Nicky Morgan is considering importing the next Chief Inspector of Schools from the USA, the Telegraph reports.
These are the contenders according to the paper:
Dave Levin, co-founder of the Knowledge is Power Programme (KIPP) group credited with raising performance of deprived, particularly black, pupils. But KIPP has been accused of selecting the most-motivated poor students and of having a high rate of attrition among black pupils.
KIPP pupils did badly in the 2013 Common Core Tests in New York. This led Michael Petrilli, an education analyst at the Thomas B Fordham Institute, to suggest ‘we have to be more careful about claims of miracle schools’.
Doug Lemov, head of the Uncommon Schools charter school chain and author of Teach Like A Champion, described by Jane Manzone, a North London Primary Teacher as ‘the new teacher training bible because it is infinitely more digestible and practical in a data-driven landscape demanding results.’ She wasn’t being altogether complimentary – she was expressing concern that such quick-fix tips-for-teachers were driving out intellectual engagement with educational theorists and philosophers.
Eva Moskowitz, chief executive of Success Academy Charter Schools. Two days ago, the New York Times described a video of a teacher at a Success Academy Charter School abusing a first-grade pupil, ripping up her work and ordering her sharply to sit in the ‘calm-down chair’.
Moskowitz said the video was an ‘anomaly’ but interviews with 20 past and current Success teachers said that while the teacher’s behaviour was ‘extreme’, much of it wasn’t ‘uncommon’ within the Success network. You can watch the video here.
Joel Klein, who ‘took on the teaching unions’ when chancellor of New York Schools. He later joined Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation as leader of News Corp’s growing education division. Klein was invited by Michael Gove to attend the first (and only) Free School Conference in 2011. Gove was later grilled over his relationship with Murdoch and Klein at the Leveson Inquiry.
Klein was head of Amplify, a News Corp subsidiary linked with Wireless Generation to introduce tablet technology into USA schools. Amplify employed Rachel Wolf, first director of the New Schools Network, the tax-payer funded charity which supports free schools. Amplify performed poorly and was sold in Autumn 2015 to its management team. Klein stepped down as CEO but is still on Amplify’s board.
Two days ago, the New York Times reported that Klein was leaving education to join Oscar, a New York health insurance start-up. It’s unlikely, then, that Klein will have sufficient free time to become Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools. Meanwhile, Wolf has returned to the UK and joined the team of advisers at Number 10 on £80,000 (pro-rata) – rather more than your average teacher pay.
An in-depth knowledge of education in England is not essential to become Ofsted chief, apparently. Neither is any experience of working in English schools. Involvement in the US charter school movement appears vital despite US charters only showing ‘modest’ improvements after 20 years of investment, controversy and schools opening and closing. And ‘taking on the unions’ is also deemed a desirable quality.
Ofsted is supposed to be independent of Government. Its role is to inspect services for children and young people and services offering education and skills. It is supposed to be impartial. Nicky Morgan appears to have no regard for such niceties. It’s clear she regards the Chief HMI as a political appointment whose prime loyalty is to the Government.
UPDATE 16 February 2016 0756: Lemov and Moskowitz have ruled themselves out of the running, according to TES.
UPDATE 18 February 2016 09.17. TES reports that Levin says he hasn't been contacted (officially) by the DfE. That just leaves Klein but he's just started a new job.