The Education Evolving Blog

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....

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...