Released today, "Leading in an Era of Change: Making the Most of Course Access Programs," highlights policies and signals an important evolution in education.


What does it take to get students interested in learning entrepreneurial skills?


Schools are not sports teams. For students, education shouldn't be a zero-sum game among adults. It doesn't have to be. Adult labels can be put aside in favor of better schools for students.


We tend to think first about the needs of the system and create solutions from there. But what if we looked first to the needs of people, and then designed ways the system could meet its goals by serving these needs?


By: Stacey Childress. Pull mechanism refers to things like challenges, prizes, and advanced market commitments - ways of paying for innovations based on their actual performance. This in contrast to government agencies and philanthropists making upfront investments in design and development of solutions and then "pushing" them to buyers and users. A key idea is that some sort of coordinated action on the demand side - in this instance from schools, districts, and states - will create compelling reasons for suppliers to behave differently, better, more responsively.


The potential of technology to personalize learning, to boost achievement and to better equip learners to thrive in college and career is no secret. Yet, to realize this potential, kids must be connected.


By: Nick Donohue. Any good conversation about deep educational change naturally orbits back to ideas about communities and families. However, even lighter engagements -- homework help, teacher conferences and basic communications between home and school - prove elusive.


Public schools' struggles to innovate aren't unique to education either. Businesses struggle consistently with the innovator's dilemma--the ability to prioritize disruptive innovations that would cannibalize their existing business.


By: Frederick Hess Creating a great education system isn't just a matter of practice, because rules, regulations, contracts, and cultures can stymie even the most committed educator. But it can't just be a matter of policy, because what really matters is what educators do in schools--and policies can make people do things but they can't make them do them well (see school turnarounds, teacher evaluation, et al.). Successful education reform ultimately requires both policy change and also the kind of school, system, and teacher leadership able and willing to deliver on new possibilities. This all sounds kind of "duh" so ...


We are, let's face it, a Tower of Babel when it comes to defining what we're all doing here. That sounds disparaging, but I don't actually mean it that way. Reimagining the desired outcomes and the common student experience of America's public schools is a messy, chaotic business - and that's what real change looks like.


The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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