Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tom Vander Ark with a nice plug for my slide presentation

Tom Vander Ark with a nice plug for my slide presentation (as always, posted on my School Reform Resource Page at: www.tilsonfunds.com/Personal/SchoolReform) and the new documentary based on it:

The Critical Need for Genuine School Reform

Tom Vander Ark


Over the last few years, fund manager and edu-eBlaster Whitney Tilson developed and refined the most compelling data-driven case for school reform, The Critical Need for Genuine School Reform. Warning: it's about 170 pages plus appendices, but if you haven't read it you really should.  At least take 15 minutes and flip through it.  Here's a few highlights you shouldn't miss.

Page 50 concludes an analysis of achievement gap data, "In summary, the color of your skin and your zip code are almost entirely determinative of the quality of the public education this nation provides."

Page 57 suggests that we must simultaneously attempt to fix our broken system while creating alternatives outside the system. If you're serious about equity and excellence, this is the only conclusion.

Jobs, money, power, and politics are barriers to improving the system (page 85).  Pages 128-154 debunk 7 big myths  Page 165 outlines the Democrat's Dilemma–the reason that DFERs work is so important to all of us regardless of political persuasion.

Bob Compton, producer of 2 million Minutes, turned Whitney's powerpoint into a 2 hour documentary.  Order it here.

Editorial comment: I agree with Whitney's analysis and conclusions. However, I worry about our ability to execute quickly and successfully against an aggressive reform agenda (but RttT is a good start).  That's why I believe so strongly in the innovation agenda–we need new tools and new schools to solve this problem.  The opportunity to create engaging and effective personalized learning pathways and scalable school models is right in front of us.  I love KIPP but think we can create models that are as good and easier to scale.  I'm going to keep working on that challenge.

Thanks Whitney.

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