Two years ago, Massachusetts Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester delivered an ultimatum to seven underperforming schools in Boston, Holyoke, and Springfield: If you want to avoid a state takeover, hire an outside partner to rapidly turn around student performance.
The schools took the commissioner up on his offer and enacted partnerships last fall, but all have failed to achieve dramatic, across-the-board gains in MCAS scores so far, according to a Globe review of testing data.
The results are raising questions about the efficacy of the partnerships and fueling tensions in local school systems, especially among teacher unions and some grass-roots organizations that resent bringing in private nonprofits to run public schools. The state has devoted more than $1 million in federal school-improvement grants to support the partnerships.I'd be interested in what else is going on in the schools: have these partners only brought in increased test prep, or are there any ways in which the schools are operating better for students? But in this case: live by the test score, die by the test score.