Publications

Report · August 2015

Much of the discussion about 'what's working' suggests that students learn because the school is district, charter, parochial or whatever. This is bizarre. Clearly, students learn from what goes on in the school; from its curriculum, pedagogy, materials and teachers. This report begins to sketch a taxonomy that gets at these more meaningful school properties.

Video · November 2012

A Minnesota teacher took initiative to reimagine what "school" could be. His students seem engaged, and are performing highly. But can his innovation spread in our current education system? Will it even survive?

Report · June 2012

An analysis of two innovative chartered schools in Minnesota, including a financial analysis which shows this innovation is possible at a net cost well below district schools of similar demographics. By Charles Kyte, a former superintendent and executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.

Book · January 2012

If you want to know more about Avalon (a school with collective teacher autonomy) without visiting in person, this is probably the best you could do. A compilation of stories, studies and other publications by people who have been there; the founders, current advisors, former students, and national researchers. Edited by EE Senior Fellow and Hamline University Education Professor Walter Enloe, Avalon Alumna Holly Marsh, and David Pugh from Golden Hill Alternative Learning Center.

Report · April 2007

This report examines the experiences of youth who quit school or were on the path to quitting. It describes their human, and democratic, desire to choose whether or not they will learn. It finds that once engaged students learn better and that different things motivate different students; no one factor is motivating for all students.

Speech · November 2006

A remarkable vision of schooling and learning rebuilt around the potential of digital electronics, by Mike Smith. At the time of writing, Mike was in charge of education for the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. Smith in 1990 wrote the initial, defining paper on standards-based systemic reform.

Meeting Notes · November 2006

Students of Minnesota chartered schools say they may have dropped out had they not attended new and different schools. While all of the students appreciated improved relationships with teachers and peers, their different schools, in different ways, enhanced the students’ abilities to learn. Notes from a student panel.

Memo · February 2006

What do students' out-of-school learning experiences tell us about how we could design in-school learning models and education policy? Academic competitions are a largely-unexplored aspect of student learning. Such competitions deserve additional attention from researchers, educators, and policy leaders.

Report · July 2005

This report describes and provides a review of the research on a learning model called Response to Intervention (RTI). Under this model, student performance data are gathered frequently and immediately made available to teachers, psychologists and others to evaluate the instruction strategies being used and spur modifications if need be.

Memo · July 2005

Much might be learned about effective school design if researchers were to listen to what students say. In this report, student researchers at Avalon High School in Saint Paul challenge adults to allow consumer input to be a driver in efforts to increase students' motivation to attend, to learn and to graduate.

Report · August 2003

This report describes ten of the most unconventional chartered schools in Minnesota. Feedback from students who attended the schools make clear that many families who choose such schools are seeking a positive school culture. To these families, a school's success is measured by more than its average test scores.

Meeting Notes · October 2001

Jack Frymier sums up a lifetime of experience in teaching: If students want to learn they will. If they don't, you probably can't make 'em. Motivation is individual. Education is failing in the relationship between teachers and students. Motivating students is a teachable skill: It just isn't very often taught where teachers are trained.

Article · January 2001

A former district official and college president argues for re-setting objectives and assessments for both college and high school. "We have fallen into the trap of valuing what we measure," he says, "rather than measuring what we value". Education is about critical thinking, analytical reasoning and problem-solving.

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.

Article · July 1996

Education policy is dominated by people who themselves did well in school. As a result, they believe conventional school must be OK and that students should adjust to it. Students give a different view. But nobody much listens to them, or thinks the job of educators and policy makers is to adapt school to the students.

Article · January 1929

Culture is activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty. Scraps of information have nothing to do with it. We should aim at producing people who possess both culture and expert knowledge in some special direction. Their knowledge will give them ground to start from, and their culture will lead them as deep as philosophy and as high as art.

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