Teachers take charge to save ailing public schools
LOS ANGELES—Four years ago, Francis Parkman Middle School was spiraling downward with plummeting enrollment, abysmal test scores and notoriety for unruliness. Then teachers stepped out of the classroom and took charge of the school.
Today, the rechristened Woodland Hills Academy, named for the school's suburban location north of Los Angeles, is run by a teacher-controlled committee where the principal carries the same weight as a teacher and the district has minimal say in operations.
Test scores are up 18 percent and enrollment has spiked more than 30 percent. The model works, teachers say, because everyone from the principal to the janitor is vested in the outcome. "Everybody has a stake," said teacher Bruce Newborn. "We all suffer and we all win."
Fed up with being blamed for failing students, classroom teachers from Boston to Los Angeles are taking over their schools in a small but growing trend in the