By Lars Johnson
Ted Kolderie has a guest post this week in an Education Week blog: A Little 'Lateral Thinking' Will Answer the Teacher Quality/Accountability Question. He proposes a way out of chronic issues with teachers, unions, and accountability that have been boiling recently, in the wake of the Vergara case.
Kolderie stresses that the solution lies in re-defining the problem and re-thinking the traditional boss/worker arrangement—where teachers are employees managed by administrators. He suggests we shift to a new arrangement where teachers are given the authority to call the shots about learning. Under these new conditions, Kolderie argues that teachers would internalize accountability for the success of their students and schools.
Read more and find out how Kolderie proposes we could get this policy change in motion...
By Lars Johnson
This afternoon, at 2pm CT, Education Evolving will launch our new Teacher-Powered Schools Initiative at the Education Writers Association’s 67th National Seminar’s “Teachers Take Charge” panel discussion.
Today’s launch coincides with the release of our new national survey data that that reveal overwhelming public support and teacher interest in a professional partnership model of teacher leadership, or “teacher-powered schools.”
This new initiative is laser-focused on improving student learning and making teaching a better job for teachers. Teacher-powered schools aim to transform K-12 education in the U.S.—not from the top-down, but from the ground up—by cultivating a collaborative school governance structure where teachers, principals, parents, and community leaders are empowered to work together toward a shared vision of what students and schools could achieve.
As an advocate for teachers, I hope you will join us. Here are five ways you can learn more, get involved, and spread the word:
Thanks for your support as we launch this new initiative and inspire educators nationwide about the possibilities of the profession through Teacher-Powered Schools.
In our 21st-century global economy, shouldn’t we consider knowledge of world language and skills with digital tools when we define academic achievement? What about persistence and determination? Business communities demand problem-solving and collaboration skills; why are we not including them in our definition?
Take a look at this commentary that ran in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on March 11, by Education Evolving’s Senior Associate, Robert Wedl, and Hector Garcia, Executive Director of the MN Latino Chicano Affairs Council. They assert that we must revamp our definition of “achievement” to include knowledge and skills not being measured by our current standardized tests.
Save the date: March 20-21, 2014
Join Innovative Quality Schools in Saint Paul for an exciting conference designed for professional teachers.
Conference purposes include:
This conference is “hands on” with numerous sessions with teachers who are leading their schools. Some of these professionals are in their first year and others have been using this practice for up to 15 years. All presenters are in the public schools sector of education... some district and others chartered. There will be time for direct discussions with teachers of teacher-led schools.
To learn more or to register, please see the conference website.
By Lars Johnson
On Sunday, January 26th, Education Evolving's Curt Johnson will keynote an interactive event designed to introduce children and families to personalized learning.
Students will have a chance to experiment with adaptive educational games, much like those used by Mr. Pai in our A Split Screen Strategy video from last year.
From the event's webpage: Does your student fit the mold? Join other parents and educators to explore the possibility for all students to learn to their full potential, not struggle through their education.
The event will be held at AFSA High School (address below), from 2 to 4pm. More information is available on the event's Facebook page.
AFSA High School
100 Vadnais Blvd.
Vadnais Heights, MN 55127
By Ted Kolderie
Almost unheard of, in all the talk about the more conspicuous issues in K-12 education today, is California's decision to stop trying to control and regulate its school districts so tightly.
For 40 years or more California has tried to run public education out of Sacramento. The state selects the textbooks; approves the districts construction plans; tells the districts what to do and how to do it. The education code, the education statutes, fill about seven volumes; run to about 5,600 pages.
Now Gov. Jerry Brown and the (Democratic) Legislature have decided this does not work -- and so are on their way to devolving financial flexibility and greater autonomy back to California's roughly 1,000 districts.
This dramatically new approach was described in discussions here November 21-23 with Eric Premack. A Minneapolis native, graduate of Washburn High School, Eric has been working in California education policy, close to the policy-making, for about 20 years. He formed and runs the Charter School Development Center which has as members about 40 percent of the schools in the nation's largest state charter sector.
His visit to Minnesota was organized by Education|Evolving; one in a series intended to broaden the discussion about education policy in Minnesota.
Eric also talked about the conflict between California and the U.S. Department of Education: As the state of California withdraws from excessive regulation, Washington appears to be moving in.
By Lars Johnson
Innovative Quality Schools, a Minnesota charter school authorizer, has again this year issued a Request for Proposals to start new chartered schools in Minnesota.
Highest priority will be given to proposals which (a) propose new and innovative models of school and schooling; or (b) draw from a demonstrated research base. IQS recognizes the need to both try new things, and to replicate what's been shown to work.
IQS provides an interesting example of a new breed of "proactive authorizer" -- actively seeking out proposals for high quality schools.
Letters of intent should be submitted by January 31, 2014. Application deadline is March 1, 2014. Read more about the RFP.
Education Evolving invites you to a discussion with a leading national actor and analyst on education policy. Eric Premack, a Minneapolis native, will be here November 21 at 3 pm in the North Klas room at the Anderson Center on the Hamline University campus.
California is the largest state in the nation. What happens there is often a harbinger for what will likely spread further. Premack has lived and worked there for more than 20 years; he runs one of the largest charter school development organizations in the country. He’s become a trusted adviser to the state board and the governor there.
Eric will have great insights into what’s coming next—with the advent of the Common Core, the next wave of efforts to close achievement gaps, the surge in schools using digital electronics, the growing tension between the forces of centralization and the aspirations for more local control. He’s sure to have something to say about the standoff brewing between federal orthodoxy on waivers and states’ desires for more diverse strategies. That tension could also play out soon in Minnesota.
While Premack will make some remarks to get us going, we’re serious about this being a discussion – no long lectures, no boring panels. There’s no charge, but we need to know who’s coming, so let us know by confirming with Andrew Rockway (firstname.lastname@example.org). A light reception will follow the discussion.
Stay tuned. We’ll be announcing additional speakers for the winter season soon.
By Ted Kolderie
The growing desire to 'do something' about education is paralleled by a growing uncertainty about what exactly to do. A project organized by the Harvard Graduate School of Education concluded: "If we keep doing what we're doing, we're never going to get there". It concluded that the basic K-12 system will have to be changed in some fundamental way.
Jal Mehta at HGSE wrote the book setting out its five possible 'futures for school reform'. The project neither chose among the alternatives nor explained how to implement any of them. The thinking it produced is, however, a major contribution to the nation's policy discussion. October 24-25 Education|Evolving brought Mehta to Minnesota for discussions about its conclusions. Here are notes from his presentation and from the discussions with individuals and organizations around the Twin Cities.
By Ted Kolderie
It's time to start reconsidering the old institution of 'adolescence'.
Have a look at this Commentary that ran in the StarTribune in Minnesota, October 13, 2013. It was intended to provoke a discussion about that curious, and particularly American, notion: the "artificial prolongation of childhood past puberty".
That was done, 100 years ago, with good intentions; in the interest of 'child welfare'. But the question today is whether adolescence has now become harmful -- to young people and to our society.
Clearly, in the past and today, we see some young people doing remarkably adult and impressive things at a surprisingly early age. So that capacity to achieve is there. But: Are we developing those talents, accomplishments, as far as we could be? Why do we continue this inter-generational conflict: adults trying to suppress the teens behaviors they don't like; teenagers in response not-liking adults?
Is it possible that young people have today become the most systematically discriminated-against class of people in our society?
Why, for heaven's sake, does the whole effort to improve student learning go on with nobody even questioning what psychologist Robert Epstein calls the 'infantalizing' effect of adolescence?
Think about it, will you? Let's see if we can start a productive discussion about this country getting so much more from its young people. We'd very much like to know what you think -- and what you suggest.