The First School District to Put Itself Out of Business

Published by — Nowhere in America has a school system leaped forward so fast.  Apparently, it takes a hurricane to inspire that much responsiveness to kids. In 2003, Louisiana’s state department of education created the Recovery School District (RSD).  New Orleans’s schools were among the worst in the country, so the state asked the RSDContinue reading “The First School District to Put Itself Out of Business”

Rhode Island Legislates Low Expectations

Published by — You would think the RI Legislature would be knocking itself out to back workforce development… but no. Currently, Rhode Island has the highest unemployment in the nation.  As unemployment was falling nationally, RI stayed high even as train-wreck states like Michigan (with the near demise of the auto industry) and NevadaContinue reading “Rhode Island Legislates Low Expectations”

Seniority and Tenure, the Absence of Human Decision-Making

Published by —  The only big surprise regarding the Vergara v. California decision is that it took so long. I first read a teachers contract 20-ish years ago.  A group of parents who were furious about their kids’ schooling had organized an advocacy group.  Of its several subcommittees, I joined the one examining the contract. Continue reading “Seniority and Tenure, the Absence of Human Decision-Making”

Graduating From High School With Great Work Habits

Published by — At this school students take ownership of their behavior as well as their learning. “Aaaaah, someone let the chickens out.” Melissa Hall, Vice Principal of Greene Charter School in W. Greenwich, RI, has been keeping an eye out the window behind her desk while she and others were answering my questions.  AContinue reading “Graduating From High School With Great Work Habits”

2014, When All Kids’ Performance Were Supposed To Be Equal

Published by — I wish America could see how mean it is to its kids. In January 2002, the worker bees were settling into their jobs at the Rhode Island Department of Education after the Christmas break.  I was sniffing around for stories and ran into Dr. Dennis Cheek, the head of research, who wasContinue reading “2014, When All Kids’ Performance Were Supposed To Be Equal”

Terrific School Morale Improves Math Scores

Published by — Sometimes top-down reform is necessary, but that lasting, significant change depends on staff morale. “I think if there is one thing I have learned, it’s that cooperation, collaboration and consensus-building are way overrated.” – Michelle Rhee, former D.C. Schools Chancellor, now founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, at the Aspen Institute’s 2008 educationContinue reading “Terrific School Morale Improves Math Scores”

Face It: Helping All Kids Graduate Requires a Second Shift of Supportive Adults.

Published by — teachers aren’t enough — a host of adults in various roles are required to support kids throughout their educations. Of the 20-year-olds who were unemployed during the recent recession, roughly 70 percent were high-school drop-outs. Dr. Robert Balfanz asks, “With no diploma and no work history, are they ever going toContinue reading “Face It: Helping All Kids Graduate Requires a Second Shift of Supportive Adults.”

Persistently Low-Performing Schools Need More Options from the Feds

Published by — Obama and Duncan’s four turnaround models for failing schools are a step in the right direction, but they comfort the status quo. In 2009, the Obama/Duncan administration announced that they would spend serious money and attention redeeming the 5,000 worst schools in the nation. To my mind, this has been theirContinue reading “Persistently Low-Performing Schools Need More Options from the Feds”

Ron Wolk, How Education Resources Waste Minds

Published by — Ron Wolk book is about how our education system is outdated, mismanaged, and how we might start getting it right. Now in his 80s, Ron Wolk has no patience for mincing words. So Wolk, the founder and original editor of Education Week, wrote Wasting Minds – Why our education system isContinue reading “Ron Wolk, How Education Resources Waste Minds”