It is tempting to believe that smart cities need "smart systems"—systems where technocrats attempt to implement the best practices of a given era; systems where government officials review the research, design strategies, and then push the bureaucracy to implement (often with mixed success).


It was a late night in April, after a long, warm San Jose day leading a local district school as the principal; I was now at a student recruitment event at a local church. During that entire year I had led my district school as principal during the daytime hours (it would end the year as the fourth best elementary school for low income students in the entire state of California) and then in the evenings and late nights, I would meet with prospective families and students for the charter school that we were opening in a mere four months.


No single school sector can adequately address the education crisis in our country's large cities. We need meaningful collaboration and resource-sharing among all types of schools, leaders, and teachers who have in common an intense desire to improve and a fiery belief that all children are capable of achieving at a high-level.


In Houston, we're finishing one massive bond program and already deep into another - the largest in Texas history -- that are creating dazzling 21st century schools with a technological infrastructure that will allow us to personalize learning and prepare our students for higher education and careers as never before.


America is a country that has flourished based on innovation. The worlds of medicine, private industry, and nonprofits are now embracing innovation as a key to solving age-old problems. Unfortunately, the policy makers in education are creating an environment where leaders in the areas of greatest need—our cities—are being left behind.


By: Phyllis Lockett About a decade ago in Chicago, there were at least 27 communities, mostly concentrated on the south and west sides, where over 75 percent of the schools failed state standards. Since then, we've helped open 80 new schools and set the bar for citywide improvements to public education, but the truth is that the zip code you are born in in this city still can define your life's trajectory. If you are a kid growing up in one of these communities today, unless you are lucky enough to get into a magnet, selective enrollment, or charter school, ...


When it comes to education innovation, all cities are not created equal.


Imagine a map of what a learner needs to know, different ways to learn it, and a collection of their demonstrations of competence. You're probably picturing a blended learning environment for students. Instead, imagine that every teacher has access to their own professional map--reflecting common expectations differentiated by speciality, subject, level, and school type--that offers a clear description of what teachers should know and be able to do.


It can be a difficult challenge for teachers to meet students where they are and also teach grade-level mathematics. Negotiating that tension is the subject of this post, in which I'll offer some thoughts on striking smart balances in rotation models. I've also included thoughts from two mathematics teachers, Allyson ("Ryan") Redd of North Carolina and Peter Tang of Tennessee.


When Preston Smith and I started Rocketship almost 9 years ago, one of the things he really cared about was the relationship between teachers and parents. It had been incredibly important to his success as both a teacher and principal. Preston built an incredibly deep culture of parent engagement at Rocketship with home visits to every family, monthly community meetings, and volunteer time in every classroom.


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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