Updates and Insights: Vol. 2, No. 2

Mailing Date: 
July 13, 2006
Education/Evolving
Vol. 2, No. 2July 13, 2006Jon Schroeder, Editor

Welcome to this latest edition of Education|Evolving’s electronic newsletter -- UPDATES AND INSIGHTS.

IN THIS ISSUE:
EDUCATION|EVOLVING RELEASES UPDATED NATIONAL INVENTORY OF TEACHER PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIP ORGANIZATIONS

Minnesota-based Education|Evolving has released a new report, Teachers in Professional Practice: An inventory of new opportunities for teachers working collectively as professionals, Second Edition. The report was researched and written by E|E associate Kim Farris-Berg, with a context-setting preface by E|E’s co-founder Ted Kolderie.

To view the online version of the new E|E report, click here. To obtain a printed copy, e-mail info@educationevolving.org.

Teacher professional partnerships (TPPs) are formal entities, organized under law (partnerships, cooperatives, limited-liability corporations, etc.), that are formed and owned by teachers to provide educational services. TPPs may enter into contracts to run entire schools, a portion of a school or to provide some other educational service. Teachers are in charge and they manage or arrange for the management of the schools and/or services provided. The school district is not managing the school in the traditional sense; nor is a district-appointed single leader--historically a principal--in charge.

The new E|E report contains a national comprehensive inventory of the known TPP initiatives--both established and planned--serving public and private K-12 schools. Several models are described, offering a useful overview of how different types of TPPs organize and function, structurally. There is also an an updated comprehensive resource list for groups of teachers, districts, unions and others interested in seeking more information about TPPs.

The notion is catching on. So much has changed since the first edition as new TPPs have arrived on the scene and as old TPPs establish themselves and refine their models. As existing TPPs demonstrate their success in providing services to schools, more groups of teachers are seeking to create their own TPPs.

Ten operational practices now serve 21 chartered schools throughout Minnesota, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in Fall River, Massachusetts. The number of these innovative arrangements is up from seven practices serving 14 chartered schools in 2004. The oldest has been operating since 1994.

In addition, E|E has identified at least three operational partnerships serving private schools in Northern California.

Teacher professional practices in the planning phase span the U.S., including a number in California and embryonic interest in Atlanta, Georgia. Six separate groups of teachers plan to formalize their TPPs and provide services to newly established schools beginning in fall 2007. It’s possible that many more will exist by then or soon after as two initiatives, including the EdVisions Schools Project and Education|Evolving’s own Teacher Professional Partnership Project are encouraging their development.

In a number of major cities, the leadership responsible for K-12 education--often, now, the mayor--is interested in starting schools new: high schools, especially. In starting new, outside the old organizational framework, it is possible to try new and different arrangements. So, not surprisingly, civic leadership in New York City, Chicago and elsewhere has been interested in the idea of teacher partnerships; in which the teacher-group gets the authority to organize and run the school and accepts responsibility for fiscal and student performance.

One of the most intriguing developments is the decision by some teacher union locals -- most conspicuously the United Federation of Teachers in New York City -- to start new schools themselves. In California and elsewhere, active discussions are also now underway about opening new union-initiated public schools using the professional practice model.

Education|Evolving intends this new report to be a resource for teachers, mayors, administrators, school developers, and others operating, forming, or encouraging the operation and formation of, TPPs. If you are a policymaker or an administrator in the education field considering the notion of TPPs, you might read the report with an eye toward how to structure state law or how to create an administrative climate that will allow TPPs to operate efficiently and effectively.

Education|Evolving will continue to follow the evolution of TPPs nation-wide. If you have updates or new information, please send them to info@educationevolving.org. If you would like to follow the updates, continue checking E|E’s Web site: www.educationevolving.org. A new sub-site focusing just on this innovative development in teaching is now under development.


RECOGNITION OF AND DEMAND FOR TEACHER PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIPS IS GROWING

The TPP idea is gaining recognition. Both the Minnesota model (in 2005) and the Milwaukee variation (in 2006) have made the "final 50" in the Innovations in American Government Competition run annually by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

It does depart--dramatically--from the prevailing notion that better teaching, and the student motivation that results, is best achieved by strengthening management within the traditional framework; within the historic understanding that if you want to be a teacher you have to be an employee. Most of the effort currently in this country is to improve teaching, and teachers, through large programs of 'professional development' organized by the administrators for whom teachers work.

But it is clearly conceivable for teachers like other professionals to work with partners in groups they collectively own; serving a client in an arrangement that gives them both the autonomy we associate with professionalism and the accountability we expect from professionals.

The potential implications for public education were explained in Teachers As Owners, a book edited in 2003 by Edward J. Dirkswager for Education|Evolving and published by Scarecrow Press (available at Amazon.com).

The potential for teacher professional practice arrangements was also underscored by the results of a Public Agenda survey of teachers in 2003. The question to a national sample of teachers was: "How interested would you be in working in a charter school run and managed by teachers?"

The question asked respondents to affirm an interest in coming into the charter sector in order to express their interest in teacher professional practice. Still, the interest is startling to most people: 58 percent of teachers said they would be somewhat or very interested; 65 percent of the under-five-year teachers and 50 percent of the over-20-year teachers.


EDUCATION|EVOLVING NOW PLACING A HIGH PRIORITY ON SPREADING THIS MODEL NATIONALLY

The most recent and tangible resource in exploring the professional practice model -- especially to teachers -- is an initiative launched by Education|Evolving, under the direction of Milwaukee-based John Parr. Parr has had a long career in union organizing and leadership, largely with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). He became acquainted with the Teacher Professional Practice model through his daughter, Cris Parr, who has founded several charter schools using this model in Milwaukee.

Parr has used his experience and expertise to help work out a series of agreements for teacher-led schools in Milwaukee that have allowed these schools to remain within the district and a unionized environment, but operate more autonomously. He is now available to work with groups of teachers, teachers unions, district administrators and boards and others throughout the country -- including contacts he’s already made in New York, Chicago, California, Minnesota and other states.

For more information, contact: John Parr, Director, Teacher Professional Practice Project, Education|Evolving, 2620 West North Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53205 -- Cell: (414) 550-1156 -- Email: johnparr@wi.rr.com.


REPORTS AND PAPERS ON E|E WEB SITE AID UNDERSTANDING OF TEACHER PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIPS

A variety of reports and papers available on the Education|Evolving Web site describe TPPs and their implications for public education, teachers, and teaching. To see them all, click here.

Some titles currently available include:

Teacher Professional Partnerships: A Different Way to Help Teachers and Teaching. (pdf)
It clearly is possible to organize K-12 education on a professional model. Teachers could have and should have the option to work if they wish -- as many architects and engineers and consults and accountants and lawyers and doctors do -- with colleagues, in a professional group which they collectively own, with the administrators working for them.

Teacher-ownership as entrepreneurship in public education. (pdf)
There is in fact no reason why the ‘partnership’ model could not be made available to teachers, too. Teachers could own their work; could run a department of a high school, a discrete school, a program district-wide. Ted Kolderie presented this paper at a symposium at UCLA in June 2002. It will be part of a volume published by UCLA’s Institute for the Study of Entrepreneurship in Education.

Leased vs. Owned Departments (and Some Implications for Schools). (pdf)
Teachers, principals, superintendents, union leaders listen to an executive describe how a department store is a combination of ‘owned’ and ‘leased’ departments. Ted Kolderie shares his notes from the discussion. "We could organize a high school like this!"

Professional Control of Practice: Physicians and Teachers. (pdf)
The medical director of a big multi-specialty hospital/medical group--in which the doctors are employees--describes how the professional and ‘business’ decisions are divided between physicians and managers. Ted Kolderie’s notes from a conversation with Dr. George Isham.

Reflections on Forty Years in the Profession. (pdf)
The late Albert Shanker, long-time President of the American Federation of Teachers, summarizes public education over his then 40 years in the profession. He reviews years of teacher negotiations, and identifies the unfair placement of responsibility and blame on teachers, as opposed to the system which under-funds and denies support. Shanker challenges the current structure of the education system with respect to meeting the needs of individual students, and ends with strong support for public education, noting its important place in U.S. ideals of equality and diversity.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Teacher Abuse, and How to End It (see page 18).
Robert Maranto writes that teacher professional partnerships offer much needed hope for reforming schools in ways that will empower teachers, and ultimately lead to innovations as yet undreamt of. He states, "Hopefully, as [the charter school] movement grows and matures, we will see more TPP type schools and fewer traditional bureaucracies. If not, then teachers and children will continue to suffer mistreatment." This article can be found on page 18 of the linked PDF document.

National Meeting on Teacher Ownership: Concept and Implications. (pdf)
Visitors look at a chartered school in Minnesota that has no employees -- as well as no courses and no classes. Notes of the discussion at a national meeting at Hamline University in September 2001.

EdVisions Cooperative.
EdVisions has been setting up workers’ cooperatives to run schools in the chartered sector. Now with financing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation it is offering the model nationwide.


COMMENTS WELCOMED

Education|Evolving welcomes your comments or questions on strategies for both tapping and acting on the potential for more effectively channeling the professional interests and contributions of teachers in creating new schools.

Please direct your comments or questions to info@educationevolving.org. Also, check out E/E’s unique web site at www.educationevolving.org. Past editions of "Updates and Insights" can be accessed at: https://www.educationevolving.org/email_archive.asp.

If you do not wish to receive these occasional "Updates and Insights" 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.

Education/Evolving
Vol. 2, No. 2July 13, 2006Jon Schroeder, Editor

Welcome to this latest edition of Education|Evolving’s electronic newsletter -- UPDATES AND INSIGHTS.

IN THIS ISSUE:
EDUCATION|EVOLVING RELEASES UPDATED NATIONAL INVENTORY OF TEACHER PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIP ORGANIZATIONS

Minnesota-based Education|Evolving has released a new report, Teachers in Professional Practice: An inventory of new opportunities for teachers working collectively as professionals, Second Edition. The report was researched and written by E|E associate Kim Farris-Berg, with a context-setting preface by E|E’s co-founder Ted Kolderie.

To view the online version of the new E|E report, click here. To obtain a printed copy, e-mail info@educationevolving.org.

Teacher professional partnerships (TPPs) are formal entities, organized under law (partnerships, cooperatives, limited-liability corporations, etc.), that are formed and owned by teachers to provide educational services. TPPs may enter into contracts to run entire schools, a portion of a school or to provide some other educational service. Teachers are in charge and they manage or arrange for the management of the schools and/or services provided. The school district is not managing the school in the traditional sense; nor is a district-appointed single leader--historically a principal--in charge.

The new E|E report contains a national comprehensive inventory of the known TPP initiatives--both established and planned--serving public and private K-12 schools. Several models are described, offering a useful overview of how different types of TPPs organize and function, structurally. There is also an an updated comprehensive resource list for groups of teachers, districts, unions and others interested in seeking more information about TPPs.

The notion is catching on. So much has changed since the first edition as new TPPs have arrived on the scene and as old TPPs establish themselves and refine their models. As existing TPPs demonstrate their success in providing services to schools, more groups of teachers are seeking to create their own TPPs.

Ten operational practices now serve 21 chartered schools throughout Minnesota, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in Fall River, Massachusetts. The number of these innovative arrangements is up from seven practices serving 14 chartered schools in 2004. The oldest has been operating since 1994.

In addition, E|E has identified at least three operational partnerships serving private schools in Northern California.

Teacher professional practices in the planning phase span the U.S., including a number in California and embryonic interest in Atlanta, Georgia. Six separate groups of teachers plan to formalize their TPPs and provide services to newly established schools beginning in fall 2007. It’s possible that many more will exist by then or soon after as two initiatives, including the EdVisions Schools Project and Education|Evolving’s own Teacher Professional Partnership Project are encouraging their development.

In a number of major cities, the leadership responsible for K-12 education--often, now, the mayor--is interested in starting schools new: high schools, especially. In starting new, outside the old organizational framework, it is possible to try new and different arrangements. So, not surprisingly, civic leadership in New York City, Chicago and elsewhere has been interested in the idea of teacher partnerships; in which the teacher-group gets the authority to organize and run the school and accepts responsibility for fiscal and student performance.

One of the most intriguing developments is the decision by some teacher union locals -- most conspicuously the United Federation of Teachers in New York City -- to start new schools themselves. In California and elsewhere, active discussions are also now underway about opening new union-initiated public schools using the professional practice model.

Education|Evolving intends this new report to be a resource for teachers, mayors, administrators, school developers, and others operating, forming, or encouraging the operation and formation of, TPPs. If you are a policymaker or an administrator in the education field considering the notion of TPPs, you might read the report with an eye toward how to structure state law or how to create an administrative climate that will allow TPPs to operate efficiently and effectively.

Education|Evolving will continue to follow the evolution of TPPs nation-wide. If you have updates or new information, please send them to info@educationevolving.org. If you would like to follow the updates, continue checking E|E’s Web site: www.educationevolving.org. A new sub-site focusing just on this innovative development in teaching is now under development.


RECOGNITION OF AND DEMAND FOR TEACHER PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIPS IS GROWING

The TPP idea is gaining recognition. Both the Minnesota model (in 2005) and the Milwaukee variation (in 2006) have made the "final 50" in the Innovations in American Government Competition run annually by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

It does depart--dramatically--from the prevailing notion that better teaching, and the student motivation that results, is best achieved by strengthening management within the traditional framework; within the historic understanding that if you want to be a teacher you have to be an employee. Most of the effort currently in this country is to improve teaching, and teachers, through large programs of 'professional development' organized by the administrators for whom teachers work.

But it is clearly conceivable for teachers like other professionals to work with partners in groups they collectively own; serving a client in an arrangement that gives them both the autonomy we associate with professionalism and the accountability we expect from professionals.

The potential implications for public education were explained in Teachers As Owners, a book edited in 2003 by Edward J. Dirkswager for Education|Evolving and published by Scarecrow Press (available at Amazon.com).

The potential for teacher professional practice arrangements was also underscored by the results of a Public Agenda survey of teachers in 2003. The question to a national sample of teachers was: "How interested would you be in working in a charter school run and managed by teachers?"

The question asked respondents to affirm an interest in coming into the charter sector in order to express their interest in teacher professional practice. Still, the interest is startling to most people: 58 percent of teachers said they would be somewhat or very interested; 65 percent of the under-five-year teachers and 50 percent of the over-20-year teachers.


EDUCATION|EVOLVING NOW PLACING A HIGH PRIORITY ON SPREADING THIS MODEL NATIONALLY

The most recent and tangible resource in exploring the professional practice model -- especially to teachers -- is an initiative launched by Education|Evolving, under the direction of Milwaukee-based John Parr. Parr has had a long career in union organizing and leadership, largely with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). He became acquainted with the Teacher Professional Practice model through his daughter, Cris Parr, who has founded several charter schools using this model in Milwaukee.

Parr has used his experience and expertise to help work out a series of agreements for teacher-led schools in Milwaukee that have allowed these schools to remain within the district and a unionized environment, but operate more autonomously. He is now available to work with groups of teachers, teachers unions, district administrators and boards and others throughout the country -- including contacts he’s already made in New York, Chicago, California, Minnesota and other states.

For more information, contact: John Parr, Director, Teacher Professional Practice Project, Education|Evolving, 2620 West North Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53205 -- Cell: (414) 550-1156 -- Email: johnparr@wi.rr.com.


REPORTS AND PAPERS ON E|E WEB SITE AID UNDERSTANDING OF TEACHER PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIPS

A variety of reports and papers available on the Education|Evolving Web site describe TPPs and their implications for public education, teachers, and teaching. To see them all, click here.

Some titles currently available include:

Teacher Professional Partnerships: A Different Way to Help Teachers and Teaching. (pdf)
It clearly is possible to organize K-12 education on a professional model. Teachers could have and should have the option to work if they wish -- as many architects and engineers and consults and accountants and lawyers and doctors do -- with colleagues, in a professional group which they collectively own, with the administrators working for them.

Teacher-ownership as entrepreneurship in public education. (pdf)
There is in fact no reason why the ‘partnership’ model could not be made available to teachers, too. Teachers could own their work; could run a department of a high school, a discrete school, a program district-wide. Ted Kolderie presented this paper at a symposium at UCLA in June 2002. It will be part of a volume published by UCLA’s Institute for the Study of Entrepreneurship in Education.

Leased vs. Owned Departments (and Some Implications for Schools). (pdf)
Teachers, principals, superintendents, union leaders listen to an executive describe how a department store is a combination of ‘owned’ and ‘leased’ departments. Ted Kolderie shares his notes from the discussion. "We could organize a high school like this!"

Professional Control of Practice: Physicians and Teachers. (pdf)
The medical director of a big multi-specialty hospital/medical group--in which the doctors are employees--describes how the professional and ‘business’ decisions are divided between physicians and managers. Ted Kolderie’s notes from a conversation with Dr. George Isham.

Reflections on Forty Years in the Profession. (pdf)
The late Albert Shanker, long-time President of the American Federation of Teachers, summarizes public education over his then 40 years in the profession. He reviews years of teacher negotiations, and identifies the unfair placement of responsibility and blame on teachers, as opposed to the system which under-funds and denies support. Shanker challenges the current structure of the education system with respect to meeting the needs of individual students, and ends with strong support for public education, noting its important place in U.S. ideals of equality and diversity.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Teacher Abuse, and How to End It (see page 18).
Robert Maranto writes that teacher professional partnerships offer much needed hope for reforming schools in ways that will empower teachers, and ultimately lead to innovations as yet undreamt of. He states, "Hopefully, as [the charter school] movement grows and matures, we will see more TPP type schools and fewer traditional bureaucracies. If not, then teachers and children will continue to suffer mistreatment." This article can be found on page 18 of the linked PDF document.

National Meeting on Teacher Ownership: Concept and Implications. (pdf)
Visitors look at a chartered school in Minnesota that has no employees -- as well as no courses and no classes. Notes of the discussion at a national meeting at Hamline University in September 2001.

EdVisions Cooperative.
EdVisions has been setting up workers’ cooperatives to run schools in the chartered sector. Now with financing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation it is offering the model nationwide.


COMMENTS WELCOMED

Education|Evolving welcomes your comments or questions on strategies for both tapping and acting on the potential for more effectively channeling the professional interests and contributions of teachers in creating new schools.

Please direct your comments or questions to info@educationevolving.org. Also, check out E/E’s unique web site at www.educationevolving.org. Past editions of "Updates and Insights" can be accessed at: https://www.educationevolving.org/email_archive.asp.

If you do not wish to receive these occasional "Updates and Insights" 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.

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