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Indianapolis Cancels Teacher-Led School Turnaround Contract

The Indianapolis school board has cancelled a contract with the nonprofit Teach Plus to implement a school turnaround in three schools, reports Chalkbeat Indiana.

Turnaround Teacher Teams, or T3, works by drawing a cohort of excellent teachers to those schools and giving them extra professional development and a $6,000 stipend. The idea is that teachers working together can set a new direction for a school. T3 is operational in Boston; Holyoke, Mass., and the District of Columbia (I wrote about the Boston project a few years back for Education Week). It's one of several initiatives by the Boston-based nonprofit, which also runs policy programs for mid-career teachers.

The $750,000 contract was supposed to target three schools in Indianapolis, but as Chalkbeat reports, the board reversed course Oct. 29 for what looks like a number of interrelated reasons.

For one, a local director of Teach Plus, though not involved in the T3 program, is a board member, and reportedly allied with individuals challenging other members for board seats. There were cost concerns about the contract. The ever-present issue of differentiated pay raised its head: At least one board member favored giving all teachers raises, not just those participating in the program. And finally, the board president reversed her vote, questioning why the district launched the program before a vote on the contract was finalized.

Just what will happen to the two dozen participating teachers, who have already been assigned to their schools, remains to be seen. 

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