In Turnaround Town, the News is Always Good

In Turnaround Town, aka Lawrence, MA, the news is always good—or so says the official edu-media plan, which you can savor for yourself below.

Reader: today we pay a return visit a place that I like to call simply ‘Turnaround Town.’ Perhaps you know this city by its other name: Lawrence, Massachusetts. When we last dropped in, state officials had just conducted an exhaustive investigation, concluding that the problems of the city’s schools lay in its leaders: bad, worse, corrupt, in jail, even more corrupt, or just indifferent. Then tragedy struck: a software glitch at the state Department of Education caused the word “leader” to be auto corrected into “teacher,” and the official Lawrence Turnaround™ plan was born. Continue reading

In Lawrence, Farewell to Bad LeadersTeachers

With characteristic transparency and a frisson of patriotism, the state-appointed receiver of the Lawrence Public Schools chose the waning hours of the July 4th holiday week to announce that he was firing 16 teachers.  Why choose the annual tribute to flag waving, beer drinking and extended family squabbling to begin the festival of bloodletting? Perhaps Receiver Riley felt he had no choice. With fireworks illegal in Massachusetts and even bonfires outlawed in some communities, teachers were the only thing left to fire.Certainly the firings come as no surprise.An exhaustive—and scathing—report by the state last fall concluded that the primary problem in Lawrence was poor teachers. Except that it didn’t find anything remotely like that. Continue reading