Publications

Memo · March 2003

Opponents of change commonly try to set a test of perfection. They try to persuade everyone that no change can be permitted unless it solves all present problems and creates no new problems. Opponents don’t even have to prove the proposed change harmful. It's enough just to spread fear and doubt, asking endlessly: What if?

Memo · January 2002

A quick summary of the major mileposts in the evolution of the chartering laws.

Memo · January 2002

A case for why American public education needs an "open sector" and seven essential elements of such a sector.

Memo · January 2001

Institutions other than public education have found it useful not to let the mission depend on just a single organization. Historically the Catholic Church has been one of these. There is the hierarchy, but there are also the orders.

Memo · January 2001

In K-12 policy discussions, "choice" usually implies family choice. But school boards and teachers have options, too. Boards can choose to authorize chartered schools, which may be easier than trying to change their existing schools. And, teachers can choose to form teacher professional partnerships in their schools.

Memo · January 2001

In response to the Washington Post’s question about problems in DC this small memo asked: If the local school district is not performing why don’t DC residents ask Congress to “get somebody else who will?” In 1993 the suggestion was flatly dismissed. Three years later Congress created a second 'board of education' for DC.

Memo · January 2001

Nontraditional forms of school do exist that are economically and educationally viable at the scale of 120 students. This has huge implications for rural America's sparsely-settled areas. The trick is to think differently about teaching and learning. An article in the magazine of the superintendents' association in Minnesota.

Memo · January 2001

K-12 education exists in state law. It cannot be reached directly by Congressional or the President. Typically, in such policy areas, the national government tries to 'do things' by tying requirements to its grants-in-aid. This approach has failed in the past, as in the 1960s when the national government tried to take control of urban development.

Memo · April 1999

Three local districts in Minnesota’s metropolitan suburbs share an elementary school didn't build, don’t own and don’t themselves staff. The Valley Crossing school is a kind of virtual organization; a fascinating case in the use of contracts.

Memo · September 1998

Currently, students are held until 12th grade even if they can move faster. The Minnesota Post-secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEO) showed that bright high school students can do well with college-level work. The Grade 11-13 model goes even further, restructuring both high school and the first year of college, un-duplicating the curriculum.

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