In the News: #XQBigReveal on Facebook at 3 pm
By Education Next 09/14/2016
Among those tweeting in advance about the announcement were @YoYo_Ma @ArneDuncan and @MCHammer
You can learn more about the Super Schools project here.
For an in-depth look at an earlier school design competition, you can read Jeff Mirel’s feature story about New American Schools.
As Mirel recounts
In the summer of 1991, in response to President George H.W. Bush’s major education initiative, CEOs from a number of major corporations established the New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC, later shortened to New American Schools, or NAS), a privately funded, nonprofit organization devoted to supporting the design and dissemination of “whole school reform” models. NASDC’s founders envisioned a complete overhaul of American education stimulated by the spread of these innovative designs. As one put it, school reformers who hoped to receive NASDC grants had to “cast aside their old notions about schooling–to start with a clean sheet of paper, and be bold and creative in their thinking, and to give us ideas that address comprehensive, systemic change for all students for whole schools.” To President Bush, NASDC represented a major step toward an “educational revolution” that would “seek nothing less than a new generation of schools.”
The idea was to apply a research -and -development model to a sector that too often fell for romantic–and untested–notions of how schools and learning should be structured. NASDC’s early leaders were determined to apply a no-nonsense business approach to their efforts, to create an organization that was as lean and agile as the corporations they led. New American Schools would be less bureaucratic and more aggressive in responding to new ideas than the typical government agency or major foundation. Moreover, NASDC would be a sort of venture capitalist for education, constantly evaluating its investments and continuing to fund only those designs that proved their effectiveness.
Here’s how that story ended.
At its inception New American Schools held the promise of being an extremely exciting research-and-development initiative in education. It would sponsor the creation of innovative designs, pilot test them in a select group of schools, and decide whether they were effective enough to warrant wide dissemination. Its evolution into a financier, lobbyist, and marketing shop for a variety of as-yet-unproven whole-school designs must be considered at best a modest contribution to the cause of education improvement. In its current incarnation, NAS is almost indistinguishable from the foundations and government agencies that have dominated school reform efforts for decades. It has become part of the very education establishment its leaders once sought to circumvent.
– Education Next
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