As families and communities gather to watch students walk across the stage in cap and gown to receive a high school diploma, it is often a time of great celebration. Sadly, according to a new analysis from the NAEP governing board, fewer than 40% of of seniors are prepared for college. Further, many graduate without a clear plan for college or career-ready skills.


The Donnell-Kay Foundation is encouraged by many of the exciting opportunities growing for students across the nation. However, after decades of work to improve and expand educational opportunities for students in our state, we have come to the conclusion that change will continue to occur in pockets, and be largely incremental, if we are solely reliant on innovation occurring within the existing education system.


Educators have heard the good news this year that the United States has for the first time reached a high school graduation rate of 80%, with gains in large urban districts and among African American and Latino students as significant contributing factors.


A new paper written by four Stanford Students, in coordination with Digital Learning Now and The Stanford Public Policy Program, outlines a framework for states to solicit and select providers of online and blended learning services. It builds on the innovative Louisiana Course Choice model and "presents a coherent payment mechanism for supplemental courses that incentivizes quality student outcomes and forms the basis for practical and adaptive state level policy."


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, ...


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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