Doing more with less in K-12 education - a timely discussion for Ohio
This week 140+ local school district leaders and members of the business and philanthropic communities gathered in northern Ohio to take part in two Doing More with Less in K-12 Education events. The events, one held at Cleveland State University and the other at Lorain County Community College, were intended to help local education, business, and community leaders identify ways to think smart about cuts to schools spending while still staying focused on student achievement.
The event was moderated by our own Chester E. Finn, Jr. and featured three panelists: Nate Levenson, co-founder of District and Community Partners- a consulting group that helps district improve their special needs programs while reducing costs; Steven Wilson, founder and president of Ascend Learning- a charter school management organization in New York City; and Paolo DeMaria, principal at Education First Consulting and former executive vice chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. All three panelists brought a unique and different viewpoint, helping attendees grasp what it means to do more with less in K-12 education. These events could not have been timelier as school districts around the state have to learn how to operate with fewer resources. The event can be watched in its entirety here and the presentation can be viewed here. The following are some of the best tweets and photos from the events. You can view the Twitter stream using #morewless.
Terry Ryan: spending/achievement conundrum - spending more $ but achievement flat
Levenson: Even when $ is tight, need to invest in better data systems
Levenson says that about less than 1 in 25 CFOs/leaders he talks to can say how much they're spending & what the outcomes are
Levenson: Tests & standards are expensive, but nothing is more expensive than a kid not learning (and not having data to know it)
Levenson: We've created system in which kids who need the most get teachers who are not the most successful; we give them small class size
Wilson: Fiscal crisis = incredible opportunity to fundamentally redo K-12, especially in urban areas
Wilson: Small increases in class size can have profound savings
Wilson: So how do we make teachers more productive? Frequent evals, radical overhaul of PD, extend reach of effective teachers
Wilson: Rotating bad teachers from one school to the next is an obscenity
DeMaria: Districts can't just hold themselves over for 1-2 years; NEW NORMAL means long-term financial challenges
DeMaria: Standards, assessment & accountability hugely important (Checker asked if these were luxury goods during tight times)
DeMaria's advice to districts: Do a unit-cost analysis a la Marguerite Roza
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