How to improve student achievement in schools – Top Ten

by Lonnie Palmer

1) Implement one-hour-long, end-of-year assessments in Math and Reading at grades 3-8 1234607_10152320755532715_1911863146_nthat are publicly available and scored immediately. (And demand it of the “testing” companies.)

2) Train school administrators to work with teachers to cooperatively select 2-4 instructional improvement goals each year and follow a plan to implement the improvements. Encourage teachers to work with their peers observing while they practice their improvements.

3) Lobby for a change in the law as suggested in chapter “Creating Quality with Tenure” of the book “Why We Failed: 40 Years of Education Reform” that would eliminate “statistically absolute tenure” and raise the profile of the teaching profession.

4) Craft and implement effective State Education Department (SED) and Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) approved professional performance improvement plans.

5) Lobby the state education department to change school test performance comparisons to properly take poverty into account. And don’t wait for them. Do it yourself.

6) Incorporate SED approved authentic assessments as 20 percent of final score into all grade 3-8 Math and Reading end-of-year tests and all Regents exit exams

7) Change special education rules so that any teacher with an appropriate certificate (math, social studies, elementary, not just special education) can tutor students outside the school day and meet learning disabled students’ special education program requirements.

8) In persistently failing school districts replace the school board with three retired school superintendents (paid as consultants) and replace the superintendent and any other poor performing administrators with interims who have the power to change operations.

9) In lieu of charter schools (school choice in general) provide parents of poverty students “cash rental vouchers” so they can move to nearby successful suburban school districts.

10) Use the book “Why We Failed: 40 Years of Education Reform” to create productive discussions and writing tasks for training teachers, principals, superintendents and school board members.


Lonnie Palmer is the author of the solutions based book
Why We Failed: 40 Years of Education Reform, 518-366-6148