Zais: Put failing schools in single district
Charleston County school leaders promise to leverage local control into improvements at Burke, North Charleston High
SC State Superintendent of SC Zais exhibits many of the flawed patterns driving claims about public schools and arguments for policy and reform:
• Zais has no experience in public education, including no experience as a classroom teacher—the same that holds true about Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
“'These schools are failing, and failing persistently,' he said. 'And it’s not the students who are failing in these schools. It’s the adults on the boards, in the districts and in the schools who are failing the children.'”
• Zais identifies successful reform—
"He told the board that all the options were too limited. He wanted another alternative — to create a statewide school district for failing schools. It’s a similar concept to what exists in Louisiana and Tennessee, and its sole purpose would be to turn around failing schools, he said."—without offering a shred of evidence.
• Zais's claims and proposals reinforce the federal push to link teacher compensation and retention to student test scores, despite the overwhelming evidence that such practices are ineffective and even corrosive.
The irony is that we can take Zais's own words and make an accurate claim, unlike the vacuum of experience and evidence behind Zais's leadership:
“These schools are failing, and failing persistently,” we must say. “And it’s not the students who are failing in these schools. It’s the adults without experience in the state department of education, in the USDOE and in the elected offices who are failing the children.”
By turning educators into scapegoats to hide the real sources of educational failure—social and education inequity.