Rethinking Education Governance Session II: Traditional Institutions in Flux

Rethinking Education Governance Session II: Traditional Institutions in Flux

This panel calls into question the ideal of local control. Its panelists—including Jeffrey Henig, Frederick M. Hess, Kathryn McDermott, and Kenneth Wong—will investigate the rise of mayoral control, the growth of interstate collaboration, and the role of the state and federal governments in education. Discussant Margaret Goertz will prod panelists to explain these shifts--and what they think each means for education in the twenty-first century.

Moderator: Patrick McGuinn, associate professor, Drew University

Rethinking Education Governance Session I: Challenges

Rethinking Education Governance Session I: Challenges

From the event Rethinking Education Governance on December 1, 2011 at the Capitol Hilton -

Opening Remarks: Chester E. Finn, Jr.

Session I: Challenges

What governance challenges currently mire efforts to reform education? This panel will tackle the financial systems and governance structures that impede change, drawing on the examples of innovators both within and without the system whose reforms have been stifled or slowed by our curious current structures and policies. It will also explain how our present system has harmed our nation's most disadvantaged youth. Panelists include Cynthia Brown, Michelle Davis, Marguerite Roza, and Steven F. Wilson.

Moderator: Michael J. Petrilli, executive vice president, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Rethinking Education Governance Lunchtime Keynote: Chris Cerf

Rethinking Education Governance Lunchtime Keynote: Chris Cerf

During this lunchtime lecture, New Jersey Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf will discuss his thoughts on how to improve our current education-governance structure, drawing from his experiences as deputy chancellor of New York City Department of Education, his current role at the New Jersey Department of Education, and his time working for the federal government.

** We had some technical difficulties during the Q&A which is why the video is out of focus. We apologize for any inconvenience.

It’s Rick-sanity!

From Lin-sanity to charter school discipline, Mike and Rick take on political correctness in this week’s podcast. Amber breaks down the recent Brown Center report and Chris defends Michael Jackson’s dance moves.

Amber's Research Minute

The 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education

Download the PDF

Amber's Weekly Poll

Tune in next week to find out the answer!

What's Up With That?

‘Billie Jean’ dance move a show stopper - 9 year-old boy suspended for performing Michael Jackson dance move.

The governor of New
York, Andrew Cuomo, received some well-deserved
praise last week for bringing the state education department and the teachers
unions together on a new teacher evaluation rubric. (See here.
And here.
And here
and here
and here
and here.)
As Joe
wrote in the Daily News:

Weeks after declaring he would be a “lobbyist for students,”
Gov. Cuomo delivered his 2.75 million young clients a major victory Thursday,
using the weight of his office to break through the logjam blocking a
common-sense mechanism for evaluating teachers based on whether children are

Though there will be much grousing about how common-sensical
it is to judge teachers based on how their students do on standardized tests
(40 percent of the evaluation)—“it’s a dark day when politicians impose an
untested scheme on educators,” wrote Diane
—the more fascinating part of this story is the New York City

New York's new 'impartial' observors promise to add yet another layer of bureaucracy to an already bloated

The United...

Mount Rushmore
Past presidents might not be too happy with the current state of education.
 Photo by William Andrus.

This is not the time for federal intervention is what they
would say. But I would imagine most of our great presidents would be somewhat
appalled by the barnacled bureaucracy that now counts as our public education
system. I would love to hear what they had to say about these four recent

  • Not
    to be missed
    . Scot Simon’s report for National Public Radio on Kansas City’s failed school system is a needed reminder
    about the delusional thinking of those who defend the current American public
    education system. K.C. is part of a long-line—think Detroit, Newark, Chicago,
    New Orleans—of failed city school systems. 
    One simply cannot take the attacks on school reformers seriously when
    seen through the prism of reports like Simons’.
  • Embracing
  • ...

Weighing the waivers

Mike sat down with Fordham’s new school choice czar, Adam Emerson, to question just how flexible ESEA flexibility turned out to be and to ponder Obama’s abandonment of the D.C. voucher program. Amber looks at a new study on how much value principals add while Chris learns that they sometimes need to bob and weave when handing out teacher evaluations.

Amber's Research Minute

Estimating the Effect of Leaders on Public Sector Productivity: The Case of School Principals

Amber's Weekly Poll

Tune in next week to find out the answer!

What's Up With That?

Springfield, MA teacher punches vice principal during evaluation

Online Learning
The potential of K-12 online learning can't be realized unless we change how we govern education.

If policymakers want to see more rapid technological innovation in K-12 education—innovation that works to the clear benefit of students—they will need to take a hard look at how the public education system has managed to forestall innovation for so many years. They will need to consider how that system is structured, governed, and controlled.

It seems inevitable that technology and online learning will play a sizable role in public schools. But without the driving force of competition, this could be a long time coming. At present, online education plays a tiny role in K-12 education. In 2010-11, roughly 250,000 public school students were involved in full-time online education, nearly all through virtual charter schools, not through the regular public school systems.[1] That is 0.45 percent of public school enrollments. Millions more have “computers in their classrooms,” of course, but true “blended” schnoools can be...

Big changes to edugovernance could translate to big progress for Indianapolis.
Photo by Rob Annis.

We started The Mind Trust in 2006 with an ambitious goal: to
create an ecosystem in Indianapolis
where bold ideas to transform K-12 education could thrive. Six years later,
that vision is coming to fruition.

We have recruited well-established programs such as Teach
For America, College Summit and The New Teacher Project to Indianapolis. We also have invested millions
in fellowships for social entrepreneurs who have come up with bold,
outside-the-box initiatives for improving student outcomes. Both efforts have
helped to build a network of talented leaders in Indianapolis who are working to address some
of the most pressing problems in K-12 education.

We also launched a Charter School Incubator last fall to
provide organizational support for leaders to start networks of best-in-class
charter schools. Over the next few years, that effort will spawn dozens of
top-notch schools...

Every time I see a “poverty and education” story I think of
the famous line from the New Testament in which Jesus says, “The poor you will
always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.” 

So, with education. Want a convenient scapegoat for our
problems? Poverty. It’s there, it’s handy. 

Want a convenient scapegoat for our
problems? Poverty. It’s there, it’s handy.

I sat through an hour meeting of our small school district’s
budget committee last week, most of it devoted to bemoaning our fate as a “poor
district” (over 60 percent of our kids qualify for free and reduced-price
lunch, the standard definition of “poor” for schools) in these recessionary
times. State aid has been nearly flat and the Governor punched through a two
percent local property tax cap. Woe is us. There goes sports. Not mentioned was
the fact that we spend over $22,000 per student! 

has been hitting the poverty gong for some time, most recently in Cleveland, where, she
says, “the level of urban decay is alarming.” I was just in Cleveland...