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We need no further evidence that the “reformies” of Denver Public Schools really are talking down to you, doublespeaking or pretending to take note of what you want, than the recent review of a guide on how to convince communities that privatization is really good for you.

CU-Boulder’s own National Education Policy Center just reviewed a report from Public Agenda, entitled What’s Trust Got to do With it?, which examines how to make communities feel better about the aggressive school turnaround methods fueled by public dollars that basically grant an open door to all manner of privatization schemes.

As a reminder, when a school is deemed “failing,” the federal government offers four options to a school district to rectify the situation, as described by the Wallace Foundation (one of the organizations that fund privatization):

  1. Turnarounds: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50 percent of the school’s staff; adopt a new governance structure; provide job embedded professional development; offer staff financial and career-advancement incentives; implement a research-based, aligned instructional program; extend learning and teacher planning time; create a community-orientation; and provide operating flexibility.
  2. Restarts: Transfer control of, or close and reopen, a school under a school operator that has been selected through a rigorous review process (read: charter school). A restart model must enroll, within the grades it serves, any former student who wishes to attend (minor detail omitted in Denver).
  3. Transformations: Replace the principal (no requirement for staff replacement); provide job embedded professional development; implement a rigorous teacher-evaluation and reward system; offer financial and career advancement incentives; implement comprehensive instructional reform; extend learning- and teacher-planning time; create a community-orientation; and provide operating flexibility and sustained support.
  4. School Closures: Close the school and enroll students in other, higher-achieving schools (unless you’re low-income, an English learner or a student with disabilities, of course).

Of course, my commentary here will do nothing to disabuse you of the notion that I have an objective view of turnarounds.  I am not objective about the destruction of school communities and the ignoring of the destabilizing factors that came first, which is a pairing that has become de rigeur.

At any rate, because turnarounds and other bad “school reform” policy is so unpopular, Public Agenda has seen fit to help privatizers figure out how to talk down to you.

By the way, if you’ve ever attended a DPS-led “community engagement” meeting, you should be aware of the Delphi Technique, which seems to be the way that the “facilitators” have been trained in how to deal with you.  Learn about it and learn how to push it aside.

Take the time to read NEPC’s review of the Public Agenda report, and tell me in the comments if you’ve witnessed this type of thing before.  The way we take back our schools is to understand the methods, anticipate the talking points, and use it all against them.
TTR-TournaroundTrust by National Education Policy Center