Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson wants to see the number of students attending quality schools in Cleveland triple as part of his new proposals to vastly improve the quality of education in city schools.
The plan presented to teachers, the city council and local legislators by Mayor Jackson calls for throwing out union rules governing teacher pay and layoffs, partnering more with high-performing charter schools and giving successful schools more flexibility in how they do their jobs, writes Patrick O’Donnell at The Plain Dealer.
“His plan would put Cleveland in the growing minority of districts that treat successful charter schools as allies, not the enemies that many districts consider the schools,” writes O’Donnell.
“It also continues Jackson’s push last year to develop a merit pay system for teachers and to wipe out rules that make seniority the deciding factor in teacher layoffs.”
Jackson believes his “systemic changes” would help turn around the district’s ongoing financial struggles.
The district faces a deficit of between $55 and $65 million next year, potentially forcing cuts and closing schools. And while the student population has plummeted from more than 70,000 to 42,000, staff cutbacks seem inevitable.
But Jackson’s plan, created with school district Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon, calls for the state to crack down on poor-performing charter schools and would look to make equal the amount of tax money given to well performing charter schools who are chosen to be included in the city’s “portfolio” of schools.
Jackson’s plan would see poor performing schools closed quicker and introduce a system which would be able to create schools faster, give them flexibility in setting curriculum and even set their own schedules.
Gov. John Kasich has said that he is eagerly awaiting the plan and was happy to support aggressive reform efforts.
Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Kasich’s office, said:
“Right now our policy guys have the plan.
“We’re looking at it and will ultimately discuss it with the legislature. We’re very early in the process.”