Reducing suspensions or building relationships? Reframing the problem 

     Setting numerical goals to remove discipline disparities doesn’t get at the deeper issues.  Whenever I hear education policy wonks arguing about the topic of student suspensions, I’m reminded of [...]

April 30th, 2018|

Let’s be precise about personalization

It’s a mistake to describe personalized learning as though it were a whole new educational model. To make schools more responsive to students’ needs, focus on the specifics. As a [...]

March 26th, 2018|

2 challenges for community schools 

I wrote my doctoral dissertation, back in 2001, on the topic of collaborative leadership. More specifically, I focused on the need for superintendents and directors of community service agencies to [...]

February 26th, 2018|

Let’s be honest about local school governance

Changing how we select school board members and approve district budgets could address long-standing challenges of local school governance. Whenever and wherever school superintendents congregate — whether it’s the national [...]

January 22nd, 2018|

Teacher professionalism from the superintendent’s perspective 

School system leaders can’t do everything, but they can do a lot to make teaching jobs more professional.   If you haven’t yet read journalist Dana Goldstein’s 2014 book The Teacher Wars, I [...]

November 27th, 2017|

The paradox of standardized testing

Standardized achievement tests are deeply flawed, and test-based accountability has been terribly damaging to public education. Even so, such tests have their uses. At the beginning of the school year, [...]

October 23rd, 2017|

Using Advanced Placement as a lever for social justice

Encouraging and allowing students to enroll in rigorous courses is a critical first step in providing more equity in high schools.  The former school superintendent of Hartford, Conn., Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, [...]

September 24th, 2017|

To lead for equity, learn how the system works

It’s not enough to be passionate about social justice. School leaders can’t make positive change unless they know how school systems really work. By Joshua P. Starr I recently attended [...]

August 29th, 2017|

Organizing for adaptive change management

If schools are going to adapt and improve in meaningful ways, then central office leaders must lead the way by being facilitators, funders, advisers, evaluators, and quality assurance agents. One [...]

May 1st, 2017|

Culture, tweets, and change

When I was transitioning from being superintendent in Stamford, Conn., to being superintendent in Montgomery County, Md., I knew that while the title was the same, the jobs were very [...]

March 27th, 2017|