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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?

Will More Money Alone Produce Better Results?

Many American tax payers seem willing to raise their taxes to further fund public education. While lack of funding is often viewed as being at the root of our failing education system, raises in per-pupil spending have shown to be less influential than we'd like to believe. Might there be another answer to fixing schools?

Windows on the Next Generation of Charter Schools and Chartering

A look at the next generation of chartered schools and the environment in which they live. We will need to diversify charter authorizers, document the progress of existing chartered schools, find ways to finance facilities and transportation, and find new ways to organize extra-curricular activities.

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.

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.

Origins of the Charter Idea

A quick summary of the major mileposts in the evolution of the chartering laws. 2002.

Teachers Propose Eliminating 31 Jobs to Improve Their Pay in Forest Lake

A newspaper reporter discovered a letter from the union to the board of education, offering to sacrifice 31 teachers' jobs in order to generate revenue for the salary settlement.

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.

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.

Clayton Christensen: Why Organizations Find Major Change So Difficult

Clayton Christensen explains how hard it is for existing organizations to change in more than incremental ways, and why significant change requires the creation of new organizations. His research has huge implications for a K-12 strategy that relies on the notion that it will be possible to improve the schools we have.

Chartering is Both an Innovation and a Framework for Innovation

Chartering was an institutional innovation: the states broke up the public-utility model of K-12. But charter laws do not prescribe some fixed kind of school. They open the potential to create a wide variety of schools. Chartering is essentially an R&D sector for K-12. Research should pay more attention to single cases, individual innovations.

The Case for Decentralized Management

Notes from a workshop on school-based management. Ron Hubbs, former chairman and CEO of a major insurance company, tries to explain to superintendents why it really is better to let people closer to the working-level make most of the decisions. There's an astonishing response from one superintendent present.

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.

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 Emergence of an ‘Open Sector’ in Urban Education

The "Open Sector" is a reality, as new public schools appear outside the traditional district framework. In a few places districts themselves are proactively creating new independent public schools—in competition with the schools they own and directly run. This policy brief rounds up "Open Sector" activity in 17 major urban communities across the country.

Chelsea Clinton and the D.C. Schools

In response to the Washington Post’s question about problems in DC this small memo asked: If the local school district is not performing why don’t DC residents ask Congress to “get somebody else who will?” In 1993 the suggestion was flatly dismissed. Three years later Congress created a second 'board of education' for DC.

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'.

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.

The Importance of Charter/ing as a Process for Innovation

It is quite possible for charter/ing to be succeeding in a state – or in this country - even though many of the schools charter/ed are not. A real obligation lies on those in the research community to evaluate the process of new-school-creation separately - and with measures appropriate to the research-and-development process which in fact it is.

Creating New Schools: Promising Strategy for Change?

While almost everyone wants schools to be better, almost nobody wants them to be different. Yet becoming better usually involves changing the service or product. Think about improving travel, communication, computing. Systems need to be open to new models, to innovation. Now, with the states opening K-12 to new schools, innovation becomes increasingly possible.

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