Joe Nocera has a column today in The New York Times titled Addressing Poverty in Schools. In it, he speaks highly of the work by Turnaround For Children, an organization that places a team of four staff in some New York City schools to focus on the most at-risk students. I’ve previously posted postively about the organization — see “How a Few Bad Apples Ruin Everything.”

It sounds like they do good work, though I am concerned by a paper written by its director, which Nocera linked to in his column. It seemed to be remarkably naive in its praise for much of what “school reformers” have done, especially in charter schools, and didn’t give any indication that the Director knew anything about the “creaming”component of charters (see The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools).

In fact, the more I learned about it, the more I wondered: Instead of creating another organization, why not give each school the same amount of money to hire three or four trained school counselors? In my experience, at least, trained counselors do much of what the Turnaround For Children staff do, and what they don’t do now is because there are so few of them in every school. With more of them, there doesn’t seem to me to be any barrier to them taking on all of the responsibilities listed in the job descriptions of the Turnaround staff.

Am I missing something?