Robin Lake is the Director of the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington. I’m personally indebted to her, because for more than a decade, my thinking has been consistently informed, influenced, and improved by CRPE’s work. Robin has been instrumental to CRPE’s most important contributions, including extensive research on charter schooling and hands-on support for districts attempting the groundbreaking “portfolio” concept.
She has published on issues as diverse as special education, turnarounds, accountability, innovation, LIFO, SEA reform, and governance. Her counsel is sought by organizations across our field and by policymakers of all stripes.
And she’s just a really good person. Everyone likes and respects Robin, especially those who know her best. I’ve admired her thoughtful, sensible approach to this work and her honest, down-to-earth interactions with friends and colleagues.
Her responses will give you a flavor for her many other strengths. She’s sharp, modest, open, honest, and really funny.
Now she’s TOTALLY wrong about her critiques of my book, which is perfect in every way imaginable. But I won’t hold that against her, especially because her answer to my Slaughter/Sandberg question is hilarious, and her analyses of Ronaldo’s dancing, Messi’s godliness, and Beckham’s tattoos are spot on.
A first look at today's most important education news:
"By the Company It Keeps: Robin Lake," by Andy Smarick, Flypaper
Early this morning, lawmakers on Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee approved a deal that would cut income taxes, expand private school vouchers statewide, and increase public school funding; the plan will reach the Assembly for debate in two weeks. (Associated Press)
A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California finds that on average, the economic returns to obtaining a bachelor’s degree are worth the loan debts. (Los Angeles Times)
A New America Foundation report calls for more federal dollars and teacher education devoted to using student data. (Education By The Numbers)
D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson is “not convinced” that Tuesday’s seven-part education-reform package will be good for the District’s kids. (Washington Post)
The Hechinger Report argues that we’re not doing enough to improve parental engagement,
A first look at today's most important education news:
"Use facts, not courts, to fix affirmative action," by Michael J. Petrilli, Flypaper
"Authorizer of, not in, the district," by Andy Smarick, Flypaper
"Black helicopter-itis and local control," by Chester E. Finn, Jr., Common Core Watch
A forty-year-old California law, signed by then-Governor Ronald Regan, requires student achievement to be included in teacher evaluations. (Center for Investigative Reporting)
The New York Daily News reports that only a quarter of students in New York City’s top technology programs are girls.
In the face of Common Core standards, open-education resources, and the slow switch to digital platforms, education publishers are struggling to adapt. (Marketplace K–12)
Charles Rinehimer duly praises the engaged, motivated students who keep him inspired and give him the strength to handle tougher cases. (NPR)
The fragility of NYC’s new teacher-evaluation system became evident when a main mayoral candidate called the plan “unworkable in its complexity and bureaucracy.” (Wall Street Journal)
Last Friday, as I was about to board a plane, I read an article about an exciting initiative being launched in Washington, D.C.
During the flight, I drafted a long, gushing piece, praising Abigail Smith, the new deputy mayor for education, and arguing that D.C. was becoming the most important city for systemic reform after New Orleans.
Upon landing, I was on the verge of posting the piece when I saw another D.C. schools announcement.
This one took the wind from my sails.
I sadly shelved the paean.
Here’s the story: D.C. has recently undertaken two invaluable reforms that, when combined with the city’s other systemic features, place D.C. on the brink of becoming the urban school system of the future.
But a third announcement shows that some city leaders are still tragically wedded to the old, failed approach.
I’ll start with the good news, then the bad, and end with a recommendation for solidifying D.C.’s place as a national model for systemic reform.
The Mayor’s Office announced that unused district facilities will be made available to charters (with a preference for high performers) and that the city will establish a common enrollment system for district and charter public schools. Kudos to Smith and all involved.
When you add this to what the city already has, you can see the outlines of a true “system of schools.” D.C. has an independent charter sector (charters are authorized by a non-district entity) that is large, growing, and
About the Editor
Michael J. Petrilli
Executive Vice President
Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog and weekly Education Gadfly newsletter.
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