The Education Evolving Blog

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...

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

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