Publications

Report · April 2004

Traditional "charter" evaluation is focusing on the wrong questions. To know "what's working" researchers must focus on the institutional innovation of chartering rather than trying to generalize about the very diverse collection of schools. This RFP is designed to elicit recommendations on ways to strengthen chartered schools and to improve the state's overall policy framework for chartering.

Article · April 2004

In the April 2004 American Experiment Quarterly, Ted Kolderie wrote that virtually all of our discussion about improving teaching occurs within the traditional assumption that teachers are employees managed by administrators, rather than professionals in control of their work. Current efforts to train teachers, to improve teacher practice, to recruit teachers, to retain teachers and to change the way in which teachers are compensated need not take place within this boss/worker, master/servant framework.

Report · April 2004

Under NCLB school quality is indicated by the percentage of students that tests reveal as proficient in various subject areas at a given time. School improvement is the rate at which this percentage increases. The problem is that equating percentage-proficient with school quality cannot withstand serious scientific scrutiny.

Report · February 2004

A guide for charter school authorizing, from the decision to authorize through contract development. It covers how to assist and oversee the school, and clarifies the relationship to and duties of the state department of education, the sponsor and the board of the chartered school. It also explains the 'Sponsor-Initiated School,' whereby an authorizer actively solicits new school proposals.

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.

Book · January 2004

In this book excerpt, Ronald J. Newell and Irving H. Buchen describe the collaborative culture and democratic-governance structure embodied in EdVisions Cooperative—a teacher professional partnership. They describe how the governance model works in practice, the critical success factors, and the perceptions of involved teachers.

Report · January 2004

Teachers could and should have the option to work—as many other professionals do—with colleagues in a professional group which they collectively own, with administrators working for them. This is the original report on the topic. An inventory of schools with teacher autonomy is available here.

Report · January 2004

Many of the reforms school districts are undertaking involve a significant facilities component. As districts pursue strategies such as opening new schools, breaking up large schools, and renovating buildings, they often incur substantial bricks-and-mortar expenses. This report outlines promising ways to meet their facilities needs.

Report · January 2004

School districts nationwide are taking steps to proactively create new, better schools as a strategy for education reform. Spurred in part by innovations being introduced by chartered schools, district leaders are beginning to create a “space” in which schools can form new.

Report · October 2003

In scaling-up the charter 'movement' it's essential to see the distinction between the schools and the strategy of chartering.

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.

Report · June 2003

Even those close to education policy were astonished by the size and growth-rate of 'alternative education'. Districts have been creating these new schools since the 1970s for "kids not doing well" in 'regular' school. This report includes quotes from alternative school students reflecting on their schools.

Memo · April 2003

Since the late 1990s, there’s been growing discussion about the sponsor’s role – in the ongoing oversight as well as in its initial approval. This paper explores whether sponsors might also play an active role in soliciting proposals.

Speech · April 2003

Chartering was an institutional innovation: the states broke up the public-utility model of K-12. But charter laws do not prescribe some fixed kind of school. They open the potential to create a wide variety of schools. Chartering is essentially an R&D sector for K-12. Research should pay more attention to single cases, individual innovations.

Speech · March 2003

It is quite possible for charter/ing to be succeeding in a state – or in this country - even though many of the schools charter/ed are not. A real obligation lies on those in the research community to evaluate the process of new-school-creation separately - and with measures appropriate to the research-and-development process which in fact it is.

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?

Article · February 2003

Many American tax payers seem willing to raise their taxes to further fund public education. While lack of funding is often viewed as being at the root of our failing education system, raises in per-pupil spending have shown to be less influential than we'd like to believe. Might there be another answer to fixing schools?

Meeting Notes · February 2003

A teacher from Milwaukee describes for the Teacher Union Reform Network the arrangement in Milwaukee—a variation on Wisconsin's chartering law—that gives a partnership of professional teachers full authority and responsibility for the school while protecting both the teachers and the union on the economic front.

Meeting Notes · May 2002

Interview notes from conversations with students at a conference of leaders from Minnesota alternative schools. Students were asked why they attend alternative learning programs, what they like about their programs, and what mainstream school could have done to better serve their needs.

Memo · January 2002

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

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