Blog posts from 2010

December 3, 2010

Yesterday the New York Times ran an article about changes that have gone on in the Baltimore Public Schools district since Andres Alonso took over three years ago.

It describes how the superintendent managed to enable change in the culture of BCPS schools, moving away from compliance and punishment and toward empowerment - of both students and adults. Principals used to spend more time filling out directives from the central office, the article says. Now they have full...

December 1, 2010

Recently we commented on an interesting study by Charles Kerchner and Laura Mulfinger that provided keen insights into teacher-run schools.

One of the observations of the paper was that while school and instructional models vary, the behavior of teacher-run schools—the way students and teachers work, the ways that the schools function—tend to differ from traditionally-managed...

November 29, 2010

Ken Futernick, director of the School Turnaround Center for the California-based organization WestEd, recently had a keen insight in this article in Kappan Magazine on why teachers behave as they do—bargain collectively, resist accepting certain frameworks of accountability, become frustrated with management. He turns attention from the people, to the structures in which they work.

Regarding the performance of teachers...

November 26, 2010

The weekly guest post is on hiatus this Friday, for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In this video for Ed Week’s forum Unleashing Technology to Personalize Learning, Chris Lehmann, principal of Science Leadership Academy high school in Philadelphia, describes the need to expand technology use beyond teaching so that it serves students and the processes of learning. Otherwise, he says, you end up with a smart board and Power Point slides: Merely a ‘digitalized...

November 24, 2010

Bill Gates gave a speech in Louisville last week to the Council of Chief State Schools Officers (CCSSO), where he argued a need to address school financing problems by rethinking teacher pay. In particular, the steps and lanes approach that increases compensation based on seniority and degrees, without regard for performance. He urged moving focus from reducing class sizes to paying teachers more if they successfully take on larger class sizes and work at more difficult schools.

Instead of seniority and education...

November 22, 2010

A small Wisconsin village recently experienced the challenge of trying to manage budget difficulties within the confines of existing processes.

This article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describes how the district began offering Chinese classes in 2005; a reflection of the town’s history having the oldest trading ties with China in the state. Marathon County’s relationship with the country goes back a century, built around their ginseng crop.

“In an abrupt change, however, Marathon City this year...

November 19, 2010

Editor’s note: Each Friday we feature guest bloggers that are involved in rethinking what is possible with schooling and the education system.

Dale Skoreyko is principal at McNally High School in Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada. In this post he describes that effective school wide assessment plans should be ongoing, in real time; and resist final grades or averaging of all grades.

By eliminating the impact of daily performance measures on a student’s final grade the exchange of information and feedback between students and teachers...

November 17, 2010

An effect of the increase in news coverage of teacher-run schools is a similar dynamic as the chartering of schools has experienced—that is, some observers are interpreting the management structure of these schools (involving teachers, in varied ways, depending upon the school) as an end in itself. This is off the point.

It is important to note the scope of teacher-leadership in schools: A school will not be inherently higher or lower performing because it...

November 15, 2010

Teacher-run schools continue to appear in the news, such as a recent article by the Associated Press.

In this article by EdWeek’s Teacher Magazine EE partners Ted Kolderie and Joe Graba describe characteristics that begin to emerge in schools that are run by teachers.

They discuss the structure of management, whether or not there is a main office, and the...

November 12, 2010

Editor’s note: Each Friday we feature guest bloggers that are involved in rethinking what is possible with schooling and the education system.

Julie Young, President and CEO of Florida Virtual School, describes the appeal of online learning, and the dramatic growth the organization has sustained over the past 15 years. It is a cogent reminder that substantial innovations often start small—in the case of FVS, with 77 students.

When we started this adventure...