These events are not isolated. If we are to accept Manno’s analysis, more than half the nation’s 57 million elementary and secondary school students are attending a K-12 school of their choice. Public education to these families no longer represents the traditionally zoned neighborhood school, and the leaders who they elect are taking notice.
The tantrum Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has thrown over the departure of NBA league MVP LeBron James was part of the subplot Thursday night as 7-million viewers watched James return to Cleveland in a Miami Heat uniform. But it is also a reminder that not all unions exist merely to protect an employee’s tenure.
In professional sports unions, free agency is the Holy Grail. Through free agency, individuals can sell their services to the highest bidder. All the sports unions have fought — and continue to fight – bitter battles with team owners for the right to free agency. Teacher unions, on the other hand, have historically fought against free agency. They opose teachers having the ability to sell their services to the highest bidder, but this opposition is illogical in this emerging new public education system
Midway through this week’s National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, D.C., I was reminded of an observation Thomas Kuhn made in his 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. While researching how scientific fields progress, Kuhn found that during paradigm shifts communities work to improve the old paradigm while simultaneously creating the new paradigm that will render much of the old paradigm irrelevant.
Tom’s story is a reminder that the traditional lines are forever blurred in public education. He even notes the partnership between our Tax Credit Scholarship program for 33,000 low-income children and the school district and teachers union for Tampa/Hillsborough, which is the nation’s eighth largest district. We got together to provide better professional education for teachers in both public and private scholarship schools, and the union president, Jean Clements, was graceful in her explanation to reporters: ““This is not a competition. It’s about all of us doing our best to help children who come from very difficult circumstances.”
For traditional school districts to adopt the digital innovations at the core of education reform, they will have to recognize private providers – with all their human and financial capital – as partners.
Roughly one of every three public schoolchildren in Florida now attend a school other than the one tied to their zip code.
When Duncan outlined the “new normal” in public education today, Vander Ark writes, he reminded us of the forces shaping other American industries that were browbeaten to renew themselves in the throes of the Great Recession.
Arne Duncan is right when he recently told an assembly at the American Enterprise Institute that it’s time to innovate in the schoolhouse, that the century-old, industrial-age factory model of education is wrong for the 21st century. But even the education secretary may not fully understand the implications of his remarks.