June 2008 Archives

More often than not, school reform initiatives have started in state legislatures and worked their way across the nation. Problems are felt at the state-level first, and the pressure to act is strongest in state capitals. Federal policy generally reflects consensus among the states more than leadership from inside the Beltway.

Our millennial students no longer communicate with pen and paper but on a keyboard. They no longer take notes, but merely copy/paste from online sources without reflecting, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating their information. If students genuinely understood their information, plagiarism would be eliminated.

For any firm currently in operation, the best advice about a coming business year is that it will be only marginally different from the last and the next. That’s more or less true of school improvement. The more important questions are the direction of trends and the prospects for change. Here the answers must be negative and dim.

Today, the nation is focused on the conservation of hydrocarbons to ameliorate the energy crisis. We might consider improving the efficiency of k-12's basic support functions like purchasing before throwing more money at that problem.

“Impaired objectivity”:... financial interests... in connection with products, property, or services that may be purchased... implementing any program administered by the Department; significant connections to teaching methodologies... or... identification with pedagogical... viewpoints that might... encourage the use of a specific curriculum.....

My top five announcements from each monthly issue of School Improvement Industry Announcements – Policy and Politics. The criterion for selection is information and events that help edbizbuzz readers understand how what happens in Washington shapes our emerging market for school improvement products, services and programs.

A sound analysis of NCLB finance is not a mission to Mars. There are two kinds of costs: 1) compliance with NCLB performance requirements, such as those related to AYP or highly qualified teachers; and 2) the consequences of failure, including supplemental services and public school choice.

My top five press releases from June's School Improvement Industry Announcements – Research and Evaluation.

For all the talking and writing on public education policy and politics, unrecorded decisions to procure curriculum, professional development, information systems and the like have a more immediate impact, and more important influence, on teaching and learning. Some help in raising edbizbuzz readers consciousness.

An estimated $58 million in funding has been allocated for new 2008-09 SIF grants to serve schools in PI Year 5+ and is available on a competitive basis....

The system described in this document is intended to serve as the backbone for technology services to schools from the DOE. The DOE will ultimately assume responsibility for deployment and ongoing support of the application....

Redistributing resources from low-poverty schools to high-poverty schools through the reform of Title I’s comparability requirement should contribute to an important national priority: narrowing the achievement gap.

Successful investment in the school improvement industry depends on managing political risk, and every firm should be engaged with a trade group.

Over time, staff salaries will be traded for technology licenses.

This is basic research, the source of all product development.

Unless the venture is owned by a virtual ATM machine, ‘Profit’ is an absolutely necessary component of both survival and growth – even for non-profit organizations! Profitable Non-profits? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Not really…what a normal business calls ‘retained earnings’, non-profits call ‘retained surplus’.

I say it's possible.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of blogging has been not knowing precisely where debate will lead, stumbling into the odd hornet’s nest, and finding myself in places I would not have considered to be education policy. It’s been a learning experience, and I plan to keep learning.

School improvement providers on the lookout for grants they might leverage to market their programs. Here is an opportunity with a one-to-one dollar match - including in-kind contributions


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