More Space for Ms. Frizzle

An article in Governing highlights the success of schools that attract top-notch educators and principals and give them flexibility and authority.

Ms. Frizzle often carries out unorthodox curriculum on the TV Show, the Magic School Bus. Image courtesy of Scholastic.

Indianapolis’ focus on attracting quality leaders and teachers over the last decade has delivered quality results according to a recent article in Governing. A report issued by a non-profit spurred Indianapolis to experiment with creating “operationally autonomous schools,” and some results have been encouraging.

From Governing,

The report called for the creation of operationally autonomous schools, regardless of whether they were charters or traditional schools, that were still directly accountable to the school district but free of restrictive collective bargaining agreements and governed by separate boards. The recommendations spurred significant public discussion, and the next election cycle saw several school board members elected on a reform platform.

The result was the creation of what are called “Innovation Network Schools” launched by the Mind Trust. Indianapolis now has nine of these schools, with more to come, that are accountable to and part of the Indianapolis Public Schools but whose teachers and principals operate with significant entrepreneurial freedom and with an authority to mold their schools as they see fit.

High quality teachers and school-level flexibility were also touted as key elements to a successful education system by Mark Tucker in a recent presentation to Maryland’s Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. Maryland counties have two representatives on the Commission, which is charged with making recommendations for legislative reform of Maryland’s School system by December 2018.

For more information, see Innovation in Education: Unleashing the Talent from Governing and More Money, Same Problems in K-12 Education on Conduit Street.