In an interview with Washington Post education columnist Jay Matthews, New York City Public Schools Chancellor Joel Klein sensibly notes, “systems don’t change because you charm them. Systems change because you have levers that enable the system to move. And it’ll be noisy because the people who are there often like the status quo.”
Successful reforms and new practices have failed to change education on a grand scale because of the barriers that lie within our current system. In a similar spirit, AEI’s Rick Hess takes an in-depth look at such barriers in his upcoming book, Education Unbound: The Promise and Practice of Greenfield Schooling. Using examples of vibrant organizations and individuals who are finding promising ways to address our nation’s education needs, he offers, as Klein puts it, “a well-thought-through analysis of how to enable entrepreneurialism and innovation to flourish in a way that will drive truly dynamic school reform.”
Greenfield schooling eliminates obstacles to problem solving; outfits districts and providers to assess achievement on a multifaceted scale; creates policies that attract, retain, and respect teacher talent; and frees up capital for new ventures that are willing to shake the status quo. Enacting such levers will allow for sustainable, effective approaches to address our nation’s education needs.
Jenna M. Schuette is a research assistant for education policy at AEI.