by Frederick Hess, Whitney Downs
January 29, 2013
Reformers are right to fight for policy change, and to offer moral and political support to bold education leaders. At the same time, they’re wrong to imagine that changing policies regarding teacher evaluation, school turnarounds, or school choice will deliver as hoped, absent efforts to help school officials to think differently and then provide the support they need to tackle rules, regulations, and contracts in new ways. Thus, reformers struggle to narrow the scope of collective bargaining, only to see administrators fumble the hard-won opportunities. They enact teacher evaluation and turnaround policies whose efficacy and impact rest entirely on the ability of officials to execute them competently and aggressively in the face of contracts, embedded routines, and recalcitrant cultures.