Former principal: "Turn schools upside down!"
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- A new book by former Hamilton County principal Larry DeWeese suggests America's current education system is broken beyond repair. DeWeese, retired after 35 years as a teacher and school administrator, outlines a plan to certify teachers similar to professions such as physicians and attorneys in Turning Our Schools Upside Down. Certifying teachers as experts is a part of an overall program DeWeese has entitled "Students Always First Endeavor" (SAFE). Teachers would not only take charge of their own classroom, but would be considered at the top of a school/district organization chart. "Principals, supervisors, and superintendents would no longer be in a position to micro manage classrooms or undermine the teacher's authority," according to DeWeese.
DeWeese, a former principal at Hixson Middle School, recommends the dismantlement of city and county school districts. He says this would eliminate central office, superintendents, "and the huge expenditure these positions drain from education budgets." Individual school oversight would be turned over to local communities with an elected school council made up of parents, teachers, and community members. He says, "Funds for education either from the federal, state, or local level would go directly to the school based on student enrollment eliminating much of the misuse and waste found in our current education system. School building operations would be assumed by a building administrator similar to what is seen in the medical field, such as a hospital administrator."
DeWeese says that placing schools under community supervision gives stakeholders a real voice in the overall program and outcome. "Parents, teachers, and the community would have the opportunity to become partners by working together as a team to build an educational plan for each child in the local community," he said.
The SAFE program includes a review of what DeWeese calls the inconsistencies found in the school curriculum, student assessment, school buildings, and state standards. DeWeese includes in his plan a way for all students to be provided equal educational opportunities. "It should not matter where a student lives; good schools are a right for all our children," DeWeese said.
DeWeese uses some of his experiences in the former Chattanooga City Schools and Hamilton County School District. He says, "Our schools have let our community down over the years. My research shows that communities all over the country are going through some of the frustrations we've had here. All too often, adult interests are placed ahead of the students."
DeWeese says, "It is my hope that my book will make a difference, locally and nationally."
Turning Our Schools Upside Down will be published and released on November 28, 2011, by Create Space a sub company of Amazon.com.
Book and author information may be found by visiting the website: Turning Our Schools Upside Down.