Blog posts from 2011

December 12, 2011

Many teachers express frustration about how often they are told what, how, and when to teach -- basically, asked to follow a script.

Many believe the job of teaching has suffered since the 1990s, as the standards and accountability movement has driven decision making upwards and away from teachers, to the district, state, and federal level.

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers has taken a bold action to help restore professional autonomy to teachers, in exchange for being held accountable for results. This month the MFT, supported by a grant from the American Federation of...

July 8, 2011

This post was originally posted by Ted Kolderie on the weekly National Journal Education Experts Blog. The topic for the week was chosen in response to the second major ESEA reform bill, related to chartered schools, being approved by the US House Education and the Workforce Committee.

The National Journal question was: To what extent can charter schools change the...

July 5, 2011

Ted Kolderie, a founder of Education|Evolving, is the recipient of this year's James Bryant Conant Award from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) for his work to develop the chartered schools sector in public education.

In responding July 7th at the ECS annual National Forum on Education Policy in Denver he will set out the case for using the charter sector now to innovate with approaches to learning, forms of school organization and a broader definition of achievement.

More on the award here, from the...

June 7, 2011

It's worth taking a close look at our current approach to school management.

Our deal with teachers has been that we don’t give you professional authority, and in exchange you don’t give us accountability. Why not cut a new deal: in exchange for real accountability we’ll give you real authority?

We believe that we'll see more innovation in schools where decisions are made by those who know the students' contexts and needs the best -- the teachers. We've been following a growing number of schools nationwide where teachers are able to control what matters for...

April 1, 2011

Apologies that our posts have been quite sparse over the past few weeks.

The legislative season is busy for us small policy organizations, but we hope to be posting more regularly again in June.

Stay tuned!

March 31, 2011

In the effort to improve public education today, there is a tendency to look for “what works,” and then replicate it. These efforts should be applauded.

But, it’s important that at the same time we continue to try new things. There is likely not one concept of school that works for all students, all teachers, and in all contexts. We must continue to innovate.

Innovative Quality Schools (IQS) is a new approved authorizer of chartered schools in Minnesota. They will focus on authorizing schools that innovate with respect to...

March 11, 2011

The drama playing out in Wisconsin is something of a political spectacle.

As the opening shot in a strategy to reconcile a multi-billion dollar budget deficit, the state’s new Republican governor has been working with the conservative legislature to try and rush legislation that would significantly restrict the ability of public sector employees to bargain collectively.

What we are seeing in Wisconsin is the traditional model of public schooling—and public services generally—buckling for the first time at a state level....

March 2, 2011

Federal stimulus funding for K-12 has created an impression that schools are suffering today because of the...

February 25, 2011

With traditionally-designed big-box high schools, it can be difficult to change to keep up with fluctuating financial times. The shell is still there. The physical constraints drive learning models as much as the conditions and teachers.

In times of financial school leaders seek ways to maximize school space. The traditional model seems less and less viable in these times of digital learning and varied learning styles.

February 18, 2011

In rural Hutto Texas, the superintendent has taken the compelling step of seeking to trademark and lease-out the school’s Hutto Hippo. He is also planning to lease bus and website space to advertisers.

Things seem desperate.

But really what’s happening is that a bright, competent administrator is doing the best he can within the confines of his environment.

Stop, step back. Think: Maybe the confines are the problem, not the money.

He’s grasping to fund one model of school....