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Getting there won’t be easy. The pressure inside, as Stillwater Superintendent Tom Nelson says, is for “sameness.” Many in the policy discussion resist change because the present system works so well in theory. Big central offices, as in Minneapolis, in no way want to delegate authority to schools.
Surely, though, after decades of falling short, it is time to be practical. We do not have to bet everything on the incremental improvement of conventional school. With a “split-screen” strategy schools and teachers can at the same time be trying new approaches to learning.
Success will depend on teachers — and their unions — insisting that if they are to be accountable for school success they must control what matters for school success.
Why would we not arrange for education to change the way successful systems change?
Ted Kolderie co-founded Education|Evolving with Joe Graba. This commentary summarizes the central ideas in a small book the author is sending to those in the national policy debate. It can be found as an e-book on Amazon and other sites, and as a PDF on www.educationevolving.org.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.