Restructuring, Reform and Reality

Nancy Connor:

In a recent eduwonk post regarding NCLB’s complex and controversial school restructuring options, Andrew Rotherham wrote, “When it comes to tackling these problems, we have a serious failure of creativity, imagination, and, of course, political will. That’s not this law’s fault, and it’s not going to be solved by any future law. Rather, it’s cultural, deep rooted and demands real leadership…”
He has a point. However, the restructuring project is pretty daunting and beset with real practical constraints. Take the staffing issue. Which staff would you replace if the achievement failure is limited to the Hispanic subgroup within the school, but two-thirds of the students are Hispanic? What do you do if you are having difficulties with second-language learners, but your school has kids who speak fifteen different languages? Would you really fire all of the special education staff, even if there is no hope of hiring more?