While the “education wars” dominate media coverage of school reform debates, largely unnoticed research is mounting that student outcomes are strongest in districts pursuing intensive collaboration among teachers and administrators—the inverse of the conflicts that attract so much attention.
In this excerpt from my new e-book, Beyond the Education Wars: Evidence That Collaboration Builds Effective Schools, I look at the case of Springfield, Massachusetts. Its once-struggling public schools have seen modest but significant improvements in its standardized test scores—gains that have come in the wake of a joint labor-management initiative that radically transformed the culture of its teachers and administrators.READ MORE
Vice-President for Programs, Greg Anrig's piece in the Huffington Post:
Creativity comes about from interdisciplinary ways of seeing things, Sir Ken Robinson tells us in his TEDTalk. One of the central reasons that most schools fail to nurture the ability of students to connect dots across different disciplines is that they are rigidly structured, much like old-fashioned assembly lines. Each classroom is a box in which a teacher imparts information about a particular subject. Students move through the day from one box to the next, while teachers stay in their own boxes isolated from colleagues and following the same instructional practices they have always used. In essence, the walls of the classroom create walls in the minds of students and teachers, inhibiting the learning process.READ MORE
Vice-President for Programs Greg Anrig's piece in the Pacific Standard:
The Chicago teachers’ strike, which is now entering its second week, represents more than a simple dispute about pay and benefits, as many observers have noted. It’s more like a gauntlet thrown down against the entire education reform agenda—the broad centrist policy movement that seeks to bring merit pay, metrics, pink slips for underperformance, and other business school concepts to the American schoolhouse. Indeed, one of the main sticking points in the dispute is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s desire to tie a substantial part of teachers’ professional evaluations—as much as 40 percent—to their students’ performance on standardized tests.READ MORE
As President Barack Obama continues to shape his domestic agenda, he has indicated that he plans to identify, support and expand programs that work, while eliminating things that don’t work. In a new policy brief from The Century Foundation, Greg Anrig, vice president for policy, looks at three highly successful state education initiatives that are working for children, their families, and their communities. “Educational Strategies That Work” examines Oklahoma’s universal pre-K program, the voluntary inter-district transfer program in St. Louis, Missouri, and New Jersey’s innovative low-income public schools. “Educational Strategies that Work” is the first brief in The Century Foundation’s “Building on Success” series. This series will examine ideas and strategies that are successful at the state and local levels that could be expanded or emulated nationwide.READ MORE
Most K-12 education reforms are about trying to make "separate but equal" schools for rich and poor work well. The results of these efforts have been discouraging. The Century Foundation looks at ways to integrate public schools by economic status through public school choice. At the higher education level, we examine ways to open the doors of selective and non-selective institutions to students of modest means.
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