At the invitation of the Boston College Center For Corporate Citizenship, I am visiting New Orleans attending a Summit Meeting on how business can help transform U.S. education.
Yesterday we toured Jefferson Parish and visited several schools and then had an evening discussion with New Orleans Superintendent Paul Vallas - formerly superintendent of Chicago Public Schools and Philadelphia Public Schools.
He was quite impressive in his focus on fixing the fundamentals in American education:
1- recruit the best talent at all levels, regardless of where they come from - "we should give the colleges of educations some serious competition by certifying highly talented people and teaching them to teach"
2- implement a rigorous instructional system that is high standard and can be followed to teach effectively even by the weakest teacher,
3- time on task - give students adequate time to be taught, to learn and to master core subjects -"stop wasting kids time and taxpayer money on 'frivolous' electives."
The New Orleans Recovery District, which he leads, has 70 schools - already 35 of them of Charter Schools and he indicated he wants to get to 80% Charter.
Vallas added - "But don't just charter any provider; I recruited the best charter school providers from around the country. And I'm not afraid to yank their charter if the don't deliver year over year student improvement - fired one charter school last week."
We have a packed agenda - I'll blog more soon.