education, Charlotte, kudos:

Gorman decided he needed a new approach. He considered simply transferring his best principals to his most challenging schools, but Yale economics professor Justine Hastings talked him out of it. “She told me that if I forced people to switch jobs, I would see the performance of some dip, while others would find another job.” So Gorman decided to try a “pull” strategy—a way to entice principals to view these transfers as a desired challenge. Starting in 2008, with great fanfare, Gorman announced a new annual districtwide competition to identify the most effective principals. Winners of the “Strategic Staffing Initiative” would be chosen based on hard data like the growth in their students’ achievement scores rather than how long they’d served or how well their school was regarded.

Before announcing the winners to the TV cameras, however, the persuasive Gorman met privately with the principals and made them an offer he hoped they wouldn’t refuse: what he billed as the “opportunity” to turn around one of the district’s failing schools. As part of the three-year deal, they’d receive a 10 percent raise and more freedom from district rules. They would also get the chance to pick an eight-person transformation team—each of whom would get a raise, too. The winning principals could also “transfer out” up to five teachers from their new school, including obstructionists, underperformers, and leaders of what principals call “the toxic lunchroom.” In exchange, Gorman said, “we expected them to transform the culture of the school to one in which high academic achievement is expected and achieved.”

Amazingly, every winner accepted the challenge.

via How One District Fixed Its Failing Schools – Newsweek.