’s possible, take a look at this video that highlights the work the Bay State Reading Institute is doing with the Mulcahey School in Taunton.

In particular, listen to the school’s reading coach explain that there’s been a complete change in the school in the past year; they now have a common purpose – getting all children to collaborate and learn. And to the 2nd grade teacher – “these children become successful”
Because opinion leaders like the Times are unaware that this kind of change in a faculty (without reconstituting a school and without large-scale dismissals) is possible, there’s no political constituency for creating – and funding – programs that could turn around schools like the one in Brooklyn.