Why it seems like mere days ago that EduShyster was leading a tour through the phantasy land that is Education Reform, Inc. Along the way we encountered miracle teachers who dazzled us with their pheats of strength, and miracle students, whose smiling visages light up so many of our favorite #edreform websites. Well reader, imagine EduShyster’s surprise to find one of our phantasy stops—Deborah Kenny’s Harlem Village Academy Charter School—right smack in the middle of the New York Times op-ed page this week:
In a typical year, Deborah Kenny replaces half of the teachers at Harlem Village Academy Charter School with teachers who are fresher and more innovative.
You see Kenny runs what is best known as a miracle school....The miracle school is just like a regular school only 100 times more innovative and with 1000 times more best practices. Best of all, the miracle school has students that are EXACTLY THE SAME as the students who attend sucky public schools—which proves once and for all that poverty absolutely does not matter. What’s more, the miracle school is typically led by a plucky blonde heroine (check!), is the subject of phawning media coverage (check, check, check!) and continues to receive said coverage EVEN AFTER MIRACLE CLAIMS ARE REPEATEDLY DEBUNKED (check, check!)
Someone at the Times had the brilliant idea to let Kenny author an op-ed denouncing standardized rating systems for teachers as rigid and profession stifling, while pitying the poor public schools which are prohibited by law from holding teachers accountable at all. Best of all Kenny got an opportunity to trumpet her own unique management style. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Principals need to create a culture of trust, teamwork and candid feedback that is essential to running an excellent school. Leadership is about hiring great people and empowering them, and requires a delicate balance of evaluation and encouragement. At Harlem Village Academies we give teachers an enormous amount of freedom and respect.
Now that pretty well sums it up—if you add the words “THEN WE FIRE THEM” to the end of Kenny’s quote...