October 2007 Archives

Competition creates losers as well as winners, and for a variety of reasons some charters and some traditional schools just won't survive. Some wont attract enough students to be financially viable, others wont produce test scores that justify remaining open.

Together with S. 2118, S. 2117 offers investors clear evidence of Congressional resolve to reinforce NCLB’s original intent that only programs of demonstrated effectiveness be purchased with federal funds.

This business opportunity offers one example the indirect approach towards school districts.

Having studied, worked with and invested in owner-operated k-12 firms - and started my own small business in the field several years ago, I can say that there is nothing quite like the mindset of people who have placed everything they own and are behind an idea. It may not be a better or worse mindset, but it is different enough from working for other people, or just with other peoples' money, or with philanthropy's free money that it deserves its own label.

The idea that school improvement program purchases would be based on anything but value; i.e. results at a price, is simply disgusting.

K-12 education needs its own C|NET, and 1105 Media could build it with Education Plaza.

Angel Learning represents the kind of school improvement business investors should be looking into if they believe the promise of online public education.

S. 2118, introduced by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), merely spells out standards for evaluation that define what school improvement providers have always done, will always do, and reasonably assumed NCLB mandated for everyone else.

Without an “integrated student information system,” it will be very hard for any district to leave no child behind. As this RFP suggests, the phrase remains an oxymoron rather than a description of reality on the ground, and so a worthy market.

To hold educators accountable for results - especially with the historically neglected subgroups that are the focus on NCLB, we have to be able to show some capacity to meet the needs of these students at scale.

Any leader of a state education agency, school district or teachers union looking at what it will take to approach NCLB's goal of 100 percent student performance can only be worried about what it means for their organization and the adults they represent. The vast majority can only be expected to balk, and do what they can to slow things down.

Investing now in DeVry is to invest in a firm that has diversified its risks - and just maybe added to the pipeline for its post-secondary students. Investing in K-12 is to make a bet on a firm that's placed all its eggs in one basket.

t is ironic that in 2007 people are arguing the 100%/2014 is an impossible dream. I would have a great deal more sympathy if this was 2012 and schools were meeting a 90% target.

Proficency targets are the single most important factor determining the size of the school improvement market as measured by potential sales revenues.

Education reporting is not about any provider’s offering, even when the provider dominates the story.

Middle grade teacher preparation across the state; an outside contractor (so outsourcing is already happening); and all kinds of ties to schools, teachers’ colleges and state education agencies.

I don’t see how we get the educational programs we need to improve student achievement if we leave school improvement to superintendents who seek programs that will work across their districts, and providers able to block all but their sister oligarchs from the marketplace.

There's no state of emergency, no need for dictatorial authority, and no relationship between the real predicament and the requested powers.

Mowing down one set of bureaucrats only to replace them with another performing the same set of control functions won’t get us to better schools.

The process of school support isn’t working in many school districts. The fault lies not with the central office, but with the district leadership that approved the sluggish process.

Adherents to the New Philanthropy believe that public schools need central direction. They just think they could do a better, smarter, cheaper job of it.

Streamlining the central office makes sense, but more often than not central office cuts leave a bureaucracy with the same responsibilities and fewer people, and offers the superintendent a temporary respite from ongoing pressures to reduce classroom expenditures.

Current RFP from the October 8 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report.

Unlike teachers unions, bureaucracies don't block district change strategies as a matter of deliberate policy, individual obstructionism is rare, and incompetent individuals can be removed if their managers make it a priority.

Beyond the Department of Education, the federal government offers a cornucopia of opportunities for school improvement providers.

While there is no greater political sin than attacking teachers as a class, it's entirely acceptable to stereotype and demonize bureaucrats.

When providers' revenues depend on specific streams of government funding subject to political risk (witness the NCLB reauthorization) taking an expanded view of the market is akin to taking out insurance against business interruption.

If you were an MBA candidate discussing the District of Columbia’s public schools as a case study at the Harvard Business School, would you propose that the Chancellor treat her central office as demoralized troops, or an enemy army? Would you deal with poor performance as a series of individual cases, or would you favor blanket indictments of the organization? If you believed that central office performance was universally poor, would you propose that she dress the troops down in a staff meeting behind closed doors, or in front of the camera for national television? If you found that ...

“[S]chool board OKs charter school at jail,” by Susie Gran in today’s Albuquerque Tribune illustrates that public education agencies are hardly the only source of business for school improvement providers. Federal and state agencies responsible for juvenile justice, workforce training, health and human services, and other government functions have significant needs for the same products, services and programs. More on this over the weekend....

The DC public schools Chancellor needs a central office staff no less than she needs teachers and principals - two groups she's been careful to embrace although they bear as much responsibility for the system's failures as the scapegoats in the bureaucracy.

The Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program (CSRDP) sponsored by Democratic Representative David Obey and Republican John Porter, passed into law in 1998. Fencing off a portion of states’ Title I funds, the legislation created a market-based approach to school-level reform. Until it phased out of NCLB I by the Bush Administration in favor of Reading First (RF), the program was implemented in thousands of schools across America. I was heartened to hear that the Miller-McKeon NCLB II Discussion Draft proposed to revive CSR. I was sorely disappointed when I read the Draft’s relevant provisions. Whatever the program is, it’s...

Ravitch argues NCLB I is “fundamentally flawed." She's wrong.

Florida Creates a Market-Based Reading Intervention Program for Failing Schools...

The purpose of these postings has been to suggest that it's not impossible to get started on understanding the real supply side of school improvement.


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