Know what you have

After our last 6+ inch snowfall, I saw a neighbor of mine cleaning off her car with her jacket sleeves.  I offered her my car ice scraper, and she declined, saying she had one somewhere in her car but didn’t know where, and she was fine just continuing on the way she was.

This past summer, we released a publication called The Bold and the Bureaucrat: The Top Ten State Education Agency Levers for School Turnaround. In our and our partners’ work with SEAs relating to turnaround, we have found that there often are power levers available to states through law or policy that could be used to better support school turnaround efforts that state turnaround offices either didn’t know existed, or aren’t sure how to use.  Paul Hill at CRPE wrote, reaffirming our findings, that “[states] don’t use a good number of the powers they have,” continuing on to say that “many states treat school districts as if they were constitutionally established branches of government rather than (as is the case) creatures built at the state’s discretion.”

Hill’s final recommendations go beyond our recommendations, in that he calls for a whole new system for the state education agency to follow, but the resulting call for action is clear: understand the resources you have, and how to use them, and maybe the state can be more effective in supporting school turnaround.