Updates and Insights: Vol. 1, No. 1

Mailing Date: 
February 17, 2005
Vol. 1, No. 1February 17, 2005Jon Schroeder, Editor

With apologies for the techno-mess you were sent last night, here’s another, hopefully successful, attempt to introduce you to Education|Evolving’s new electronic newsletter -- UPDATES AND INSIGHTS. If this doesn’t come through to your system in a readable format, please e-mail info@educationevolving.org. Thanks for your patience!!


Welcome to the first edition of "Updates and Insights" -- an occasional e-newsletter from Education|Evolving, a Minnesota-based initiative created to help education policy leaders meet the challenges and opportunities facing K-12 education in the 21st Century.

Please don’t look for this communication every week or even on any regular schedule. It’s intended to be "occasional" rather than "periodic." We respect your busy schedule and the volume of reading and thinking material you receive.

But, do expect to be both informed and challenged by what you do receive, occasionally. Education|Evolving was created to provide a missing perspective in the debate and actions going on nationally about how best to change and improve public education. This e-newsletter is part of our effort to bring that perspective to you directly.

For those not familiar with Education|Evolving, we are a joint venture of the Twin Cities-based Center for Policy Studies and Hamline University, a private liberal arts institution located in St. Paul. The co-founders of Education|Evolving are Ted Kolderie and Joe Graba, both nationally respected education policy analysts and policy leaders. The initiative’s coordinator -- and editor of "Updates and Insights" -- is Jon Schroeder, former director of the Charter Friends National Network and a founding board member of the DC-based Charter School Leadership Council.

Education|Evolving also benefits from the contributions of its associates, Bob Wedl, Stacy Becker, Kim Farris-Berg, John Boland and Ed Dirkswager. All have long and distinguished records in a variety of public policy arenas -- both in Minnesota and nationally. Future editions of "Updates and Insights" will introduce you to their work, as well.

For a more detailed introduction to Education|Evolving and its principals, go to our unique web site at www.educationevolving.org.


Ted Kolderie’s new book, "Creating the Capacity for Change: How and Why Governors and Legislators are Opening a New-Schools Sector in Public Education," is now available for purchase from Education Week Press.

Kolderie offers his perspective on what has now been more than two-decades of state-based education reform. And it sets a tough challenge for the policy thinking currently going on about the future of K-12 public education. Perhaps most fundamental is his challenge to the assumption that America will be able to get the schools it needs simply by changing the schools it now has.

The difficulty in making more than minor incremental change in existing schools, Kolderie argues, means there must be an effort, comparable in scope, to create different and better schools new. And, the book points out, these new schools won’t be sufficiently numerous and different without an "Open Sector" -- a policy and support environment that’s comparable to the infrastructure that now surrounds traditional district public schools.

Kolderie’s new book is a phone call or fax away. The price per copy is $14.95, which includes standard delivery through the US Postal Service. Expedited shipping and bulk purchase discounts are also available. If you'd like to place an order, please call Education Week Press at (800) 445-8250. If you'd like to place your order via fax or mail, please click here to access a printable order form with easy to follow instructions.


Kolderie readily admits that his writings about the inadequacy of a policy that focuses only on fixing existing schools has been heavily influenced by the thinking and speaking in recent years of his colleague, Joe Graba. A former classroom teacher and union leader, state legislator, state education agency official and graduate school dean, Graba has spent his entire professional career as an education establishment insider.

That experience has not just contributed to the formation of his ideas. It also gives the evolution of his views added attention and credibility. To take a look at a recent speech by Graba to a national meeting of education philanthropists -- click here.


The ‘Open Sector’ discussed in Ted Kolderie’s book -- and Graba’s speeches -- is not just a "theory of change," although that’s partly what it’s intended to be. Beyond the theory, the "Open Sector" is starting to appear -- in reality -- as state policy leaders and educators create new public schools outside the traditional district framework. In a few places, districts are also proactively creating new independent public schools themselves -- in competition with the schools they own and run directly.

Education|Evolving is committed to monitoring and reporting on these important developments as they occur. And, one place clearly worth watching is the Twin Cities -- Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Contrary to many parts of the country, chartering is on an accelerating pace in Minnesota, particularly in the state’s two largest cities where enrollment in charters is climbing toward 15 percent of total public school enrollment. There are 50 chartered schools now operating in the two central cities, up from 33 two years ago. Another 17 charters have already been approved to open in Minneapolis or St. Paul as early as next fall.

Education|Evolving’s coordinator Jon Schroeder has documented these and other trends in a policy paper entitled, "Trend Accelerating Toward an ‘Open Sector’ in Public Education: Growth in Non-District Choices Especially Evident in Minneapolis and St. Paul." To download the entire paper, click here.

Finally, Education|Evolving has just released a new round-up of "Open Sector" activity in 17 major urban communities across the country -- "The emergence of an ‘Open Sector’ in urban education: A policy brief summarizing the ‘unbundling’ of public education now taking place in a number of major urban communities."

This publication, which will be regularly updated on the initiative’s web site, was edited by Education|Evolving’s coordinator, Jon Schroeder and is based on earlier work by Ted Kolderie. To view the entire 17-city inventory, click here.


At least that’s the thesis behind an article by Education|Evolving co-founder Ted Kolderie in the January edition of the Citizens League’s Minnesota Journal.

The article, "Chartering is succeeding even as some chartered schools fail," makes the distinction between state policy that allows new public schools to be created outside the district system and the schools themselves. And, it argues that, while the schools are important and need to be monitored for their impact on students, much more attention needs to be paid to the impact of the overall strategy of chartering.

To view Kolderie’s Minnesota Journal article, click here.


We welcome your comments or questions on these new publications or other Education|Evolving products or initiatives. Please direct them to info@educationevolving.org.

If you do not wish to receive these occasional updates from Education/Evolving, please e-mail info@educationevolving.org. Put "remove from list" in the subject line, and your full name and e-mail address in the body of the e-mail.

Stay In Touch

Get updates, new publications, fresh analysis, and event invitations in your inbox.