It seems everyone these days wants to be like Mike. Harrison School District 2 Superintendent Mike Miles, that is.
Miles has instigated a lot of change in Harrison, including a new system that will base teachers' pay on students' performance. The idea is spreading across the country — even the president gives it his stamp of approval.
And yet, this is a very new idea. And basically untested.
I got a call the other day from Bridget Stone. Two years ago, Stone's eldest son was a Harrison student. Stone told me she'd been concerned since shortly after Miles came to the district in 2006; her son's teachers seemed more skittish, and more concerned with themselves than her kid.
Then came the last straw.
Her son came home with a report card with every behavioral concern checked. Upset, Stone confronted the teacher. As it turned out, Stone's son had a headache one day and laid his head on his desk. That caused a principal to score the teacher badly during an observation, negatively effecting the teacher's evaluation.
The teacher told Stone: I had to do something.
So did Stone. She pulled her boy out of Harrison. She didn't like this kind of change.
"They've lost touch with the fact that these are children, real human children," Stone says. "[Kids] need more than test scores."