The Education Evolving Blog

October 12, 2012

Our nation’s current strategy for improving schools is largely focused on controlling teachers and school operations. A new book by Education Evolving senior associates Kim Farris-Berg and Edward Dirkswager advocates the opposite – that trusting teachers is the key to school success.

Trusting Teachers with School Success, to be released October 16, asks teachers what they would...

October 9, 2012 · By Ted Kolderie

Everybody talks about wanting good teaching. It would be nice if as a first step someone would define 'teaching'.

So far as a body can tell, listening to the discussion, teaching is whole-class instruction -- which has to be combined, of course, with 'classroom management'. A good teacher, Bill Gates said several times to the Education Commission of the States in Atlanta in July, "calms the classroom".

Endlessly it's "classroom" . . . "classroom" . . . "classroom".

But in the classroom are 25 or 30 students who differ, sometimes widely, in their backgrounds,...

October 5, 2012 · By Lars Esdal

The goals of improving the profession of teaching and giving teachers the authority to design better methods for learning have been central to the work of Education Evolving and its associates for more than three decades. We believe teachers who have authority and accountability for the decisions influencing whole-school success, are in the best position to lead innovation and improvement. Trusting teachers, and not controlling them, is a promising improvement strategy to pursue.

Two of our senior associates, Kim...

October 2, 2012

Originally published in Education Week September 25, 2012, Vol. 32, Issue 05.

Last month, in his much-lauded speech to the Republican National Convention, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made "we believe in teachers" one of his central themes. This prompts the questions: What does it mean to believe in teachers? And, do we?


September 27, 2012 · By Dan Loritz

If you have three minutes to spare, we recommend you take a look at this NBC piece about an innovative chartered school in Yuma, Arizona, which is challenging the status quo of education. Carpe Diem Collegiate High School and Middle School consists of one giant classroom with about 200 cubicles. At the school, teachers assume the role of tutors instead of group instructors, and its education model centers on computer-based...

September 19, 2012 · By Ted Kolderie

"I had come to see that it was often useless to make a frontal attack on problems, since they have not arisen by themselves, but are the product of circumstances. Only by modifying the circumstances -- "lateral thinking" -- can one disperse the difficulties they create. So I had become accustomed to seeking out and trying to change whatever was causing the blockage."

It might help with problems like "the Chicago strike" if this wise counsel -- from a superb negotiator who succeeded with some seemingly intractable public problems -- were taken to heart; if some 'lateral...

September 11, 2012 · By Ted Kolderie

Twenty years ago the modal American teacher was a teacher in his/her 15th year of teaching.

Today the modal teacher is one in her first year of teaching.

This -- stunning -- statistic comes from data Richard Ingersoll and his associates have pulled from the Schools and Staffing Survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

All this is elaborated in a paper given to the American Education Research Association in 2012, and -- in shorter form -- in an article in The...

September 7, 2012 · By Lars Esdal

On this date in 1992, City Academy High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, opened its doors to students as the first chartered school in the United States. The school is still operating, and serves at-risk students in Saint Paul’s East Side just as it had two decades ago.

Of course, passing the law that made possible City Academy, and all the chartered schools that followed, was an ordeal in itself.

The detailed story of the events which led up to Minnesota’s passage of the first chartering law in the county is told in vigorous prose...

September 6, 2012 · By Ted Kolderie

For the 40-odd Americans in Helsinki August 20-24 the schools and the education system in Finland presented a dilemma. I went with that delegation, organized by the National Public Education Support Fund.

We envy Finnish students' top rankings on the Program for International Student Assessment. But the Finnish system is organized differently and operates on quite different principles.

Classrooms look much like ours. Choice is common. Finland has some 'chartered schools'. But:

  • There...
September 4, 2012 · By Lars Esdal

Education Evolving’s Ted Kolderie was featured last weekend in a series of National Public Radio (NPR) stories about the direction the charter schools movement has taken since the first chartered school opened in 1992. On September 7, Saint Paul’s City Academy--the first chartered school in the nation--turns 20.

In the radio report Kolderie discusses how, over the last 20 years, the conversation around chartering has shifted. In recent years chartering has been seen less as a process of innovation and more as a particular kind of school, operated by a particular kind of...


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