Publications

Book · February 2011

Ron Wolk, founder of Education Week, draws on his three decades in school reform to make the case for a "new schools" strategy, focused on individualized instruction instead of an assembly line approach to learning.

Memo · June 2009

The discussion about "innovation" in K-12 education is coming on rapidly, as the sense grows that K-12 requires radical change. But there is confusion about concepts and terms. Partly, this is because we are all still learning. This brief paper will try to distinguish the various meanings of "innovation."

Report · July 2008

The assignment to K-12 has changed from "access" to "achievement." Unfortunately, our schools were built to provide students the opportunity to learn, not to ensure that they did. If we insist that our schools do this different job we will have to create new school models that make that possible.

Memo · March 2008

The charge to K-12 has shifted from "access" to "achievement." To meet this challenge, education should be open to new entrants, new authorizers of schools, and new learning programs. This paper argues for teacher-led and other innovations to better serve student needs.

Report · February 2008

System-level reforms like standards, accountability, choice and chartering make it more necessary for schools to succeed with learning. But these reforms do not by themselves affect achievement. Kids learn from what they read, see, hear and do. So success in the effort at improvement requires capitalizing now on the system-level changes with a major effort to create new forms of school.

Memo · January 2005

The "Open Sector" is a reality, as new public schools appear outside the traditional district framework. In a few places districts themselves are proactively creating new independent public schools—in competition with the schools they own and directly run. This policy brief rounds up "Open Sector" activity in 17 major urban communities across the country.

Speech · May 2004

While almost everyone wants schools to be better, almost nobody wants them to be different. And, we overestimate the ability of leadership to change organizations in more than incremental ways. The internal culture heavily constrains change. A speech by Joe Graba at a national meeting of foundations.

Meeting Notes · November 2001

Clayton Christensen explains how hard it is for existing organizations to change in more than incremental ways, and why significant change requires the creation of new organizations. His research has huge implications for a K-12 strategy that relies on the notion that it will be possible to improve the schools we have.

Meeting Notes · November 1999

Jack Frymier suggests, in a conversation in St. Paul in 1999, perhaps where education is failing is in the relationship between teachers and students. This is where ‘improvement’ has to focus.

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