I went into the sit down a bit skeptical of what I would hear and the direction the conversation would go. This was the first chance I have had to listen to Mr. Brizard and as a “hope to be one day parent” living within the RCSD I wanted to walk out feeling confident in the leader of the District. I can honestly say that my expectations were exceeded. I was ready to hear the status quo on how things are the way they are and there is no changing them. I couldn’t have walked in further from the truth.
A few things that I liked hearing. Thinning the heard of teachers who do not perform and recognizing those that do. Giving power to the principles where needed and yes, taking some power from them back into the administration. 15 new principles brought on lately if my memory serves me correct.
Another topic touched on was working with the Charter Schools. I personally like what I see from many Charter Schools. He made a great statement, something to the effect of “Charter Schools shatter the concept that poor children cannot learn”. He did indentify some of the great success we have already seen within the city from our Charter Schools and how their difference in structure can benefit the RCSD in its own planning and design.
He did say that he would like to see some legislation passed that would make for an easier environment of reforming schools. He wisely would not take a stance on the Mayoral Control issue.
He also touched on truancy as being a large factor in the low graduation rates. It is very difficult for a child to graduate when they are not in school at all. He outlined some of the ways that the schools will be held more accountable for making sure their students are in their desks. He was also willing to take some of the blame on the RCSD for some of the dropouts through being forced out due to poor attendance. Something I had not considered before.
Overall I will say that I feel much more confident in the direction that the RCSD is heading after listening to the person laying out the vision of what it can be. I understand that not one person can completely change the situation as there are many factors going into it. He made another good point that if we can change the school district, the parents we will be dealing with in the next 10 years will be much different than the ones now. I wish him well as his job is no small task. I look forward to seeing and hearing more from him.