in which we imagine a day in the life of an “educational coordinator” at one of the Success Academy Charter Schools.
Educational Coordinator: a 21 year old marketing major from a state college in the midwest.
Teacher: A 24 year old engineering major from an Ivy League university.
EC: “Buffy, can you come in my office for a moment, please?”
T: “Yes, Mr. Scorewell, what can I do for you?”
EC: “I was looking at the latest practice test scores from your third grade class.”
T (clearly nervous): “Oh, and how were they?”
EC: “Your class is making progress, but it’s just not enough. You know, the state tests are just a month away….”
T (starts to sweat): “I know, Mr. Scorewell, I’ve been calling their parents on the phone every night. They promised me they would get their kids to work harder. I even told them that their kids would stay in for recess if they don’t score better.”
EC (clears his throat): “Really, you’ve been calling each and every one of those parents?”
T (eyes dart around): “Well, it’s been getting really hard. Truthfully, they’re kind of tired from hearing me talk endlessly about ‘test this, test that.’ You would think they just don’t care anymore. They just want their kids to get a good education and be happy in school.”
EC (pounds the table): “Damn you, Buffy, you know this isn’t about getting a good education or being happy. It’s about getting those scores high as possible!”
T: “Couldn’t we just do what we did last year? (she mimes erasing motions in the air)
EC (pounds table again): “Blast you, Buffy, didn’t I make it clear we couldn’t try that again! Now have you got any suggestions to improve those test scores in your classroom?”
T: “Maybe we could have a pep rally and give away prizes to kids who get the highest scores?”
EC (tapping head): “I read something about “data walls.” Maybe we can tell the kids we’re going to post their names and scores when the results come in.”
T (loosening collar around neck): “You mean, like shaming them if they don’t perform better? I don’t know about….”
EC (pounds fist on table): “Buffy, are you with us, or are you against us? Remember, contract renewal time is coming up. I have a stack of over 20 resumes on my desk from Ivy League grads from around the country who are going to be needing work once graduation season arrives.”
T (hanging her head low) “Okay, I’ll do it. But do we have to call it a ‘data wall?’ It doesn’t really sound nice…”
EC (tapping head): “You may be right. How about the “Wall of Fame” for those who do well, and “Wall of Shame” for those who don’t?”
T (eyes wide): “No, no, don’t you see? That’s worse! Okay, ‘data wall’ it is. May I go now? I really need to go to the bathroom, because I have to teach for the next 3 hours without a break..”
EC: And don’t forget, you’re scheduled for the telethon this afternoon. Those donation checks from the hedge fund managers are not going to find us by themselves!”
T: Well, as a matter of fact, I do have a stack of papers to go through….
EC: Oh, and Buffy, don’t forget to call the parents tonight and tell them about the data wall, will you? That will really inspire them.
T: Yes, Mr. Scorewell, I will. (rushing to the bathroom…)