Competition (and a little new blood) may be just the thing

Colorado Springs superintendent and teacher-compensation-reform pioneer Mike Miles is taking the reins in Dallas. The political and practical challenges of adapting his promising approach to a large urban district are no joke, but it's encouraging to see such a district buying in on a leader with a track record of taking on broken systems.

The Center for Education Reform recently released its annual review of the nation's charter school laws. Even with 2011 victories for charter schools in several states, the U.S. still averaged a "C" by CER's reckoning, a good reminder that choice supporters can't afford to rest on recent successes. (For another thorough look at the state of charter laws, don’t forget NAPCS’s excellent rating system.)

David Brooks neatly framed America’s economic and political divide this week in his description of two distinct U.S. economies, one driven by global competition to improve at all costs, the second insulated from these forces and slow to adapt as a result. Education, as Brooks notes, falls into the latter category, and that’s a shame: Make no mistake, our schools are very much in competition with those in other countries…and we’re not winning.

Getting Americans to sign on to an overhaul of the rules and systems governing our schools takes time, but here’s one reform we should all be able to agree on: In order to succeed, teachers cannot be hamstrung by a system that bends over backwards to litigious parents.

Congrats are owed our colleagues at Education Sector on the arrival of distinguished education scholar/reformer John Chubb as interim CEO. A veteran of Brookings, Stanford, Hoover, Edison Schools, and, most recently, Leeds Global Partners, John has co-authored seminal books on both school choice and education technology and has written sagely on many other topics, including his excellent recent Fordham piece on the governance of digital learning. We wish him and EdSector well.

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