A Los Angeles elementary school has joined an arts-based turnaround program to help boost student performance by using activities, such as creating a whole-school self-portrait gallery. The program, which includes about 60 low-performing US schools, pays for teacher training, art supplies, professional mentors and after-school programs for three years.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday gathered input from teachers, school and union leaders and others on how to recruit top teachers to work in low-performing schools during a visit to a turnaround school in Connecticut. Some said teacher-preparation programs need to provide more classroom experience for teachers and train them to work in urban environments. The event was part of the Education Department's RESPECT Project, which is intended to improve the teaching profession by involving teachers in education policy.
School districts nationwide are working to recruit highly qualified teachers for rural schools, which often have fewer resources and more disadvantaged students. Officials say it can be difficult to recruit teachers to remote areas. But efforts are under way to entice more teachers to rural schools, and also to prepare them for the challenges they will face there. Some students are receiving scholarships to return to teach in their hometowns, and the University of South Dakota has created a rural-teaching track for students.
Charter-school founders such as John Zitzner say they're eager to meet Education Secretary Arne Duncan's call to apply their most successful models to struggling schools. Some are skeptical, however, that those who have opened successful charter schools are well-equipped to turn around thousands of schools.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has repeatedly called for abolishing the Board of Education in favor of mayoral control of the nation's largest school system, but he hasn't put forth any concrete proposals, one article asserts. Bloomberg has intimated his desire to give principals power to assign experienced teachers to low-performing classrooms, but he is said to remain silent on issues surrounding curriculum changes. Critics say Bloomberg won't be able to raise test scores if he gains control.