Three Things I Used to Think About School Reform

Two months ago, Nancy Flanagan wrote a great piece about changing her mind when it comes to school reform, which inspired me to do the same at the New York Time’s SchoolBook:

I used to think that if I didn’t know the solution to the problem, I could figure one out. I now think some problems are so complex that there can never be a silver bullet.

I used to think we needed to create model schools that could then be replicated. I now think that it is so hard to sustain a model that each school needs to be invested in its own unique vision.

I used to think our goal should be to create systems of great schools. I now think great schools are so hard to create and maintain that our goal should be to create good and sustainable ones.

Read the rest here.

3 thoughts on “Three Things I Used to Think About School Reform

  1. This is well-done, Stephen. Very thoughtful and, I might add, courageous to admit your own shortcomings in such a public forum. This should be required reading for anyone with a stake in education (and don’t we all have a stake in education?).


  2. Really thoughtful piece, Stephen. There’s so much about education that does not lend itself to “one size fits all” solutions — even within the same school or community. A big part of what we do as teachers is formed out of what I think of as heart energy, and that is not something that can be mandated, transferred, or replicated from one set of teachers to another. I also appreciated your idea about sustainability as a foundation for success. The current slash-and-burn model is not only not sustainable, it is actively wasteful of scarce resources.

    – Elizabeth (aka @cheesemonkeysf on Twitter)


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