The USDOE's new Americorp for turnaround schools hopes to engage engage hundreds of AmeriCorps members in turning around low-performing schools across the country. These AmeriCorps members, the USDOE claims, will help students, teachers, and principals to transform struggling schools by providing opportunities for academic enrichment, extended learning time, and individual supports for students. Furthermore, it is asserted that these interventions will lead to increased academic achievement and improved high school graduation rates and college readiness among our most disadvantaged students.
Transforming struggling schools into places that foster learning and development is no doubt challenging work and it is work that requires engagement from muliple stake holder groups. One has to wonder, however, whether this new initiative is what struggling schools need. Is turnaround the right model? How will Americorp members be trained to work with school and community personnel on this initative? What additional resources will be invested? etc.