07
JUL
2016

Strategies to Accelerate School System Change

How do you accelerate the transition from a dysfunctional school district to a 21st century school system? In Denver, replacing failing schools with charter schools is helping to lead the way. But according to the Progressive Policy Institute Report, A 21st Century School System in th
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05
JUL
2016

Charters Lead Way for Denver School System Turnaround

In spring, 2008, the Rocky Mountain News splashed a full-page photo across its cover of the first graduating class from Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST). Every one of its graduates gained admission to college–the first time that happened in a school with many low-i
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24
JUN
2016

Building Political Success in Education Reform

The transition of Denver Public Schools (DPS) from a dysfunctional school district in 2005 to a 21st century school system today is also a study in building political success in situations demanding change. As reported by David Osborne in the Progressive Policy Institute Report A 21st
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22
JUN
2016

Denver: A 21st Century School System

We’ve talked a lot in this space about 21st century schools and strategies. Rarely do we get to talk about 21st century school systems.   Yet some of the most dramatic gains in urban education have come from school districts that use a “portfolio strategy,” “reinvention,” or “21st cen
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16
JUN
2016

Has Chartering Lived Up to the Pioneering Vision?

Have we lived up to the pioneering vision of chartering?  Education Week writer Arianna Prothero and I discussed this question last month as we reflected on 25 years of chartering. Here are a few thoughts from our discussion. See her June 3, 2016 blogpost for more. It’s true that some
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14
JUN
2016

Reflections on Innovation and Chartering

I visited last month in Minnesota with Education Week writer Arianna Prothero. She captured some of our conversation in her June 3rd blogpost.  Here are excerpts, edited for length: Q: When you sponsored the first charter school law, I know innovation was a big part of that. Have char
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02
JUN
2016

Operator-Driven Turnaround: Aligned with Local Values

Perhaps most interesting in the turnaround efforts for LoveWorks Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (LWA) was the selection of an operator to lead the turnaround. Historically, Minnesota has not been friendly to charter school operators and networks. Over the past 25 years, Minnes
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31
MAY
2016

Let Citizens Take the Lead

I’ve long believed that the most important thing that policymakers can do is to step back, remove the barriers, and allow citizens to take the lead. That policy is fundamental to the origins of chartering. But as demonstrated in a recent “Third Way” turnaround effort of a single schoo
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26
MAY
2016

Turnaround: A Third Way

Larry McKenzie of Pillsbury United Communities–Office of Public Charter Schools (PUC), knew that academic data for LoveWorks Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (LWA) warranted charter revocation and closure. The authorizer needed to compel foundational change at the school b
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24
MAY
2016

Community -Driven Academic Transformation

As thousands of public district and charter schools across the country face chronic low academic performance, various turnaround efforts have been initiated to stem the tide. Some strategies work and some don’t. Part of the innovation of chartering is creating those turnaround efforts
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