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School Boards and Teachers Have Choices, Too

In K-12 policy discussions, "choice" usually implies family choice. But school boards and teachers have options, too. Boards can choose to authorize chartered schools, which may be easier than trying to change their existing schools. And, teachers can choose to form teacher professional partnerships in their schools.

Is it Time to Reconsider the Notion of 'Adolescence'?

Not too long ago, one former state commissioner says, our high schools were filled with children. Today they are filled with young people who are essentially adults—being treated still as children. Is it time now to move young people more into adult roles by age 16. If we did, what would that suggest for K-12?

Professionals and Administrators: Two Models of Organization

Notes from an evening with a group of teachers, and the partners in a law firm and a medical clinic. The discussion about the relationship of professionals and administrators, in law and medicine, compared to the relationship of teachers and principal in a typical school, is fascinating especially with regards to authority and pay.

The Valley Crossing School as a Precedent for Contracting

Three local districts in Minnesota’s metropolitan suburbs share an elementary school didn't build, don’t own and don’t themselves staff. The Valley Crossing school is a kind of virtual organization; a fascinating case in the use of contracts.

Sponsoring Chartered Schools: A Planning Tool for Sponsors

Most organizations considering authorizing charter schools do not know what it involves. This tool identifies authorizing duties, and asks whether an organization has the capacity to perform each responsibility, who would perform the responsibility, whether time is available for them to do so, and the estimated cost.

Is Chartering, as a Strategy, Succeeding?

It's time to bury the term 'charter schools' and to talk separately about chartering—the state strategy of new-school-creation—and the schools created via chartering. Chartering is succeeding even though not all the schools-chartered are succeeding. Article appeared in the December 2005 issue of UrbanEd.

Ray Budde and the Origins of the ‘Charter Concept’

In 1988, Albert Shanker began to float the idea of "letting teachers start schools within schools." But, he acknowledged he picked up the term "charter" from Ray Budde, from a paper titled "Education by Charter". Ted Kolderie recounts Budde's reaction to chartering, with lessons for today’s policy leaders on the virtues of diligence, patience, deference and humility.

Trend Accelerating Toward an ‘Open Sector’ in Public Education.

A policy brief providing an update on the current status of chartered schools and charter-ing in Minnesota. Includes the latest statistics on the charters that are operating in the 2004-2005 school year, information on the most recent round of charter approvals, an update on Minnesota’s growing cadre of sponsors and more.

Sample Contract Between Charter School and Authorizer

A sample contract between a chartered school and its authorizer. A contract includes mission and goals of the school, definitions of student and school performance, and details on governance, finances, and operations. For each area there are performance measures, with special measures for the start-up year.

A Model RFP: Second Generation Evaluations of Chartered Schools and Chartering

Traditional "charter" evaluation is focusing on the wrong questions. To know "what's working" researchers must focus on the institutional innovation of chartering rather than trying to generalize about the very diverse collection of schools. This RFP is designed to elicit recommendations on ways to strengthen chartered schools and to improve the state's overall policy framework for chartering.

It’s a Revenue Game

Districts are unable to control their costs, Minnesota superintendents concede. This helps explain a central notion in K-12, that all budget problems are to be solved on the revenue side.

Resisting the Temptation to Comprehensive Action

Consider a given public policy problem. Everyone sees the problem is complex. From this comes an impulse to control all its elements. Everyone sees the importance of improvement. From this comes an impulse to command improvement. Together these produce the 'blueprints' we so often see: lists of actions all of which must be taken, in a certain order, over a period of time. But in the public sector blueprints usually fail. Mechanisms of "mutual adjustment" usually work better.

Revitalizing Public Education with Charter Schools

A superintendent and a former school board member from a Wisconsin school district wrote how chartered schools, because of autonomy from district leadership and state mandates, have revitalized public education. “Charter schools can expeditiously address the needs of today’s students in order to improve the quality of their lives for tomorrow,” they say.

Virtual Education Growing Up: Five Online Schools Already Operating in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin some districts are pulling home-schooled students into online schools set up by the districts.

A Viable High School in a Small Rural District

Nontraditional forms of school do exist that are economically and educationally viable at the scale of 120 students. This has huge implications for rural America's sparsely-settled areas. The trick is to think differently about teaching and learning. An article in the magazine of the superintendents' association in Minnesota.

Charter Schools: Now What?

The (then) executive director Colorado School Boards Association Randy Quinn wondered, after the chartering law passed over its opposition, whether this new idea might not really be “a blessing in disguise” for boards of education.

Cost of Sponsoring MN Charter Schools

Chartering cannot work without quality sponsoring/authorizing. Quality sponsoring requires good systems, competent people and time. That means: money. We studied what it cost three Minnesota sponsors to review applications, develop contracts and oversee schools, over a three-year period.

What is a Teacher Professional Partnership?

In most occupations we consider, ‘professional’ people do have the opportunity to work with partners in single- or multi-specialty groups they collectively own. But not in education. For heaven’s sake, why not? This is Chapter One from Teachers As Owners. Purchase the full book at Amazon.com.

Chartering Is Succeeding, Even as Some Chartered Schools Fail

Usually when you hear about 'charter schools' people are talking about the schools themselves. But 'charter schools' also means the strategy of chartering, the state's creation of an 'open sector' in public education. This is less visible. But the state's opening-up of K-12 is more important than the schools.

Measuring Quality in Health Care and Education

In health care, as in education, there is pressure to increase revenue. In K-12 this results from a need to improve quality; in health care, from a need to expand access. Like clinics and hospitals, K-12 districts seeking additional revenue like to say "my cases are tougher." Walt McClure describes techniques for measuring quality that show major differences in effectiveness among the 'producers'.

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