Internet traffic has been especially heavy for the past 32 hours as people across the US are trying to understand just what the decision yesterday by SCOTUS means. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an extremely complex piece of legislation famously weighing in at well over 2,000 pages and already a couple of years into implementation leading to thousands more pages of regulations and guidance to fill in the gaps left to the U.S. Health Secretary Sebellius.
As people learned the news yesterday, of course, some had extra pep in their step; others required pepto-bismol.
Such high-profile ruling with broad implications for federal-state relations is bound to touch on education policy -- and it does. The discussion of the Commerce Clause and whether the individual mandate overstepped the Court's understanding of the CC's power does not impact ed policy but the 7-2 decision on the ACA's Medicaid expansion does.
A little background. When it was established in 1965, Medicaid was limited to “furnish[ing] rehabilitation and other services to help families and individuals attain or retain capability for independence or self care,” and it cost a few billion dollars.
In 1985, the federal government began expanding Medicaid to serve non-welfare recipients. States had authority over administrative functions such as setting asset tests and cost-sharing levels, and could choose whether to cover “optional” groups.
Today Medicaid serves 65 million Americans at a cost of nearly $400 billion. The ACA expands Medicare to cover an additional 17 million Americans at a 10-year cost of $1 trillion and it prohibits changes in benefit levels. The critical aspect of the ACA that came under consideration in the Court was that the law stated that states must enact the Medicaid expansion or risk losing not only new federal funding but all existing (base) federal funding for current Medicaid services.
Back during March's oral arguments on the ACA, the question of whether the law's Medicaid expansion constituted federal coercion came to the fore.
Justice Samuel Alito used a hypothetical about education to ask if the the Medicaid expansion would amount to federal coercion. Assume, Alito suggested, Congress recognizes that education “expenditures are a huge financial burden” on states and announces that “we are going to take that… off your shoulders” through a federal tax that will “raise exactly the same amount of money as… the states now spend on education.”
To get the money, states would simply need to surrender control over teacher tenure, collective bargaining, textbooks, class size, the school calendar and more to the feds. States could theoretically say no, but their citizens would still pay the federal education tax and existing state taxes to fund public education.
“Would that,” Alito asked, “reach the point where financial inducement turns into coercion?” Solicitor General Verilli argued that it wouldn’t; to which Alito curtly responded “[I]f that is the case, then there is nothing left of federalism.”
Alito’s focus on education is instructive. For there is concern among some that the federal role in education has expanded markedly over the years -- and especially so during the Obama administration, which has demonstrated the same federalizing impulse in education as it has in health care.
The same year Medicaid was established, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) broadened federal power over education. In 1979, President Carter answered the prayers of DC-based education special interests by establishing the US Department of Education. The pattern of expanding USDOE’s reach continued through the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) championed by President George W. Bush and Senator Ted Kennedy.
None of these federal efforts raised student achievement, but they sure boosted the US Department of Education’s budget, which has risen from $14 billion in 1979 to $70 billion last year.
Certainly, those concerns about coercion are in part related to the federal department of education's development of national standards and tests, as well as the use of grant money to coax states into action. That practice was not impacted by Thursday
s historic ruling.
But the much-discussed possibility of having the federal department pull Title I funding from states should they not enact policies of the feds' liking is likely dead at this point.
Concern grew when President Obama indicated that access to federal Title I dollars for low-income schools would be contingent upon adoption of national standards — a policy that, unlike Race to the Top, would make the standards anything but voluntary. In remarks to the National Governors Association in February 2010, Obama noted that “as a condition of receiving access to Title I funds, we will ask all states to put in place a plan to adopt and certify standards that are college and career-ready in reading and math.”
On the Medicaid issue, the court effectively ruled 7-2 that the Medicaid expansion violates the U.S. Constitution by threatening the states with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they decline to comply with the expansion.
Congress put "a gun to the head" of the states to force them to to add a much larger pool of the poor to the Medicaid rolls, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in his main opinion inNational Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (Case No. 11-393). Medicaid funding accounts for over 20 percent of the average state's total budget, with federal funds covering anywhere from 50 to 83 percent of those costs, he noted.
"Congress may use its spending power to create incentives for states to act in accordance with federal policies," the chief justice said. "But when pressure turns into compulsion, the legislation runs contrary to our system of federalism."
Roberts said, though, that the Medicaid expansion could be saved by allowing funds to be withheld only for violations stemming from the expansion itself, not from existing funding.
So, without Congressional authority that redefines the purpose of Title I funds, such an action would be impossible.
Pay no mind, though. Today, five more states received waivers from the No Child Left Behind law from the US Education Department. This highly coercive practice, where the USED grants waivers from NCLB's accountability provisions, is based on conditions (adoption of curricular materials, instructional practice guides and national tests) that are contrary to federal law is not impacted by the decision.
That's not unconstitutional. It's just illegal...
The talk of how the SCOTUS decision confirms important principles limiting the federal government to enumerated powers is overblown.
Crossposted at Pioneer's blog. Follow me on twitter at @jimstergios, or visit Pioneer's website.
Today’s lead story in the Globe relates the three years of “reform” by Sito Narcisse at English High:
An extraordinary three-quarters of English High’s teachers and administrators have quit or been let go during the past three years, school records show, as headmaster Sito Narcisse pushed through one controversial initiative after another — from school uniforms to single-sex classrooms to eliminating the grade “D,” forcing students to earn a “C” or fail. Teachers who did not go along with Narcisse’s approach were “not the right fit,” in his words, and he sent 38 of them packing, while dozens of others retired or resigned.
Given the continued drift in the school’s MCAS scores and observations of kids napping in class and worse, the Globe’s Andrea Estes and Jamie Vaznis seem on target in suggesting that all the energy and change the past three years to turnaround the school by English High’s Narcisse was for naught.
A cursory reading of the article suggests an additional takeaway. In their frustration with their inability to move the needle in urban district schools, many administrators, here and around the country, are operating under the justification: We had to do something.
And that’s almost always the first whiff of bad policy in the making.
For it often means “management had to do something” rather than schools have to do something. Given that schools = students + teachers + management + mission (and everything that flows from the mission), you can see the problem. Too often, the new policies lack coherence (connection to mission), an overarching connection to the teachers and the students, and a base in research. It’s not that Narcisse’s push to mandate uniforms was a bad idea, but was it connected to the mission, and if so why did he and the teachers not devise a way to gain traction on the policy and, if need be, enforce it? Same thing with male and female classes. If it was tied to the mission, it would have been implemented with training for teachers, outreach to parents, and follow-up to ensure it was working.
Without connection to a school ethos and mission, such changes not only run into opposition but they are little more than symbols for management. And the symbolic value, I can assure you, does not translate directly for the teachers and students.
Symbolic actions by management are hardly limited to Boston schools. Consider the recent expression of frustration by Rahm Emanuel and the superintendent (with the words: “We had to do something”!) as they called for “longer school days as key to achievement” in the Chicago district schools. Notwithstanding the confident proclamations of former Chicago superintendent and current US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the progress in Chicago has been extremely slow and such frustration is warranted.
But does Chicago have a problem because it only requires 5 and 3/4 hours of school a day? Is the problem, as the spokeperson for the Chicago Public Schools explained, that “[a]mong 10 of the largest cities in the U.S., our students have 22 percent less instructional time than their peers”?
Perhaps. Or is it much more than a question of instructional time in a day? Harsh?
As Mayor Emanuel begins his fight with the Chicago teachers union over lengthening the school day, he certainly appreciates reporters who pitch the battle in the following terms, as did the Reuters/MSNBC writer:
Many children in Chicago Public Schools will go from having the shortest school days in the nation to some of the longest this fall, a move that some experts say is needed to help push the struggling system ahead in student achievement.
The reporter continues:
… in Chicago, public school students have the shortest school day — 5 hours and 45 minutes — among the nation's 50 largest districts, according the National Council on Teacher Quality. The national average is 6.7 hours in school. Under Chicago Mayor Rahm Emnauel's plan, elementary schools will move to seven hours and most city high schools will extend their day to 7½ hours, although one day during the week would be shorter by 75 minutes.
But I am not convinced the facts are on the side of lengthening the school day if the rest of the school activities, governance, expectations/accountability, and mission are left as is. The problems with urban district schools go way beyond, and in fact, trump extended learning time (ELT). As such, ELT is a punt every bit as symbolic and disconnected from coherent reform as the well-intentioned changes advanced by Mr. Narcisse.
I say this not to diminish the importance of time on task. The first opinion piece I ever wrote for a newspaper, way back in 1989, was on the need to extend the school year in the United States. After working as a consultant on how to harmonize high school graduation and college entrance requirements across European countries, I wrote what many feel intuitively: How can we raise our students' achievement levels if they are going to public school 180 days a year (maximum), when some are going to school 213 (Germany) or even 243 days (Japan) a year.
I still think extending the year for schools that are not making the grade can be important due to the research-verified loss of concept knowledge that occurs over the summer vacation, especially in urban districts.
But even with that in mind, it is important not to overstate the time-difference between the US and other countries as a core reason for our falling behind on international assessments.
Consider Aaron Benavot’s 2005 UNESCO report, “A global study of intended instructional time and official school curricula, 1980-2000”, which has a number of interesting takeaways, the most relevant one being that the US is pretty much in line with the rest of the world in terms of annual hours of required instruction.
The Reuters article on Rahm Emanuel's standoff with the Chicago teachers union points to data assembled by the The Center for Public Education, an initiative of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), with primary backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, ARAMARK Education, Apple, Inc., Pearson Education, Sodexo School Services, The Coca-Cola Foundation, ACT, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., The College Board, Microsoft Corporation, and Scholastic, Inc., State Farm Insurance (a big national standards backer) and a long list of state school board associations (Texas’ in a leadership position) for laying out in summary form the facts on instructional time in the US:
According to the OECD, the hours of compulsory instruction per year in these countries range from 608 hours in Finland (a top performer) to 926 hours in France (average) at the elementary level, compared to the over 900 hours required in California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts. Of particular note, no state requires as few hours as Finland, even though Finland scores near the top of nearly every international assessment. As a matter of fact, Vermont – a high-performing state7 -- requires the fewest number of hours (700 hours) for its elementary students (grades 1-2) than any other state, and it still requires more than Finland. Vermont’s requirement is also more than the 612 hours high-achieving Korea requires of its early elementary students. Moreover, all but 5 states require more hours of instruction at the early elementary school level than the OECD countries average of 759 hours.
At the middle school level, total hours of instruction range from 777 hours in Finland (a top performer) to 1001 in Italy (an average performer). Three of our 5 large states, New York (990 hours), Texas (1,260 hours), and Massachusetts (990 hours) would rank near the top of all industrialized nations in number of hours required. California and Florida would rank near the middle at 900 hours but still above the OECD average of 886 hours. It should be noted that even at the middle school level, countries like Japan and Korea require fewer hours (868 and 867 respectively) than most U.S. states. So by the 8th grade, students in most U.S. states have been required to receive more hours of instruction than students in most industrialized countries, including high-performing Finland, Japan, and Korea.
In most countries, there is a significant increase in the time students are required to be in school at the high school level. In the U.S., most states require the same number of hours in high school as in middle school. Just as they did at middle school level, Finland (856 hours) and Italy (1,089 hours) required the fewest and most hours of instruction respectively. Italy’s 1,089 hours surpasses all but 2 out of our 5 selected states. Texas requires 1,260 hours of instruction at the high school level, while California requires 1,080 hours. Korea requires 1,020 hours of instruction at the high school level. Nearly half (22) the states require more instructional hours than Korea. Moreover, the vast majority of states (42) require more hours of instruction than the OECD average of 902 hours. Again, there’s no evidence that students in other countries are required to receive more instruction than students in the United States.
Assuming 180 days of school at 5.75 hours a day, the average Chicago student is receiving 1,035 hours of instruction in a year. Is it enough given the student needs in Chicago?
It may not be. But I am not at all convinced that adding an hour a day to the current system of district schools is a solution. Why? First, the above CPE international data show very clearly that there is no correlation between student performance and time in school. Second, the real question is what you do with the time, the school culture and the expectation set for students so that they are focused during their time on task. Which is why I chafe at this statement from Jennifer Davis, president of the National Center on Time and Learning (located here in Boston and the principal advocate for extended learning time).
“More districts are now looking to break free of the standard school schedule because there are too many students who are not reaching higher academic standards...”
The fact is that in Massachusetts, where the $13-14 million we are spending annually to support extended learning time in a couple of dozen schools has had little effect, as repeated reports from Abt Associates have demonstrated.
The idea of “breaking free of the standard school schedule” is of course a good one, especially as we see expansion of online resources and the success of charter public schools, which have greater autonomy in terms of teacher recruitment, ethos, and management but with a higher level of accountability.
But while they are both public schools, charters differ greatly from districts schools. Charter public schools have greater flexibility, a greater mission focus (that is, a focus on academic performance and the specific school ethos) and a higher level of accountability. So an added hour in a charter is different from an hour in a district school—especially one that has not been reconstituted from the ground up.
That’s why when NCTL head Davis suggests that the Louisiana Recovery District is a good example of how extended learning time can be effective, she is off the mark. It’s not a broad-based strategy that will work. Where it can be helpful is in places like Lawrence, where the receiver is looking to reconstitute specific schools, giving them broad autonomy and in fact installing charter entrepreneurs to run the schools.
ELT supporters should not beef up their case by association with schools that are markedly different from the district schools they believe they can impact by adding hours of instructional time.
Improving schools is a lot harder than simply expanding time. The way forward on ELT is to:
- recognize the limits of ELT as a broad-based policy and restrict expansions of the school day to schools undergoing full reconstitution;
- study why ELT worked in a handful of schools and why it failed to raise student achievement in the majority of schools in Massachusetts where it was tried; and
- give greater consideration to lengthening the school year in target schools, where the research clearly tells us that the loss of concept knowledge over the summer vacation can be impacted by an extended school year.
The history of district-driven reforms is littered with symbolic actions, as we have seen at English High. Few of these reforms have actually worked. Time is too important to waste -- and we should stop treating it, too, like a symbol.
Crossposted at Pioneer's blog. Follow me on twitter at @jimstergios, or visit Pioneer's website.
People often inaccurately thought his masterwork, Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature at which paper supposedly burns), a novel about futuristic firemen being enlisted to burn books, was about government censorship. In point of fact, Ray Bradbury was trying to caution us about something else far more relevant to American readers.
Exasperated by the constant misinterpretation of his book, Bradbury used a 2007 L.A. Times interview to clear up his book’s true meaning, which is this dystopian future: TV would kill peoples’ interest in books, and, in particular -- literature.
Bradbury still has a lot to say, especially about how people do not understand his most literary work, Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953. It is widely taught in junior high and high schools and is for many students the first time they learn the names Aristotle, Dickens, and Tolstoy…
Now, Bradbury has decided to make news about the writing of his iconographic work and what he really meant. Fahrenheit 451 is not, he says firmly, a story about government censorship…
His fear in 1953 that television would kill books has, he says, been partially confirmed by television’s effect on substance in the news. The front page of that day’s L.A. Times reported on the weekend box-office receipts for the third in the Spider-Man series of movies, seeming to prove his point.
“Useless,” Bradbury says. “They stuff you with so much useless information, you feel full.” He bristles when others tell him what his stories mean, and once walked out of a class at UCLA where students insisted his book was about government censorship…
In the 1950s, when Bradbury wrote the novel there was a legitimate concern, as there is today, that people's attention spans would be stunted by TV and that consequently people (and young people in particular) might not develop the intellectual stamina, or discipline, to devote hours to reading difficult books.
But these days, TV has some allies in its war against peoples’ attention and affection for classic literature. As noted previously, Bill Gates has frequently expressed misgivings about the centrality of the liberal arts in the American education system. He has principally made public comments about higher education, but with the Gates Foundation's support for the new national K-12 education standards, he has brought his focus on workforce development to our public schools.
It's sad to see Bradbury's passing at the same time that role of literature and the time and resources committed to literature are being diminished in our K-12 schools.
Architects of the landmark [Massachusetts] 1993 education reform law understood and appreciated our literary heritage; that's why Massachusetts public school students were reading much of the work produced by these and other ancient and modern poets.
The results of our students' grounding in poetry, literature and higher-level vocabulary have been outstanding. In 2005, the commonwealth's fourth- and eighth-graders came out tops in the reading component of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation's report card. In 2007, 2009 and 2011, each time the test was administered, they repeated that feat.
But recently, our students started learning 60 percent less about the many great Massachusetts poets and literary figures. That's because the commonwealth ditched its nation-leading English standards for inferior national standards that will have students reading far less poetry, fiction, and drama, particularly in high school…
Is the Fahrenheit 451 - national standards analogy a bit overwrought? Consider the following comments from the architect of the national standards/Common Core (and now the head of the College Board, which develops and administers the SAT and AP tests) David Coleman. In delivering the core pedagogy of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) to educators gathered at the New York State Department of Education in April 2011, Coleman made clear that he believes emphasizing so-called “informational texts” (whatever that means in the hands of ed school types, DC trade groups, and educrats) is the way to go:
Number one, it begins in the earliest grades. We in America in K-5 assessment and curriculum focus 80% of our time on stories, on literature. That is the dominant work that is done in the elementary school and that’s what’s tested on exams and that’s what’s in our textbooks…
So the core standards for the first time demand that 50% of the text students encounter in kindergarten through 5th grade is informational text…That is a major shift and if you think about what’s happening in this country unintentionally literature and stories dominated the elementary curriculum…
Then, he goes on to say:
“[A]s you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a s%$* about what you feel or what you think.” [Please note: I have replaced Coleman's wording with a "symbol swear" to conform with community standards at Boston.com]
A wise person once said: “There are people who burn books and then there are people who sit down and carefully revise away the reading lists to exclude what they don’t like, don’t think is useful, or don’t find fashionable anymore.”
The educationally reductive proponents of national standards (the Gates Foundation, Achieve, Inc., the Council of Chief State Schools Officers, and the National Governors Association) with their orientation towards K-12 schooling as mere workforce development training, while advancing empty so-called 21st century skills, are among this latter group.
What Ray Bradbury might say is that TV’s dumbed-down culture helped pave the way for limited attention spans and respect for imaginative texts, which make possible national K-12 education standards committed to vague, ill-defined “informational texts” and softy “21st century skills” related to the more mundane and demotic aspects of daily life. Oh yeah, the kids will really find that intellectually engaging.
RIP the farsighted Ray Bradbury.
Crossposted at Pioneer's blog. Follow me on twitter at @jimstergios, or visit Pioneer's website.
Over the past decade, while there has been incremental success in most suburban schools, and limited incremental success raising achievement in a few urban school districts, the big stories in raising student achievement have come in the state’s 70 or so Commonwealth charter schools and its 27 regional career-vocational technical schools.
Currently, there are 63 CVT schools in the Commonwealth with about half serving regional populations while the other half is under the direct jurisdiction of larger districts. The regional voc-techs have many similarities with charters: They operate outside the direct control of a single district superintendent, and in fact have their own dedicated leadership (superintendents and elected school committees); they are schools of choice; they are highly focused on their missions; they have embraced the state’s academic standards; and they have sought to raise student achievement with vigor.
But there many of the similarities end. Regional career-vocational technical schools are home to a very large cohort of special needs students and English language learners.
While Commonwealth charters often bring a “no excuses” focus on academic attainments (and for good reason, given the correlation of academic attainment and later college and career success), vocational schools are by nature different. The mission of CVT schools is hands-on, project-based learning. And for the schools and their students it is working.
So, the big question for cities like Boston, which has an in-district career-vocational technical school, is “Why aren’t we seeing anything close to that level of improvement at Madison Park High School?
The answers, as noted above, are easy to state but hard to change.
How do we get the superintendent to give up her direct line authority? That’s a question that has vexed charters from day one. Ironically, it is the one of the questions the Boston Public Schools are asking themselves about why Madison Park has shown none of the improvement in student achievement seen in the state’s 27 regional career-vocational technical schools.
That was clear in a press release the BPS put out in May. The PR featured a January 2012 review of Madison Park High School compiled by a group of nationally-recognized education experts, including strong representation from the career-vocational technical world.
Research from Pioneer Institute has demonstrated that the Massachusetts regional career-vocational technical model has been extraordinarily successful. Certainly, it has been effective in raising student achievement; for example, see page 5 of the report.
And it has been equally up to the task in reducing dropout rates to unheard of lows. The last look at dropout rates in VTE schools is on the order of 1.5 percent a year (or a four-year/high school dropout rate of 6 percent), versus 3.8 percent for the state as a whole (four-year/HS rate of 15.2 percent).
This is a report, though, that’s been issued with the names of many institutional players. And as is the case with institutional reports, there's a certain art to writing these reports – in a way that saves face for all involved while still trying to deliver a tough message. That's precisely what you’ll find in the Madison Park Technical Vocational High School Review if you read between the lines.
The big takeaways are that
- Boston is paying full freight for a CVTE education for many students who really don't want it.
- There are many students who want a CVTE education in the city, who are not getting it.
- Madison Park has received significant investment and receives higher per student funding from the BPS than most other schools, based on its vocational mission.
- But the school is not delivering actual vocational training, its student achievement levels are unacceptable, and the school is beset by a culture of low expectations.
A few examples of how the school is not delivering actual vocational training:
- The school's insistence on daily academics, as opposed to the typical voc-tech schedule of alternating weeks of vocational and academic instruction, prevents the implementation of most vocational training, including key items such as an on-site food service operation.
- Only 11 students were involved in cooperative education in SY10-11.
- Minimal achievement of training/apprenticeship credentials
A few examples of how Madison Park’s low achievement levels
- In SY10-11, only 60 seats were occupied in AP classes (with a school enrollment of around 1300) and only 1 student scored high enough to qualify for AP credit.
- Most students have GPA’s no higher than 2.0.
- Significant anecdotal evidence that many students enroll who are not interested in vocational training or don't understand the intent of a CVT school.
And a few examples of its low expectations
- The average student is absent for a month per year.
- Many students arrive late for school, arrive late for individual classes, and many classes fail to start on time.
Finally, the big takeaway and the only thing, in my mind, that will change the poor vocational training and academic learning at Madison Park comes on page 25 of the document: Move Madison Park to an operational structure outside of district control, just as is the case in the state’s successful regional career-vocational technical schools.
In order to take full advantage of this assistance, the Review Team also believes that Madison Park needs more flexibility. This core principal has already been recognized around the Commonwealth, since most of the regional vocational technical high schools function independently of the districts they serve. They have the freedom to set policies and procedures appropriate for a vocational technical high school, and to establish conditions that recognize the unique responsibilities and needs of their students, their teachers and their programs. In contrast, Madison Park currently operates as other comprehensive Boston high schools. Even at Worcester Technical High School, an in-district urban vocational school, teachers have successfully altered schedules, practices, and policies to accommodate and implement the vocational and academic standards required to create a strong vocational program.
Rather than recommend a specific form of governance, we suggest that the City and BPS consider this a very high priority. Creating a more vocational/technical tailored model for governance would establish the foundation and create the environment for the school that we are convinced Madison Park can become. The need for a successful Madison Park is enormous, and the opportunity to make progress has never been better.
So, where will this effort go? It’s hard to say. Madison Park staff voted to turn itself into an “innovation school,” a new category of charter-lite options created by the 2010 achievement gap legislation that also doubled the number of charter schools. Innovation schools follow a litany of previous charter-lite options created by legislators: “pilot” schools are union-led flexible schools; “Commonwealth pilot” schools are state-sanctioned “pilot” schools; and “Horace Mann” charter schools are unionized charter schools. None of these in-district efforts has proven effective in closing achievement gaps.
In fact, it is arguable that the 2010 legislation provides even less flexibility than the enabling Horace Mann charter statute (1997). The 2010 law takes dozens of pages to describe the meaning flexibility available to (and the laundry list of processes and signoffs needed to move ahead with) an innovation school.
While I am always an optimist, I have always feared that innovation schools would simply deviate efforts from proven models. There is nothing wrong with principals, teachers, parents and district-level folks to come together and try and innovate. In fact, that’s what they should be doing. To the extent that innovation schools promote that, it’s a wonderful opportunity for great conversations. But the problem with in-district reform is not the people involved – all of whom are of good will. It is that empirically there is no evidence that the “system” that envelopes them allows them to be innovate in a way that is accountable for results.
So, here’s the deal. Let’s watch for two or three years and see if Madison Park is performing at the level of the regional CVTs. If not, we will know that the innovation route was a detour from real reform, and that innovation status was simply the fig leaf to cover the emperor that had no clothes.
While the kids wait for the adults to try and figure things out, let me ask a simple question: Wouldn’t it have been easier to go with a proven model—that is, to free Madison Park from the district and allow it to have the flexibility and school-level control available to the 27 autonomous regional CVT schools?
But of course that would have upset the adults, who want to control the money.
Crossposted at Pioneer's blog. Follow me on twitter at @jimstergios, or visit Pioneer's website.