Doing more with less in K-12 education - a timely discussion for Ohio

This week 140+ local school
district leaders and members of the business and philanthropic communities
gathered in northern Ohio to take part in two Doing More with Less in K-12
Education
events.
The events, one held at Cleveland State
University
and the other at Lorain
County Community College
, were intended to help local education, business,
and community leaders identify ways to think smart about cuts to schools
spending while still staying focused on student achievement. 


The event was moderated by our own
Chester E. Finn, Jr. and featured three panelists: Nate Levenson, co-founder of
District and
Community Partners
- a consulting group that helps district improve their
special needs programs while reducing costs; Steven Wilson, founder and
president of Ascend Learning- a
charter school management organization in New York City; and Paolo DeMaria, principal
at Education First
Consulting
and former executive vice chancellor of the Ohio Board of
Regents. All three panelists brought a unique and different viewpoint, helping
attendees grasp what it means to do more with less in K-12 education. These
events could not have been timelier as school districts around the state have
to learn how to operate with fewer resources.  The event can be watched in
its entirety here and the
presentation can be viewed here.
The following are some of the best tweets and photos from the events. You can
view the Twitter stream using #morewless.


Terry Ryan:
spending/achievement conundrum - spending more $ but achievement flat


Levenson: Even
when $ is tight, need to invest in better data systems

Levenson says that
about less than 1 in 25 CFOs/leaders he talks to can say how much they're
spending & what the outcomes are


Levenson: Tests
& standards are expensive, but nothing is more expensive than a kid not
learning (and not having data to know it)

Levenson: We've
created system in which kids who need the most get teachers who are not the
most successful; we give them small class size


Wilson: Fiscal
crisis = incredible opportunity to fundamentally redo K-12, especially in urban
areas

Wilson: Small
increases in class size can have profound savings

Wilson: So how do
we make teachers more productive? Frequent evals, radical overhaul of PD,
extend reach of effective teachers

Wilson: Rotating
bad teachers from one school to the next is an obscenity


DeMaria: Districts
can't just hold themselves over for 1-2 years; NEW NORMAL means long-term
financial challenges

DeMaria:
Standards, assessment & accountability hugely important (Checker asked if
these were luxury goods during tight times)

DeMaria's advice to
districts
: Do a unit-cost analysis a la Marguerite Roza 

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