Blog posts from 2011

February 9, 2011

This editorial in the Wall Street Journal cites a study by Ball State that found charter schools receive on average 19 percent less revenue than district schools.

It is not uncommon for charter schools, which (in most states) exist separate from districts, to run on 90, 80, or even 60 percent of the money of neighboring schools. It is not always clear why this is, though there is a dynamic between the comprehensive factory model of school on one hand (that is inflexible in...

February 7, 2011

Boards and superintendents, legislators and governors are about to feel the big push for "Digital Learning Now".

This will appeal. 'Digital' carries the potential to improve learning; personalizing work so that students who need more time get more time and so that those who can move faster do move faster. It carries the potential also to help deal with the economic unsustainability of the current concept of school -- in which the only worker is the teacher.

But . . .

Going digital will be a challenge. Personalization implies radical changes in teaching and in...

January 31, 2011

When there are schools that are smaller, different than traditional schools, it becomes particularly important to measure value-added performance—and to appreciate expanded forms of achievement.

Schools should be held to high standards but not compelled to follow standardized processes.

The School of Urban Planning and Architecture (SUPAR) in Milwaukee—a popular and successful school with an alternative design—is facing the challenge of having to fit a round school design into a square hole.

This article from the...

January 28, 2011

This blog post from the New York Times comments on two tasks that are captivating state legislators and education officials: assessing teachers and speeding up disciplinary processes.

Teachers are resisting. “If the unions want to have input, they need to quickly come up with a legitimate proposal of their own.”

Perhaps the root of the resistance of unions is a wariness to be subjected to accountability when they have limited control in classrooms. In this...

January 26, 2011

See this new report from the Center for Reinventing Public Education.

Eight years of New York City’s public school reforms have significantly but incrementally improved students’ performance and graduation rates. In order to bring about more dramatic progress, the district created a ‘radical’ new initiative through which schools fundamentally change their structures and employ cutting-edge technologies to support student needs.

Launched in 2010, the Innovation Zone—iZone for short—is an ambitious...

January 21, 2011

As Detroit Public Schools manage crisis, one school moves toward teacher control. At Palmer Park Academy, Ed Week reports, the genesis of the changes occurred last summer, after a group of teachers at Palmer Park approached the district with the proposal to convert to a teacher-led arrangement, in which the school’s teachers take on the budgeting and management duties generally carried out by an administrator.

Image: Palmer Park Academy

January 17, 2011

The New York Times recently described the many schools now starting to run pilot projects with iPads. Will they stick? Won’t these go the same way as laptops?

‘School leaders say the iPad is not just a cool new toy but rather a powerful and versatile tool with a multitude of applications,’ the article says, citing the speed of development of user-created applications.

‘I think this could very well be the biggest thing to hit school technology since the overhead projector,’ a principal is...

January 12, 2011

In this op ed in the Montgomery Advertiser Gerald Shirley, Principal at School of Discovery in Selma, Alabama, describes the benefits of schools where teachers are involved in making management decisions.

“Society expects teachers to meet high standards,” she observes, but “teachers have voiced concerns. They want to be held accountable,” but want to be valued participants in the decision-making processes.

“The teacher-led school minimizes teachers' complaints...

January 7, 2011

TAGOS is a small project based charter school in Janesville Wisconsin with 80 students in grades 7-12.

In this guest post Jon Woloshin, an advisor at TAGOS, describes how a group of teachers empowered to run the school built an assessment rubric that assists them as advisors to know when to add responsibility to the students’ work load.

One day during a summer 2008 Project Based Learning conference at Minnesota New Country School, TAGOS staff were given an article, “Using a Discipline System to...

January 3, 2011

In July we posted an interview with two members from the School of One math program in New York.

Since that time the school has been gaining more and more attention, with more and more awards. It is a fascinating model.

Here’s an interesting video:

Robin Hood Hero | School of One from...