Innovation or re-inventing the flat tire

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The state legislature’s rewrite of the governor’s two education bills, to expand charter schools and to create new “readiness” schools, is now one bill. Readiness schools are now called “innovation” schools.

The charter sections seem to be ok, though we will see as it moves forward if quotas for specific types of students will be part of the final package. That would not be helpful, though requiring charters to do robust outreach to special needs and English language learners is ok with me.

One big question I have on the readiness, now innovation, schools. Given that the statutory draft calls for approval by two-thirds of the teachers in the school in order to move forward, I am wondering if we are going to be stuck with the same outcomes we have had in the pilots and the Horace Mann (unionized) charters.

The Boston Teachers Union has been able to stop up progress on pilots in the city, and there has not been much take-up of the Horace Mann model. In fact, some have switched from HM charters to Commonwealth (non-union, more flexible schools operating outside the superintendent’s reach) charters.

Rep. Walz and Sen. O’Leary, you might want to loosen up on the reins to get more impact from this part of the legislation.