Can we fire our way to success?
Absolutely not. I would love to see how experienced teachers are at non-AYP and AYP schools, as in the current system, more experienced teachers earn more money. At most of the schools I've been at that were struggling, the teaching staff was predominantly young and less experienced.
What role do charter schools play in driving public school transformation?
This is an area that makes me sad. I wish public schools and the unions would drive the school transformation process. I am a huge proponent of public education and unions, but too often we are preventing reform, instead of suggesting and empowering it. Public education needs more funding, and that is something we just don't have. We have to figure out how to more with less.
I think charter schools have some powerful things we can learn, but it's not the only way that can reform the schools, and it's not going to solve things for all students.
What state and federal policies have driven the students in your school to success?
I think there have been some good policies, however too many of these good policies are underfunded. I personally don't see much good in the federal programs, it's too remote from the local schools. However, there have been many important reforms in schools that would have been impossible without the federal government (title IX, special education, de-segregation), but for every positive, you have something like NCLB, which, while forcing us to focus on the failings of our school system, has created a school grading system that will have every school eventually fail.
Our state in Minnesota has historically had very strong support of education. The state funding model is one that should be copied throughout the country, as I have never seen inner city schools as well funded as the one's in Minneapolis. Hopefully, with a Democratic Governor, there can be some increases in funding, as well as improvements in how certain programs are funded.