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"Our Education Dollars" in The New York Times

We were very happy to see our letter in The New York Times yesterday on the cost of turnaround. As the letter says, we know that spending additional dollars on turnaround is essential, but we want to be certain that those dollars are strategically spent with the clear goal of not only creating a school that works but that the district can afford in the years to come. Here’s the letter:

To the Editor:

“Weighing the Cost of Progress at a Failing School” (news article, June 25) misses an important consideration for determining if a turnaround school is too “expensive.” Will these new dollars result in a high-performing school that is sustainable?

Jump-starting persistently low-performing schools inevitably costs additional money, but it is key that these resources target sustainable improvements. Turnaround investments must leverage change for the future, like improving teaching practice, and not just increase the bottom line by adding staff, no matter how critical.

The sustainability of the new school structure also depends on how the district manages resources for all schools. Will this new school divert too many resources from other schools in need?

It’s not just how much you spend, it’s how you spend it. Investing in turning around schools is the right choice, but we must do it in a way that accounts for the future.

Regis Shields
Education Resource Strategies
Watertown, Mass., June 28, 2010



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