As DC Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced a plan to close one of every six traditional D.C. public schools, a new book on education emerged, advocating a similar shake-up to the system. As described in the Post, author Andy Smarick suggests that by adding good schools and subtracting bad ones with rapidity, “we have the potential to drastically improve the educational opportunities of our nation’s most disadvantaged students.” According to the reporter, Smarick’s idea would mean that
Henderson could keep her title of D.C. schools chancellor but get a different and more powerful assignment. She would sit atop three separate entities, the old D.C. school system, the D.C. charters and a collection of private schools willing to meet certain achievement goals in return for some support. She would not run these schools, but would reward and punish those in charge. She would have the power to start new schools and close old ones.
Henderson would oversee what Smarick calls the five pillars of the new system: expanding and replicating schools proven to be effective, closing ineffective schools, starting promising new schools, ensuring a variety of school types and school authorizers, and making sure families have many choices.
Andy Smarick, the author of The Urban School System of the Future: Applying the Principles and Lessons of Chartering, will be speaking at the Winter MACo Conference’s Education session at the Hyatt Resort in Cambridge, Maryland on January 4, 2013. Conference materials and registration forms are now available.