I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.
Friday, April 1, 2016
Fixing Schools that Serve Communities with High Levels of Social Dysfunction
Pinellas County is attempting to "fix" 5 schools that have struggled chronically---and they are about to spend a lot of money to implement the reforms necessary to do it. Significant pay increases (up to an additional $25K over base salary for teachers), longer school days, tests with real-time feedback, and additional staff are some of the components of this plan.
This is an interesting story that addresses a problem that many districts (including Escambia County) face in some isolated school locations: Community dysfunction, generational poverty, and apathetic or absent parents leading to schools that are perennially under-performing---despite massive subsidies and despite Herculean efforts and the most well intended initiatives implemented by community non-profits, charitable organizations, volunteers, churches, and school districts themselves.
This will be an interesting strategy to watch.
It will be interesting to see whether or not this strategy is the right strategy that will work . There are NO magic bullets. Short of creating government subsidized, exorbitantly priced boarding schools that serve some communities from birth to Kindergarten---in an effort to save these children from the dysfunctional households and the dysfunctional environments from where some of these unfortunate students come----the solution must entail massive infusions of incentive pay and massive infusions of additional staffing combined with strong site leadership.
Piecemealing it equals only a half-measure can-kick that I do not see working,
for what it's worth---I've tried in vain for years to implement a system here in Escambia County that provides a means for teachers that commit to and stay is schools with the highest levels of community dysfunction to earn pay increases that are significant, recurring and cumulative for the duration of the time such teachers stay in such schools. I know this would drive performance to help these schools, but if one doesn't do something, one can't see the results and reap the benefits. I've been unable, thus far, to get my counterparts to see the value in doing this to keep such schools from churning out teachers left and right and remaining under-performing sites. It may take a Pinellas-style action plan COMBINED WITH Boarding schools to break the cycle of social dysfunction in some locations....
I wish my counterparts would read the below linked editorial......
......from the Tampa Bay Timespiece:
Read Ambitious Proposal for Troubled Pinellas Schools