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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.

Mike Strembitsky and Site-Management in Edmonton

Over 25 years ago a ‘discontented teacher’ who became superintendent gave Edmonton, Canada what might be the most-decentralized arrangement in North America. But Edmonton is different than American cities, and Mike Strembitsky's model does not transplant easily.

Albert Shanker: The Importance of Incentives and Rewards in Education

Albert Shanker said in 1991, before school choice and chartering, “People in other fields dislike change too. But they have to do it. We in education don’t. For us nothing is at stake.” The absence of an internal impetus for change leads us to prescribe "mandates." But why not find what is blocking change inside K-12, and fix that?

Creating the Capacity for Change

This first chapter of Ted Kolderie's book Creating the Capacity for Change expands the 'theory of action' for state policy leadership. It explains why governors' and legislatures' efforts to open a new-schools sector is imperative for public education, to enable it to do the job it has now been given to do.

Milwaukee As a Site for Education-Policy Change

Milwaukee has been the most interesting site for education policy in America, though not for the reason (vouchers) usually cited by the media. Howard Fuller and others-involved tell the story of the struggle since the 1970s.

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.

The Need to Strengthen the Policy Framework for New Schools

Ted Kolderie speaks on five key challenges of creating new schools: 1) showing the public the need for new schools, 2) finding a place within law for new schools, 3) making state departments more open to changes, 4) finding strong authorizers for new schools, and 5) evaluating the new schools which are opening.

Education Finance: More money or different spending choices?

In policy debate the discussion about money is often about ‘how much?’ The conclusion is almost always: ‘Not enough!’ This report looks inside schools and districts at differences in how money is actually spent. It suggests that the size of school and district, the governance arrangement and the degree to which teachers are involved in decision-making influence the allocation of revenue to instruction.

Minnesota Now Reports Revenue and Expenditure by School

In 1999 the Minnesota Legislature required all revenue to be initially allocated by school. Boards may re-allocate, but schools and parents can now see how much money 'belongs' to the school as a result of the students enrolled.

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.

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.

Electronics Technology for Public School Systems: A Superintendent’s View

George Young, in 1981 superintendent of St. Paul, foresaw technology as a tool not to replace teachers, but to help them do their jobs. Using technology to individualize education can reform a system where students are lumped into grades and instructed as a group regardless of their learning style and abilities.

Mother Teresa As a Charter School

Institutions other than public education have found it useful not to let the mission depend on just a single organization. Historically the Catholic Church has been one of these. There is the hierarchy, but there are also the orders.

District-Initiated Chartered Schools

Some districts see chartering as a part of their strategy for change and improvement. Here we review three Minnesota districts that authorize chartered schools: Faribault, Hopkins and Waseca. The 'common market' approach of pooling courses, facilities, programs and transportation of district, chartered, private and home schooling in Faribault is particularly striking.

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.

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