We have become convinced that in our nation's struggling urban
schools, teachers and would-be education reformers are battling through a
hurricane that shows no signs of abating. We call this hurricane
Churn is a remarkable instability among school personnel that
makes it nearly impossible to build a professional community or develop
long-term relationships with students. It happens when teachers are
treated like interchangeable parts who can be moved around cavalierly to
plug a hole in a school schedule. It happens when administrators
repeatedly order teachers to switch to a different grade, teach a
different subject, or move to a different school.
Until last month, Saul Martinez had no idea he goes to school 20 days longer each year than most other fifth-graders in Arizona. Saul is part of a 2-year-old experiment in the Balsz Elementary
School District, the first of two small Phoenix districts to stretch
their school year by a month.