Publications

Memo · August 1993

The (then) executive director Colorado School Boards Association Randy Quinn wondered, after the chartering law passed over its opposition, whether this new idea might not really be “a blessing in disguise” for boards of education.

Memo · January 1992

Districts are unable to control their costs, Minnesota superintendents concede. This helps explain a central notion in K-12, that all budget problems are to be solved on the revenue side.

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.

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.

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!”

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.

Memo · November 1981

George Young, in 1981 superintendent of St. Paul, foresaw technology as a tool not to replace teachers, but to help them do their jobs. Using technology to individualize education can reform a system where students are lumped into grades and instructed as a group regardless of their learning style and abilities.

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