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Archive for the 'Charter Schools' Category

Coffee Talk Highlights

We had a terrific Coffee Talk last week.  Thank you to all of our speakers and attendees!  We recorded the speaking segments so you can catch up if you missed the event.  Click here to view the videos and summaries.  Here’s my rundown of our speakers and topics:

Thank you to Congressman Kingston for talking with us about his work at the Federal level.  Congressman Kingston is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.  He is Chair of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.  He works to rein in Federal spending and hold the government accountable for how they spend your tax dollars.  Rep. Kingston’s discussion at Coffee Talk showed how he uses data to inform his decisions.  I’m thankful we have Rep. Kingston serving our state in Washington.  He is also running for the U.S. Senate.  Click here to learn more about his campaign.  I am thankful that Rep. Kingston joined us for Coffee Talk and look forward to seeing him again soon.

We were also fortunate to have Sen. Fran Millar and Rep. Tom Taylor, update the group on educational issues that will be important for the next legislative session, beginning in January 2014.  Rep. Taylor discussed H.R. 486 – a resolution that proposes a constitutional amendment that would allow independent school districts to form in Georgia.  Currently, the Georgia Constitution prohibits the formation of new school districts; capping the number of districts to the 159 county districts plus the 21 city school districts that were grandfathered in with our latest Constitution, adopted in 1983.

Kelly Cadman, VP with Georgia Charter School’s Association, Michael O’Sullivan, Outreach Director for StudentsFirst Georgia and Rich Thompson of 100Dads, gave us valuable information about Charter Schools in Georgia and the roll of parents and citizens to effect needed changes in our state’s educational structure.  Ms. Cadman updated Coffee Talk on the recent submission of the first Charter School Cluster application in our state – the Druid Hills Charter Cluster.  The application is now before the DeKalb County Board of Education.  The Board must render a decision on the application within 90 days.  Mr. Sullivan discussed the importance of parent empowerment and how you can make your voices heard at the Capitol.  Rich Thompson told Coffee Talk we must improve rigor for all of Georgia’s children.  He reminded us that we should be talking about “raising the bar” for all of our students rather than “closing the gap”.

Tying all of the subject matters together, Melvin Everson spoke to Coffee Talk about the connection between education and economic development.  As a former Exec. Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development and the current Exec. Director of Georgia’s Commission on Equal Opportunity, he has seen first-hand when education works to unite students with a meaningful career and when our system fails to train workers for high-paying jobs that go unfilled across our state.

Stay tuned for upcoming Coffee Talks!  If you would like me to come speak to your group, please email or call me.

For your calendars…

Dunwoody Chamblee Parent Council (DCPC)
September 11, 2013 at Dunwoody High School
(Note the September meeting date has been changed.)
October 2, 2013 at Huntley Hills Elementary
November 6, 2013 at Dunwoody Elementary
December 4, 2013 at Kittredge Magnet School
February 5, 2014 at location to be determined
March 5, 2014 at location to be determined
April 2, 2014 at location to be determined
May 7, 2014 at Chamblee High School

RunDunwoodyOctober 20th!

Click her to register for this 5K race!  It’s a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race.  You can also sign-up to be part of a team challenge.  The proceeds from the race go to support Rotarian efforts in local schools and law enforcement and to the world health efforts supported by Rotary.  Click here to read about the specific groups and areas that benefit from this event.

–Nancy

posted by Nancy Jester in Charter Schools,DeKalb County School District,Georgia Education and have Comment (1)

Coffee Talk with Nancy and Friends!

Thursday, August 22nd @9am

Cafe Intermezzo – Dunwoody

 Please join us to hear updates on education in Georgia, including:

  • Charter Schools
  • Parent Empowerment
  • School Choice
  • College, careers and the workplace
  • Legislative update

 

Sponsored by:

posted by WUWT Moderator in Charter Schools,Georgia Education and have Comments Off

Relinquish

We’re all familiar with the old adage about doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  So why are we hiring District School Superintendents the same way and “governing” large school districts the same way?

Yes, we’ve seen Superintendents being hired from outside of the educational establishment, but it has become commonplace and is no longer an innovation. Most significantly, Superintendents with non-traditional backgrounds perform similarly to Superintendents that come from within the educational establishment.

Could it be that the structure of what is managed and governed by Superintendents and Boards is the heart of the problem?

Neerav Kingsland, chief strategy officer for New Schools for New Orleans, recently published a letter on this very issue in EdWeek. Mr. Kingsland argues that we need superintendents who are the “Great Relinquishers.” Under “No Child Left Behind” and other accountability measures, the knee-jerk reaction of administrators has been to strengthen their grip on districts and schools.  It’s an understandable response to the demands of accountability, but it’s the opposite of what will produce results for children and taxpayers.  Tight administrative grip stifles and chokes out real progress and innovation.  When central authority imposes what it determines to be a successful strategy on all schools, uniformity and regimented reporting become the management tools.

While this approach seems rational from the outside, it lacks the agility to address the unique issues that occur within each school and classroom.  It entangles the school level and classroom level professionals and is an obstacle to doing what works best for their communities.

Modern district administration has clung to almost every management fad business schools have spewed over the last decade.  The truth is these management techniques, so carefully codified in management literature, are often themselves unreproducible and yield poor results for businesses who implement them. Click here for a brief review of failed business fads, some of which we still see being tried in school districts today.  If these management fads weren’t successful at producing results for businesses why do Superintendents and their training courses rely so heavily on them?

What we do know from the time of Adam Smith until today, is that the invisible hand works.  No Superintendent or central office bureaucrat can engineer an outcome as optimal as allowing the producers and consumers in the marketplace of education to simply operate as they see fit.  If command and control systems worked to produce the best possible outcomes for society, we would all be speaking Russian today!  Sadly, the educational establishment is trying to make us all speak edu-babble and the business jargon du jour.  When will they learn?

Mr. Kingsland is spot on.  We need The Great Relinquishers.  We need more independent charter schools.  The last 100 years has been the era of The Great Consolidators.  We have gone from more than 100,000 school districts nationwide to less than 15,000 today.  An ever growing percentage of school funding is paid to administrators.  The reformation of education in our state and nation will occur when we move in the opposite direction.

We must free schools and communities from the iron grip of bureaucracies.  No matter how well intentioned, a centrally directed policy, method or program, will fail to maximize educational outcomes for our children.  We need to look for Relinquishers to lead school districts now.  They need to be aggressive in seeking to divest districts of their centrally coordinated practices.  I look forward to the day when philanthropic money rewards the Relinquisher and foundations incentivize leaders to see themselves as the purveyors of educational freedom.

posted by Nancy Jester in Charter Schools,Georgia Education and have Comments (5)