The Turnaround Ingredients

John Thompson mentions our 2007 publication, The Turnaround Challenge, over at HuffPost’s The Blog. He’s right to point out that it’s been at the center of many national discussions about school and system turnaround. Since then, we have expanded our repertoire of publications on turnaround, most recently with The Lead Partner Playbook.

But the rest of Thompson’s piece contrasts reform priorities, and I’m not sure we agree with the taxonomy he seems to be putting out there. Remember, the issue isn’t about how many teachers to “get rid of,” the issue is how to transform broken district structures and create new conditions, new clusters of schools, and build more capacity. Turnaround requires a dramatic foundational shift, high-capacity partners, and new structures within the state and district. As the Turnaround Challenge says, marginal change = marginal results, especially for under-performing schools.  Therefore, we are relying on these schools adopting the high-performing, high-poverty (HPHP) school characteristics of readiness to learn, readiness to teach, and readiness to act to help schools excel.

Haven’t read The Turnaround Challenge? Download the executive summary here.