There’s a long, fascinating piece in the New York Times Magazine on one public school, M.S. 223 in the Bronx, that is trying to reform, and it isn’t a charter. What stands out in the article by Jonathan Mahler is not only how much the inspiring principle Ramon Gonzalez, is borrowing from the charter movement, but also how it always comes back to the quality of the teachers.
I spend Friday morning at Veritas Academy, one of the Great Hearts public charter schools of Arizona, and a school any parent would be thrilled to have his or her child attending. Like M.S. 223, Veritas succeeds because of its teachers and its administration. Like Gonzalez, the leader at Veritas, Andrew Ellison is part visionary, part fixer-of-everything.
After years of reporting on school reform, the great frustration is that over and over again the formula presents itself: Find a leader, let him or her hire and promote (and fire) the teachers and set high standards.