St. George’s School in England was a failing school — filled with children who were struggling in their lives and whose school was a reflection of that chaotic state of being. Today, it’s one of the top 2% nationally. If you wonder how such a change could be brought about, take a look at this […]
Category Archives: Leadership
Increasingly, I’m hearing a question that drives me crazy: “Are you for or against charter schools?”
There can only be one legitimate answer to that question: It depends.
Are you speaking of the situation in Michigan, in which four out of five charter school operators are for-profit entities? Or the overall tendency for charters to be even more segregated than their public school neighbors? Or the reluctance by some charter leaders to hold themselves to the same standards of transparency and openness as traditional public schools?
If so, thumbs down.
But if you’re talking about places like Baltimore, where all charter school teachers are unionized (and the charters themselves are almost all locally conceived and teacher-led), or if you’re pointing to the growing movement among some charters to intentionally enroll and serve integrated student bodies – by way of the National Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools – the picture takes a very different shape.
And then there’s what’s happening with Summit Basecamp – a new sort of partnership between charters and traditional public schools that may very well offer the best evidence so far of what Al Shanker first called for back in 1988, when he imagined a new kind of school in which teachers could experiment with different ways of reaching students, and then inject that wisdom back throughout the public school system.
What makes a mind come alive?
How can one community impact every child?
What do schools need to be changing from, and to?
And how can states set the conditions for lasting change?
In theory, these questions have always mattered. In reality, they are about to matter a lot more now that the United States Congress is poised to reauthorize its central education policy for the first time in thirteen years – and usher in an era of state authority on everything from school accountability to teacher education policies.
Now that the balance of power is shifting back towards the states, what should they do with it?
Every writer knows what it means to “kill your darlings.”
I’ve decided that if I were to pick one person who embodies the ersatz character of contemporary American cultural life, that person would be Oprah Winfrey.
Let me explain.
Tanesha Dixon vividly remembers the first summer she spent as a teacher – as part of a service program in Uganda, just before her senior year at Notre Dame.
This week, the last five traditional neighborhood schools in New Orleans’ Recovery School district were closed – making it the country’s first district made up entirely of charter schools.
That’s a good thing, right?
There’s a great book out by Harvard’s Michael Sandel on the moral limits of markets. But Sandel’s book also contains a lot of interesting information about incentives, and the ways our use of them has both grown and revised the traditional economic thinking that began with Adam Smith’s original 1776 notion of an “invisible hand.”
If a prominent urban school leader told you he couldn’t recall being informed that half his city’s schools may have allowed the gross mistreatment of students to occur, would you believe him? And even if you did, would you still want him in charge of your children?
The decision by DC Council Education Committee Chairman David Catania to hire an outside law firm to craft school reform legislation is an awful one, worthy of serious public rebuke – and for two interrelated reasons.