June 7, 2010 •

A movement of innovation is sweeping the country as cities and states turn toward a strategy of creating different kinds of schools that customize learning, improve student and teacher motivation, and operate at a better value. This blog will follow the movement and report on its progress.

In a new paper Innovation-based Systemic Reform, Education Evolving argues that to improve public education ‘school’ as we know it must change. The system must be engaged in a continual process of innovation to find new and better ways to accomplish learning.

State legislatures and school districts are encouraging the creation of schools that are independent, innovative, and self-directed, held accountable for results instead of compliance. This type of reform gets to the design of schools, and of education systems. The policy debates today don’t talk much of the system as something that can be changed to perform differently.

Most everyone, when talking of improvement, takes the existing form and function of schools and education systems as a given. We, Education|Evolving, question: Can the country meet its goals with this commitment to traditional definitions of school and achievement?

Some education leaders are hedging their bets, keeping their traditional schools while at the same time creating separate spaces where new types of schools can emerge. As innovations are successful students and families will choose them in greater and greater numbers—eating at the system in just the same way as chartered schools have done.

We think it’s important to document what is occurring in these innovation zones. How are these zones operating, and what innovations are we seeing emerge in the roles of teachers, unions, and administration? In learning programs, in assessment, and in financing?, and its parent site are places where ideas about how best to evolve this large and vital system can be documented, discussed, and learned from.

We believe that it is possible to have an open, competitive, and dynamic education system within a wholly public, smartly regulated, and even unionized setting. Cities and states are beginning to show that this is possible.

As the blog progresses we invite you to provide input by commenting on the posts, or simply email us. It will feature weekly guest writers, reporting from around the country. As the movement evolves, we will be there to help provide a voice.