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August 27, 2014

Contracting Not an Easy Answer, as Los Angeles iPad Venture Shows

After disclosures of possible improprieties in the negotiation and letting of contracts, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy has halted purchases of Apple iPads under a $30-million contract that was to be the first round of a $1-billion program. Now that the district has hit the reset button on the troubled program, it's time to learn from experience. The real lesson here isn't about iPads; it's about managing through contract.

August 25, 2014

Who Are These Kids? Language Learners in California

The English Language Learner lawsuit ruled upon August 12 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant probably won't grab the attention of Silicon Valley billionaires the way the Vergara suit has, but it's still a big deal. EL students make up about a quarter of the state's student population, and it's important to understand who they are.

August 19, 2014

What Happens When Teachers Run Schools?

Teacher-led schools are often defined by what they don't have: a conventional administrator. At the Mission Hill School in Boston, the subject of a PBS Newshour report on Monday, the school as a whole makes decisions and the principal doesn't even have a proper office. Though still rare, these schools carry valuable lessons about how to expand responsibility and authority for teachers. Yet, the real payoff occurs in how students step up and take responsibility for their own learning.

August 18, 2014

Building a Decentralized School System Begins With Teaching, Not Testing

Last week's election in Los Angeles settled—at least for a few months—the question of who is going to be "on the bus" at L.A. Unified. So, as the school district welcomes George McKenna to the horseshoe shaped board table, let's talk about the process of building a new bus. For the last 30 years, at least, reformers have tried to reinvent public schooling in the City of Angels. None has succeeded, and virtually all their plans have been built around the same four elements. But their implementation has tended to get things backward.

August 12, 2014

Steve Barr Tries to Bridge Union-Reformer Divide in Reboot of California's 'Democrats for Education Reform'

Steve Barr has organizing in his DNA, and he, along with retired union leader Joe Boyd, have announced an effort to recreate the California chapter of Democrats for Education Reform as a union-friendly environment. They want to go beyond wedge issues and toward big picture ideas that have broad support. But just getting used to saying pro-union and DFER in the same sentence is a stretch.

August 11, 2014

Negative and Nasty Regime Politics: Another L.A. School Board Election

Tuesday, voters will go to the polls in Los Angeles to elect a member in school board District #1. The race between retired school administrator George McKenna and aspiring politician Alex Johnson has turned negative and nasty. It's enough to make you think that there must be a better way. Maybe, just maybe, some political energy could be directed toward capacity building rather than regime politics.

May 14, 2014

Summer of Learning Program Launched in L.A.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and school superintendent John Deasy officially launched an innovative summer program including digital badges.

April 23, 2014

Digital Badges Have Revolutionary Potential

The digital badges that will be used in the Los Angeles summer learning program have revolutionary potential to extend learning, and what counts as learning.

April 22, 2014

L.A. Mayor, Schools, Nonprofits to Debut Innovative Summer Program

Can your city make you smart? This summer Los Angeles will; it plans a innovative summer program that uses Digital Badges to link schools, kids, and community in four neighborhoods.

April 15, 2014

Teeter-Totter: Ed Reform in 2.5 Minutes

School reform is hard for adults, but it's child's play. Introducing the teeter-totter theory. All you need to know in 2.5 minutes

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