Publications

Book · August 2004

Ted Kolderie's book expands the 'theory of action' for state policy leadership. It explains why governors' and legislatures' efforts to open a new-schools sector is imperative for public education, to enable it to do the job it has now been given to do.

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.

Report · January 2004

Some national organizations that find good schools a way to further their own mission are now moving to create—and support—new schools in the charter sector. The National Council of La Raza is one example. This can be done in some states through sponsoring (authorizing). Elsewhere it can take the form of partnerships.

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?

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.

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

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

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 · 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.

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.

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