Detroit: Crumbling Walls, Millions for Marzano

On Saturday, I wrote about Dr. Marzano.

Since then, teachers from around the country have told me how wasteful and insulting they find his latest professional development scheme.

Teachers with many years of experience are told to take down their classroom rules and replace them with “Codes of Conduct” and “Standard Operating Procedures.”  During workshops, teachers are asked to self-assess their understanding of material by placing stickers beside their names on a wall chart. Those in the Reinventing Schools program are told to come up with a “shared vision” for their school – but the shared vision must “align” with that established by the district administrators.

Meanwhile, teachers in the iObservation program are under the grip of Marzano’s 60-point plan.

“It doesn’t matter if it makes sense for the teacher to use it or not,” one teacher told me. “We’re forced to use the model or risk a negative evaluation.”

“Teachers of students with severe and profound disabilities have to pretend to employ the strategies,” another told me.

Most staggering, however, came news from Detroit.

Under emergency manager Darnell Earley (now famous for his role in the Flint water crisis), Detroit recently signed a $6 million year-long contract with Marzano’s consulting services.

Perhaps you’ve seen some of the latest pictures from Detroit schools:





Detroit is also undergoing a severe teacher shortage.

So why pay Marzano $6 million, when these resources are clearly needed elsewhere?

“We’re using funds that were earmarked only for development,” Earley told a local new station.

Sorry, Earley.

“The funds may be used to hire teachers, but not for administrative purposes such as Human Resources,” a spokesperson from the State Superintendent of Schools told the news station.

Fortunately, Detroit teachers aren’t ones to lie down and roll over. At at least one school, teachers dressed in black for a day of protest that they called “Mourning Marzano.”


We’re mourning with you, Detroit.






Author: Emily Talmage

My name is Emily Talmage and I teach fourth grade at Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine. In addition to teaching in Lewiston, I have also taught special education and general education in New York City, including one year at a “high-performing” charter school in Brooklyn. I also have two master’s degrees; one in Urban Education from Mercy College, and another in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. I have also worked as a research analyst and assistant at the National Center for Children and Families at Columbia and Oldham Innovative Research in Portland.

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