Four Paths For the Future

This post describes four possible paths forward towards significant improvement for the school system.

Thank you

By Jal Mehta As we close the blog, I wanted to thank everyone involved. Elizabeth Rich at Education Week was really important in seeing the potential for this kind of venture, the contributors did their part by laying out a wide range of potential visions, and the commenters have greatly enriched the conversation in their contributions. Helen Malone did great work in administering the blog, as well as writing a post. Thanks also to the Hewlett and Spencer Foundations for funding this work. A couple of programming notes: There will be an online chat in a couple weeks with Bob ...

Trusting the People Who Do the Work

This post suggests we need to devolve trust from feds and states to districts, from districts to schools, from schools to teachers, and from teachers to students.

Are We on the Wrong Path?

This post looks at international evidence and poses a strong challenge to the American approach to school reform.

What Can the Federal Government Do Well?

This piece offers a quick sketch of what the federal government is well positioned to do in education.

Bolder, Broader Action: Strategies for Closing the Poverty Gap

The inclusion of wraparound services is pragmatic approach to long unaddressed problems in the lives of children, problems that routinely interfere with learning. It's high time that we, as educators, recognize these problems and begin to get more active in working with others to solve them as they constitute such a threat to our achieving our educational aspirations. We must maintain our commitment to high expectations, regular assessments, and accountability. However, we must face up to those factors which are undermining our best instructional intentions.

Joel Klein and the Bureaucratic Mind

No one, I dare to reckon, has accused Joel Klein of possessing a bureaucratic mindset. Let me be the first. I do so because it is one particular aspect of this mindset--a narrow focus on a designated function and set of institutional tools-- that seduces too many well-intentioned reforms to dismiss the "outside-in" consideration of non-school factors that Paul Reville and I argue in our commentary will be a important tools for social intervention in the future of education reform.

Prove It!

A popular phrase coined a few years back, "schools can't do it alone," suggests that we, as a society, place too high of a burden on our schools to both alleviate all the negative influences that play a role in student learning, such as those associated with poverty, and at the same time, prepare every student to access and graduate from college. For schools feeling pressure to "do it all," having community partners that offer learning opportunities, provide enrichment activities, and engage children and youth in positive developmental experiences seems appealing; however, school-community partnerships continue to be sporadic, and the ...

On Time Horizons and Education Outcomes

I believe that much of our current education policy effort is mistakenly adopting a short-term perspective that inadvertently rewards actions with an immediate impact and discounts actions - the same one that most good parents make -- that may germinate for years before blossoming in very important ways.

Closing the Poverty Gap: The Way Forward for Education Reform

We need to reinvent a child development and education system that is equal to the bold aspirations for student success that we appropriately proclaim for the 21st century. All means all.


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