The Education Wonks picked up on a story from New York about another on-its-way-to-failing, rolled-out-from-the-central-office pedagogy, complete with public denials that its mandatory and pretty clear communications with teachers that they had better get with the program. This one is based on making classes mostly group work, a technique developed by, well I'll be ... the current "Deputy Chancellor for Instruction."
Amazing. She developed it, it worked, so now if everybody will just implement it, all will be well. How many times are administrators going to keep making this mistake? The answer isn't a program! The answer is teacher engagement! Quit thinking you're the only ones who can develop (or identify) a successful approach. Get the **** out of the way. Develop a system to encourage teachers to engage with their own teaching. I like lesson study, but there are other good approaches. Then support them and WORK ON IT!
I can understand the deputy chancellor making this mistake, but, jiminy crickets, Joel Klein was brought in as chancellor because he was supposed to bring some outside insight. Get with it Joel! You wouldn't manage a top-tier law firm this way -- you know it wouldn't work. Why do you think it's going to work with the professional teaching force you now manage? Quit listening to your top deputies and get out there with teachers. Find the ones who have and are developing their own successful approaches and figure out how to get more teachers doing that next year, and doing it better. Then more and better the next. And the next. Get the picture?