Structural Reforms

So, while I’ve been on my unannounced blog-cation, most of the blog chatter seems to be about ESEA reauthorization, leadership transition in NYC, and some other big-ticket national items.

For my money, though, the most interesting stuff I’ve read lately has been Sara Mead’s series of posts on the similarity between the research base behind both charter schooling and pre-k.  Here’s a sample:

“I’d suggest that the body of evidence for pre-k is more comparable to the body of evidence on charter schools. In both areas, we have a strong body of evidence that specific models–such as the High/Scope Perry Preschool and the KIPP network of charter schools–“work.” But we also have evidence showing that the broader range of early childhood or charter school operators are something of a mixed bag … Now, does admitting that there is some mixed evidence here discredit the value of charter schooling or pre-k as a strategy to improve educational outcomes? NO! Why? Because charter schooling and publicly funded pre-kindergarten are both ultimately structural reforms that expand the boundaries of public education and create new spaces and opportunities for educators to serve children.”

This is really smart stuff, and it resonates with a point I made late last year about the scalability of structural reforms:

“Doing “what works” is rhetorically obvious, but quite complex from an execution standpoint.  Just because we know how to have some great schools doesn’t mean we have an obvious pathway to ALL great schools.  It would be like saying, ‘Well, some people lose weight, so we know how to stop obesity.'”

Read all of Sara’s stuff on this topic, because it’s quite prescient.

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