Teachable Moment

Let’s hear it for Hillsborough County Schools that went beyond the usual Plan Bs to help some of their system’s struggling schools. These schools, with well-chronicled issues that include embarrassingly low test scores, need help–including, frankly, better teachers. That’s a familiar problem, because teachers with seniority and savvy are likely well established at the better-performing schools. Rookies and the relatively in experienced are asked to do what they can, even if they can’t, at the high-needs schools.

So the county has signed up more than a dozen former teachers who have impressively advanced in the administrative ranks, including to high-profile positions such as assistant superintendent and chief academic officer. They all will, in effect, be on sabbatical for the rest of the school year so they can literally help out in classrooms. More are expected to follow.

They have volunteered for classroom duty after having earned their career promotions. Hopefully, they can make a difference with their presence, as well as through the message that this sends through the ranks. “Do as I do” always goes over better than “do as I say.” This is no struggling-schools panacea, of course, but a recommitment to the pedagogical principle that all students matter, and this is an all-hands-on-deck approach to a problem with serious societal implications.

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