A roadmap for education reform

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Well-meaning education reformers are too often content to layer their new proposals atop outdated schools and systems. Unsurprisingly, school improvement efforts have repeatedly failed to deliver the results for which we hoped. Doing radically better will require state, civic, and system leaders to embrace a more coherent and comprehensive push to overhaul antiquated structures, regulations, policies, and practices.

To help spur such an effort, the American Enterprise Institute and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute have released eight new blueprints that, taken together, sketch a bold set of interlocking strategies for dramatically improving the entire educational ecosystem. The contributors, some of the sharpest minds tackling school reform today, use Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a city recognized for its pioneering school choice efforts, as a prism through which to examine what this overhaul can look like in practice.

FACT:
Fully 97% of what makes teachers effective is related not to their background and qualification but to what they do in class.

  • In "From ‘Professional Development' to ‘practice': Getting Better At Getting Better," Doug Lemov, author of the nationally-recognized book, Teach Like A Champion, and a founder of Uncommon Charter Schools, outlines a whole new way to think about professional development.


The percentage of students attending failing schools in the nation's first Recovery School District has been reduced from 78% to 40%.

  •   In "The Recovery School District Model," CEO of New Schools for New Orleans Neerav Kingsland, for the first time, sketches specific actions steps for how states can shape and adopt a turnaround district like the nation's first Recovery School District in Louisiana.

Remaining contributors offer recommendations on:

  • Michael B. Horn and Megan Evans, new schools and innovative delivery
  • Michael Petrilli, quality control measures
  • Ranjit Nair, human capital strategy
  • Karen Hawley Miles, Jonathan Travers, Genevieve Green, management of financial capital
  • Jon Fullerton, research and development efforts
  • Heather Zadavsky, governance and central management


This project, titled "Pathway to success for Milwaukee schools," and edited by Frederick Hess, director of Education Policy at the American Enterprise Institute, and Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, an assistant professor at Seton Hall University, can be found at www.aei.org. For more information about the project, please contact Lauren Aronson at lauren.aronson@aei.org. To set up an interview, please contact mediaservices@aei.org.

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About the Author

 

Frederick M.
Hess
  • An educator, political scientist and author, Frederick M. Hess studies K-12 and higher education issues. His books include "Cage-Busting Leadership," "Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age," "The Same Thing Over and Over," "Education Unbound," "Common Sense School Reform," "Revolution at the Margins," and "Spinning Wheels." He is also the author of the popular Education Week blog, "Rick Hess Straight Up." Hess's work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Review, Social Science Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, American Politics Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappan, Educational Leadership, U.S. News & World Report, National Affairs, the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic and National Review. He has edited widely cited volumes on the Common Core, the role of for-profits in education, education philanthropy, school costs and productivity, the impact of education research, and No Child Left Behind.  Hess serves as executive editor of Education Next, as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, and on the review boards for the Broad Prize in Urban Education and the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. He also serves on the boards of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and 4.0 SCHOOLS. A former high school social studies teacher, he teaches or has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University and Harvard University. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Government, as well as an M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum, from Harvard University.


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  • Email: rhess@aei.org
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    Name: Sarah DuPre
    Phone: 202-862-7160
    Email: Sarah.DuPre@aei.org

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