Albert Shanker: Reflections on Forty Years in the Profession
Memo • January 1991
In this 1991 retrospective, Albert Shanker looks back over 40 years in the profession. He is realistic about the union’s conventional strategy of higher salaries and smaller class size. He looks toward others strategies: differentiated staffing, the individualization of learning through technology, project-based learning, and performance-based assessment.
Albert Shanker: The Importance of Incentives and Rewards in Education
Meeting Notes • May 1991
Albert Shanker said in 1991, before school choice and chartering, “People in other fields dislike change too. But they have to do it. We in education don’t. For us nothing is at stake.” The absence of an internal impetus for change leads us to prescribe “mandates.” But why not find what is blocking change inside K-12, and fix that?
Mike Strembitsky and Site-Management in Edmonton
Meeting Notes • December 1990
Over 25 years ago a ‘discontented teacher’ who became superintendent gave Edmonton, Canada what might be the most-decentralized arrangement in North America. But Edmonton is different than American cities, and Mike Strembitsky’s model does not transplant easily.
States Will Have to Withdraw the Exclusive
Memo • July 1990
Written as Minnesota was in the early stages of thinking about what would a year later become the first chartering law, this paper zeroed in on “the exclusive franchise” as the heart of the K-12 system-problem. No change, no major improvement in learning, was realistically possible, Kolderie said, until the states withdrew the guarantee of success—for the districts and for the people in them—created by the public-utility arrangement traditional in public education.
Joe Loftus’ 1988 Proposal for ‘Chartered Schools’
Memo • January 1988
In 1987 the Chicago Teacher’s Union struck for the ninth consecutive time. Joe Loftus proposed a reform idea, but it did not pass. In 1993 he called Minnesota. “What’s this ‘charter schools’ I’m hearing about?”, he asked. “I proposed that in 1988.” Here are the key pages of Joe’s proposal, an interesting case of parallel invention.
Leased vs. Owned Departments (And Some Implications for Schools)
Memo • December 1987
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!”
Measuring Quality in Health Care and Education
Meeting Notes • June 1986
In health care, as in education, there is pressure to increase revenue. In K-12 this results from a need to improve quality; in health care, from a need to expand access. Like clinics and hospitals, K-12 districts seeking additional revenue like to say “my cases are tougher.” Walt McClure describes techniques for measuring quality that show major differences in effectiveness among the ‘producers’.
Professionals and Administrators: Two Models of Organization
Meeting Notes • May 1983
Notes from an evening with a group of teachers, and the partners in a law firm and a medical clinic. The discussion about the relationship of professionals and administrators, in law and medicine, compared to the relationship of teachers and principal in a typical school, is fascinating especially with regards to authority and pay.
Resisting the Temptation to Comprehensive Action
Memo • May 1983
Consider a given public policy problem. Everyone sees the problem is complex. From this comes an impulse to control all its elements. Everyone sees the importance of improvement. From this comes an impulse to command improvement. Together these produce the ‘blueprints’ we so often see: lists of actions all of which must be taken, in a certain order, over a period of time. But in the public sector blueprints usually fail. Mechanisms of “mutual adjustment” usually work better.