Open Happiness

Dusting off the blog to give a few thoughts on the Mad Men finale. A few caveats: I stayed up way to late to read recaps and reviews, so I don’t know if I have many truly original thoughts. You simply must read Tom & Lorenzo’s “Mad Style” recap. They do such a great job.…

The District-Charter Relationship: Is Goodwill Enough?

I’m part of a team that studies District-Charter Collaboration Compacts. How well are these agreements working? They’ve fostered increased goodwill, but that may not be enough. A refresh and refocus is needed for Compacts to achieve their original goal: improving education for all kids in a city by sharing resources and responsibility across sectors.

What Type of Society Do We Want to Live in?

There are lots of provocative ideas in this blog post discussing a new book from John Abbott, director of the 21st Century Learning Initiative, but I was most struck by this sentence: “disaffection with the education system reflects a much deeper societal malaise.” I’ve never been a fan of the idea that our country has been in…

The American Dream: A Case for Optimism

What is the essence of the American Dream? A house, two cars, and 2.3 children that will grow up to live a better, more fulfilling live than you did? This dream seems beyond the grasp for many Americans in the wake of the Great Recession and a global economy that appears to help stratify the…

Do We Really Need Test Scores?

In a conversation about education reform recently, someone asked me about the focus on test scores and whether that resulted in entirely too much class time on “test prep”. I think it is a risk, to be sure, that “test prep” will consume instruction. But I think several trends mitigate this risk. For one thing,…

Revamp the Funding Formula, Set the Stage to Meet Student Needs

“For me it’s like common sense, but it’s actually revolutionary,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan when asked recently about California’s new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). LCFF represents the conclusion of a several-year effort to fundamentally rethink the way that California provides funding to schools.  As Secretary Duncan indicates, LCFF starts with a fairly simple…

What’s Fair in Funding?

California Governor Jerry Brown is sticking to his bold “Local Control Funding Formula” (LCFF).  It’s been interesting to see that push back is coming primarily from Democratic legislators, primarily based on the idea that it would be more “fair” if the state increased the base grant for all students, rather than provide so much supplemental funding,…