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Redesigning School

Recent School-related Publications

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Let's give adolescents a chance to grow up

The notion of "adolescence" has become a major problem in our society. Might the "infantilization" of capable young people be the cause of much of the deviant behaviors we don't like? Ted Kolderie takes up this question in a October 2013 opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Minnesota's achievement gap: Asking the right questions

There are a number of questions that remain unanswered in discussions about the "achievement gap" in Minnesota. A commentary by Ted Kolderie in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in June 2013.

Schooling, Statistics, and Poverty: Can We Measure School Improvement (Raudenbush)

Under NCLB school quality is indicated by the percentage of students that tests reveal as proficient in various subject areas at a given time. School improvement is the rate at which this percentage increases. The problem is that equating percentage-proficient with school quality cannot withstand serious scientific scrutiny.

Rethinking the Student-Centered Classroom: Personalization and the Type II Application of Technology

Modern technologies, if applied properly, can personalize the process of learning without increasing labor costs. Before this can happen educators must understand there are distinct ways that technologies can be applied. "Type I" applications use technology to make traditional teaching more efficient; "Type II" makes possible teaching and learning in new and fundamentally different ways -- allowing for personalization.

Is the biggest challenge perhaps right in the classroom?

Jack Frymier suggests, in a conversation in St. Paul in 1999, perhaps where education is failing is in the relationship between teachers and students. This is where ‘improvement’ has to focus.

Realizing Deeper Learning: The Economics and Achievements of an Innovative Chartered School Model

An analysis of two innovative chartered schools in Minnesota, including a financial analysis which shows this innovation is possible at a net cost well below district schools of similar demographics. By Charles Kyte, a former superintendent and executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.

What Is Innovation... and What Isn't?

The discussion about "innovation" in K-12 education is coming on rapidly, as the sense grows that K-12 requires radical change. But there is confusion about concepts and terms. Partly, this is because we are all still learning. This brief paper will try to distinguish the various meanings of "innovation."

The Other Half of the Strategy: Following Up on System Reform by Innovating with Schooling

System-level reforms like standards, accountability, choice and chartering make it more necessary for schools to succeed with learning. But these reforms do not by themselves affect achievement. Kids learn from what they read, see, hear and do. So success in the effort at improvement requires capitalizing now on the system-level changes with a major effort to create new forms of school.

Education, Microsoft, and the Individual Entrepreneur

This article discusses the role of large corporations such as Microsoft in partnering with independent entrepreneurs in the classroom. Entrepreneur Bob Bilyk, has created an application LodeStar that, with the aid of Microsoft's Class Server, enables teachers to more effectively customize learning materials to meet students' individual needs.

Brief Survey of 21st Century Skills

What are "21st Century Skills?" Who has articulated them? And, what sorts of assessments exist to measure them? What relationship does the NEA have to all of this? This memo explores some of these questions.

Minnesota's Charter Law is Providing Significant Innovations in School and Schooling

Chartering is hailed as providing a space for innovation in public education. However, research and reporting on chartered schools usually focus on test scores and student demographics, and not on the innovations taking place. This report outlines some of the innovations appearing in Minnesota chartered schools.

Staying In: Youth Explain Why Motivation is Central to Learning and Graduating

This report examines the experiences of youth who quit school or were on the path to quitting. It describes their human, and democratic, desire to choose whether or not they will learn. It finds that once engaged students learn better and that different things motivate different students; no one factor is motivating for all students.

We Cannot Get the Schools We Need by Changing the Schools We Have

We overestimate the ability of leadership to change organizations in more than incremental ways, Joe Graba told a national meeting of foundations in April 2004. The internal culture heavily constrains change. Most change comes through the creation of new organizations.

What Matters to Students and Their Performance?

Students of Minnesota chartered schools say they may have dropped out had they not attended new and different schools. While all of the students appreciated improved relationships with teachers and peers, their different schools, in different ways, enhanced the students’ abilities to learn. Notes from a student panel.

Academic Competitions: A Learning Experience Outside School

What do students' out-of-school learning experiences tell us about how we could design in-school learning models and education policy? Academic competitions are a largely-unexplored aspect of student learning. Such competitions deserve additional attention from researchers, educators, and policy leaders.

Tech-Savvy Students Stuck in Text-Dominated Schools: Summary of Research

A summary of available literature reporting student attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors regarding digital technology, particularly for learning. Describes our nation's increasingly tech-savvy students, the ways in which they use technology, and their frustrations with our text-dominated schools. Students suggest how education policy and school designers could better meet their needs.

Listening to Student Voices: Students at Avalon High on School Design

Much might be learned about effective school design if researchers were to listen to what students say. In this report, student researchers at Avalon High School in Saint Paul challenge adults to allow consumer input to be a driver in efforts to increase students' motivation to attend, to learn and to graduate.

If Kids Don't Want to Learn, You Probably Can't Make 'Em

Jack Frymier sums up a lifetime of experience in teaching: If students want to learn they will. If they don't, you probably can't make 'em. Motivation is individual. Education is failing in the relationship between teachers and students. Motivating students is a teachable skill: It just isn't very often taught where teachers are trained.

Response to Intervention: An Alternative to Traditional Eligibility Criteria for Students with Disabilities

This report describes and provides a review of the research on a learning model called Response to Intervention (RTI). Under this model, student performance data are gathered frequently and immediately made available to teachers, psychologists and others to evaluate the instruction strategies being used and spur modifications if need be.

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.