Press / Reinventing America's Schools


By / 8.25.2016

By David Osborne and Anne Osborne Critics of charter schools love to charge that charters “cream” the best students by making it hard to apply and pushing out low performers. That’s why charters outperform traditional public schools, they assert. But they rarely present evidence, and they never admit that traditional public schools do exactly the […]

By / 8.9.2016

By David Osborne and Richard Whitmire The list of failed school reforms launched since 1983’s A Nation at Risk is embarrassingly long. Worse yet, these sputtering reforms appear to be stacking up at a faster rate: Common Core, evaluating teachers partly on student test scores, luring top teachers into low-performing schools. Nothing seems to work out, with […]

By / 5.24.2016

In 2005, Denver stepped into the national spotlight by adopting a performance pay system negotiated with the teachers’ union, financed by a $25 million-a-year boost in property taxes. The subsequent decade of experience reveals a surprising lesson: No one in Denver thinks performance pay has made much difference in student outcomes, but most agree that […]

By / 5.13.2016

Some of the most dramatic gains in urban education have come from school districts using a “portfolio strategy”: negotiating performance agreements with some mix of traditional, charter and hybrid public schools, allowing them great autonomy, letting them handcraft their schools to fit the needs of their students, giving parents their choice of schools, replicating successful […]

By / 4.14.2016

If the democratic candidates are serious about combating inequality, they should start by embracing education reform. For education reformers, the 2016 presidential primaries have been a wasteland. The Republican circus has produced many memorable moments, but few if any have touched on education. Even on the Democratic side, education has been virtually invisible. The major […]

By / 4.12.2016

Some of the most dramatic gains in urban education have come from school districts using what’s known as a “portfolio strategy.” Under this approach, districts negotiate performance agreements with public schools—traditional, charter, and hybrid models. The arrangement affords school leaders substantial autonomy to handcraft their schools to fit the needs of their students. Districts give […]

By / 1.20.2016

The first time I visited a Summit Public School, in February 2014, I pulled up in front of a one-story building in an office park. I was sure I had the wrong address – but no, there was a sign. This was Summit Denali, in Sunnyvale, California. Inside, my surprise deepened. All the students, then […]

By / 11.30.2015

Everyone in public education knows that what happens at home is more important than what happens at school. Hence, many successful schools work to engage parents (or their substitutes) in their children’s education. Indeed, many of the nation’s best charter schools have long sent teachers to visit their students’ homes and asked parents to sign […]

By / 10.5.2015

In public education, the District of Columbia may be the nation’s most interesting laboratory. It is the only city with two public school systems of roughly equal size, each with a different governance model. The results of this competition have profound implications for the future of public education nationwide. The older of the two, the […]

By / 8.31.2015

Last year 2.9 million children attended 6,700 charter schools in America—public schools independent of districts and free of many bureaucratic constraints. Since charters were invented in Minnesota twenty-four years ago, they have become the subject of intense battles between supporters and detractors. Supporters point out that charters receive 28 percent less money per child, on […]