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Peter Greene: TFA Takes Control of Lorain, Ohio, Schools

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Peter Greene wrote a brilliant essay about Ohio’s response to the economic collapse of Lorain, which wa to put a czar in charge of the public schools, with unlimited power to do as he wished without any oversight. That czar—David Hardy—has limited education experience, having gotten his start in TFA.

The teaching staff doesn’t like Mr. Hardy. They voted no-confidence in him.

He doesn’t like them either. He brought in another TFA guy and told the teachers in the high school that they had to reapply for their jobs.

In short, the staff is being purged.

if he fires everyone, do you think that TFA would staff the whole school? The whole district?

Wow, real disruption! TFA teachers know more than anyone else.

The big problem in Lorain seems to be democracy and experienced teachers.

Hardy’s public comments continue to be word salads of corporate gobbledegook.“It was a conversation that we had as a team to talk about the future to give our teachers space to ask questions and think through things they’re grappling with and make sure they understand the process that ensued,” Hardy said. “And to ensure we have a space to understand what challenges we’re facing and move forward.”

And

“We know that their lives and days are extremely busy, so we wanted to make sure it is something that allows them to showcase the wonderful things they already do and have conversations with the leadership team about being a part of this transformation,” he said. “Or maybe there are folks who decide they would like to be somewhere else in the district, then we would invite folks who are external to be a part of that selection process.

“But not until we have exhausted all of our opportunities to really talk to our teachers, to understand our teachers who are in this high school and ask them to be a part of what is necessary to move to the next level. At that point, our school leadership team will make decisions on who they would like to see be a part of Lorain High going into the 2019-2020 school year.”

It’s an astonishing parade of baloney, and it makes me angry for the teachers of Lorain just to read through this. Though it appears that there may be nobody madder than School Board President Mark Ballard, who argues in a letter sent Friday that Hardy should have to reapply for his own job. Nor did Ballard mince words when talking to the paper.

“Grades got worse, morale got worse, enrollment got worse,” Ballard said the district since Hardy took over 18 months ago. “… I think there’s probably about 60,000 people in the city of Lorain and he’s probably No. 60,001 that deserve that job based on how he’s been doing it.”

“What I think is he’s just going to go through his games,” Ballard said. “And the people who’s not buying into his program and dancing to his music, whether they’re right or wrong or whether they’re good at their jobs or not, he just wants them out of there so he can have additional puppets to do what he wants them to do.”

The state takeover of Lorain schools is turning into a clusterfarphegnugen of epic proportions. The idea of giving a CEO all the powers of a superintendent and a school board is a dumb idea. Giving that position to someone who lacks the experience and skills to even sort of manage it makes things exponentially worse. For Reformsters who think the corporate takeover CEO model has potential, Lorain is shaping up to be a model for how bad an idea that is, a sort of disproof of concept. We’ll keep following this tale as we wait to see just how bad things can get.

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