If I Had a Magic Wand

This week features a guest blog series from Dan Cruce, the Delaware Department of Education’s Deputy Secretary and Chief of Staff.   This post is third of a three-part series.

By Dan Cruce

We’ve learned a lot and I am hopeful that we will be able to utilize the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility to strengthen Partnership Zone  implementation. But looking back, I wish we had:

  • Created more clear exemplars and roadmaps to compel fundamental change—particularly in areas pertaining to governance, district-level capacity and collective bargaining agreements.
  • More quickly set a clearer benchmark for central office turnaround capacity—whether that is a Lead Partner, Coordinating Partner, Central Office Turnaround Unit, or some other name.  For me, it’s not about what you call something/someone; it’s about the clear expectations for excellence and reform.  We got a little hung up on some constituents’ perception of certain titles…”Lead Partner”  “Turnaround Model”, etc.  I would have focused more time on the communication of our intent with these new resources, rather than their “hot button” titles.
  • More quickly created unique incentives for the most effective educators to teach in the PZ schools.
  • More clearly called for district-level restructuring for districts with high concentrations of PZ and other low-achieving schools.

I mentioned in my last post that turnaround is hard work.  The good news is that there are resources and opportunities to learn from folks who are doing this work.   Take a look at STG’s State Development Network where Delaware collaborates with other states tackling school turnaround.

STG has done work for the Delaware Department of Education, and the state is a member of our multi-state State Development Network.  The State Development Network convenes this week in Atlanta, GA.