I fancy myself forward-thinking, even revolutionary, when it comes to envisioning the urban school district of the future. But after an hour-long conversation with a truly exceptional group from the NYC Department of Education's portfolio and charter school teams, I felt downright humdrum.
What they are implementing-not just thinking about, not just talking about, but actually implementing-via closures, charters, and new start-ups is (next to the charterization of New Orleans' system) the most exciting development in the affairs of traditional districts in eons.
This team is ably led by the very impressive Michael Thomas Duffy who accomplished great things for charterdom while in Boston. In addition to helping bring great new schools online for the nation's largest school district, Duffy will also be called on to play an important role in this tricky effort.
After this meeting, I'm more bullish than ever about what Joel Klein is accomplishing. I've long believed that the only way to fix urban public education is to completely replace the traditional district model. But if it's possible-if-to transition that failed model into something much better, NYC may be providing the blueprint.