Big Challenges to Education

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The Opportunity Atlas and the American Dream

There is no American Dream without the possibility of upward economic mobility. Education is, at its core, about preparing young people to succeed in a life to which they aspire, which is almost always at least as fruitful, if not more so, than that of their parents. Today, that dream is more remote for more [...]

The Simple Equation of Value-Strategy-Innovation

Following the lead of my new friend, Seth Godin, short blogs are better.  This picture really is worth 1,000 words.  Schools that are increasingly faced with the challenge that their students can and might select another school to attend, must develop, communicate, and deliver a winning value proposition or face loss of enrollment, and the [...]

School Futures Lie in Strategy

As we get ready to launch a new learning year, let’s laser-focus on a very simple reality: Schools, like every other organization that lives in a competitive marketplace, have just two “keys to sustainable success” according to strategy guru Michael Porter: good strategy and highly effective operational systems. Operational effectiveness means that your school is [...]

Great Podcast: Why, What, and How of School Change…Even at Best Schools

I absolutely could not give the rationale nor tell the story of school transformation better than Tim Quinn and Liz Schmitt of Miss Porter's School on this podcast with Peter Baron and Hans Mundahl of Enrollment Management Association. I was honored to be able to help guide MPS over the last year as they began to [...]

Havasupai School in Need Hides in Desert Paradise

When we see people and places in need, do we stop, ask questions, and help? Or do we walk on by, assuming someone else will take care of the problem, hope it will go away, or silently give thanks that we are better off?  What problems do you have at your school that can even [...]

“We Will BE the Joneses”

Happy start of summer!  In the past 10 days, I have worked with superintendents from north-central New York, stretched in a 3,000-strong yoga jam with Michael Franti at Redrocks, hauled myself up and down the Colorado front range, intersected with 130 forward leaning educators to kick off the annual Traverse gathering in Boulder, and prototyped [...]

My Commencement Address, 2018: Delphian School, Oregon

This is the commencement address I gave on May 27 at Delphian School in Oregon. Delphian is a very unusual school, with a program that fully embraces performance-based learning. Students work at their own pace; teachers are mentors and tutors, and do not hold traditional classes. They have been getting a flood of visitors recently [...]

Five Drivers of Effective Strategic Thinking for Schools

I have an upcoming meeting with members of a school board to help them understand how strategic planning is evolving.  There is so much to talk about, but I wanted to lay a foundation, so I challenged myself to put together about a ten slide, ten minute summary of what I think schools are doing [...]

How Will Our Ideas and Practices Evolve?

Education is a mirror of societal interactions.  For millennia, knowledge and information have been vastly more "push" than "pull".  The big ideas of a few rulers, politicians, philosophers, celebrities, scientists, artists, authors, and the like have molded the evolution of human thought and action. In logarithmic terms, the 10 have led the 100,000, or perhaps [...]

MIT Study: People Spread False News MUCH Faster Than Real News

While we may differ on the best definition of the role of education, most of use probably agree that providing students the tools to seek truth during their lives is an important part of the mission of education.  So, what do we do when falsity is winning the battle? A new study by three MIT [...]