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Geoffrey Canada suggests sending bad teachers to the suburbs

Harlem Children’s Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada announced this weekend that he’s launching a new nonprofit, Learn NY, to support mayoral control of the public schools.

Canada is toeing the Bloomberg administration line pretty close in this battle. But he does of course have a mind of his own — and sometimes his ideas are unconventional.

Last week at the Campaign for Educational Equity symposium at Teachers College, Canada semi-jokingly proposed a redistribution scheme for teachers. “All the lousy teachers, we should send to the upper-middle-class communities,” he said. “In those communities a kid could have a lousy teacher and still survive.”

Canada said he’d been pitching the idea to audiences around the country so he thought he should tell New Yorkers about it as well. The idea is based on research that says high-quality teaching can do the most to help poor children do better academically.

(Building off the same research, Chancellor Joel Klein has tried to build in incentives to attract teachers to low-performing schools, but to my knowledge has never publicly suggested transferring bad teachers to affluent communities.)

The event was the same one where Canada worried that fixating on “outcomes” could hurt poor communities.