I’ve been as skeptical of incoming D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s commitment to education reform as most and worried by some early signals but I think Rick Hess is jumping the gun here a bit with his sky is falling post today.
Gray may yet end up being a disappointment but while these early decisions are being made it’s important not to confuse packaging with what’s in the box. Katherine Bradley’s comments about including more professional development in the evaluation system, for instance, are an easy throwaway because the current evaluation system does include some now. And Gray’s comments on the IMPACT system a few weeks ago were taken somewhat out of context.
Better indicators to watch right now: What the city does or doesn’t do to keep low-performing teachers away from students in the wake of the arbitrator’s ruling and later this spring what happens when evaluation results come back, there were a lot of teachers on the bubble. Also, who the actual chancellor ends up being, not the apparent ups and downs of process right now, will matter as well.
Gray promised to be as aggressive on reform as Adrian Fenty but with a defter touch. Let’s give him a chance to try to pull that off and right now it’s still too soon to tell if he is. But, the hard choices are coming soon and they are going to be hard to dodge.