Mayor Jackson worked with a wide network of people who shared his strong desire and his impatience to improve education for all children in Cleveland, including CEO Eric Gordon other officials from the CMSD, the city’s Chief of Education Monyka Price, representatives from the Cleveland and Gund Foundations, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Breakthrough Charter Schools and national thought leaders in the field of education.
The Plan was first drafted to identify barriers to reform and systemic changes needed to enable district-wide reform in CMSD. It was based on research in districts and organizations where reforms are working. Representatives of the Cleveland Teachers Union were engaged through a series of work sessions during which the draft legislation was reviewed, edited and finalized. Recognizing the significant role that teachers play in our schools, Mayor Jackson actively sought and included this critical input from the CTU and the final language for the legislation reflects this important collaboration.
Unlike reform plans of the past that used an incremental approach to fixing Cleveland’s schools, the Plan for Transforming Cleveland Schools recognizes that system-wide change in Cleveland and legislative change in Columbus, are the only way to remove barriers that have too long prevented needed reforms from reaching every child in the district. Already, the bill to implement the Cleveland Plan at the Statehouse is being viewed as one “that could sharply change how public education is delivered in the city and become a model for the rest of the state” (Columbus-Cleveland Plain Dealer – 5-24-12).
The Academic Transformation Plan was launched in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in 2010, with seven goals:
Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools is driven by a greater sense of urgency and recognizes that, under the current collective bargaining agreement and under current law, the pace of change in the CMSD has been neither fast enough nor deep enough to overcome the academic and fiscal challenges of the district. In short, Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools was not written to replace the Academic Transformation Plan, but to support it and to move it more quickly forward so that thousands of children no longer have to wait for needed reforms to reach them.
- To graduate all students ready to compete in the 21st Century
- To provide high quality schools in every neighborhood
- To expand what is working and rethink and change what is not
- To hold everyone accountable for success
- to recruit, support and retain high-quality principals and teachers
- to attract and retain students and families in Cleveland
- To right-size the District by eliminating excess capacity, addressing overcrowding and ensuring the most effective use of our facilities and resources.
It is not fair to ask and unreasonable to expect citizens to pay more for Cleveland’s public schools, if we can’t show them that the school system is working. We have seen remarkable progress under the Academic Transformation Plan. Cleveland’s Plan will result in more quick and widespread improvement of schools and more efficient operation. The school system is facing a sizeable budget deficit and community support is needed in a district that has operated without additional taxes since 1996, but before we ask taxpayers to approve a levy, we can and will demonstrate that their tax dollars will be spent on a more focused, more efficient and more capable system, and the results of their investment will be of tremendous benefit for everyone who lives and works in Cleveland.
Call or write your state legislators. The plan, which seeks no money from the state, requires some changes in state law. Tell your state senator and representative that you support the plan and support giving our children a better chance at succeeding in school and life.