People / Staff

David Osborne

David Osborne is the director of the Reinventing America’s Schools Project at the Progressive Policy Institute. As of September, 2017 (the 25th anniversary of the opening of the first charter school), his new book on education reform has been released, Reinventing's America's Schools: Creating a 21st Century Education System. Learn more at ReinventingEd.us. Osborne is the author or co-author of seven books, including, The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis (2004); The Reinventor's Fieldbook: Tools for Transforming Your Government (2000), Banishing Bureaucracy: The Five Strategies For Reinventing Government (1997), Reinventing Government (1992), and Laboratories of Democracy (1988). He has also authored numerous articles for the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Harpers, The New Republic, Inc., Governing, Education Week, and other publications.

From 1994 through 2014, Osborne was a senior partner of The Public Strategies Group, a consulting firm that helped public organizations improve their performance. He worked with governments large and small, from cities, counties, and school districts to states, federal agencies, and foreign governments. He lectured widely around the globe and advised presidents, ministers, governors, mayors, city managers and many other public sector leaders.

In 1993, he served as a senior advisor to Vice President Gore, to help run what the Vice President often called his "reinventing government task force," the National Performance Review. He was the chief author of the NPR report, which laid out the Clinton Administration’s reinvention agenda, called by Time "the most readable federal document in memory." In 2000 he served as an advisor to the Gore presidential campaign.

Osborne also serves as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a Congressionally chartered organization similar to the National Academy of Sciences, and a member of the National Selection Committee for the Innovations in American Government Awards. From 1992 through 1997, he served as chairman of the Alliance for Redesigning Government, a National Academy initiative to help public sector leaders and managers at all levels of government learn more about reinvention and redesign.

He also served for seven years on the Mass Jobs Council, Massachusetts’ statewide workforce development board, where he chaired the One-Stop Career Center Committee, which led the development of One-Stop Career Centers in Massachusetts. In 1998-99 he served as a member of the Education Commission of the States' National Commission on Governing America's Schools.

Osborne’s first book, Laboratories of Democracy (Harvard Business School Press, 1988), described how states were pioneering new education, economic development, health care, housing, welfare and other policies, to respond to the wrenching shift from an industrial to an information-age economy. Reinventing Government, a New York Times bestseller, described how public sector institutions all across America were transforming the bureaucratic models they had inherited from the past, making public organizations more flexible, creative, and entrepreneurial. Banishing Bureaucracy outlined the most powerful strategies available to create such organizations. It's sequel, The Reinventor's Fieldbook, fleshed out that picture by providing "how-to" guidance on more than 70 different tools reinventors can use, from performance management and customer service standards to competitive bidding and labor-management partnerships. Osborne’s 2004 book, The Price of Government, applied many of these ideas to the fiscal crisis then affecting the public sector, which Osborne and his co-author, Peter Hutchinson, argued would be with us for decades to come.

Writings

Blog

By and / 12.10.2018

As a strong proponent of 21st century school systems, Reinventing America’s Schools would like to highlight Bellwether Education Partners’ Eight Cities, a project that attempts to answer the question: “How do you build a continuously improving system of schools?” The Eight Cities website, https://www.eightcities.org, profiles urban districts that have managed to get “more students into better schools, […]

Blog

By and / 12.5.2018

This week, Mayor Muriel Bowser named Dr. Lewis Ferebee as the next chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools. We at the Progressive Policy Institute have had the privilege and pleasure of working with Dr. Ferebee on several occasions. When working on his book, Reinventing America’s Schools Project Director David Osborne interviewed Dr. Ferebee, and […]

PPI In the News

By / 11.30.2018

Reinventing America’s Schools Project Director David Osborne appeared on the  The Report Card, American Enterprise Institute’s education podcast hosted by Nat Malkus. On this episode, Malkus and Osborne discuss the history of charter schools and the future of chartering. They also highlight some of the lessons learned and challenges faced by charter proponents over the […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 8.22.2018

Over the past 15 years, cities across the country have experienced rapid growth in the number of public charter schools serving their students. In states with strong charter laws and equally strong authorizers, charter schools have produced impressive students gains, especially in schools with high-minority, high-poverty populations. According to the Center for Research on Education Outcomes […]

Publications

By and / 8.21.2018

Over the past 15 years, cities across the country have experienced rapid growth in the number of public charter schools serving their students. When implemented with fidelity, the charter formula – autonomy, choice, diversity of school designs, and real accountability –produces continuous improvements in school quality, with impressive student gains in charter schools serving high-minority, […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 4.17.2018

The latest edition of the Nation’s Report Card — the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress — got a lot of ink last week. While results nationally were a yawn, the scores from Washington, D.C., hold powerful lessons for other cities. Together, D.C. charter and district public schools have improved faster than those of any […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 4.13.2018

In public education, the nation’s fastest-improving cities have embraced both charter schools and charter-like “innovation” or “renaissance” schools: public schools with real autonomy (some run by nonprofit organizations), real accountability for performance (including closure if their students are falling too far behind), and a variety of learning models from which families can choose. Those rapidly […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 1.8.2018

A recent New York Times article suggested that Chicago had the nation’s fastest-improving large urban school district. In it, reporters Emily Badger and Kevin Quealy summarized data from a new study by Sean Reardon of the Stanford University Center for Education Policy Analysis. For many, that was surprising news, since the district has received heat […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 12.21.2017

Public education in Detroit is a mess. In a new national study, Detroit emerged as one of the nation’s worst big cities, with district eighth-graders performing at a fifth-grade level, on average. Even charter schools, which enroll the majority of public school students, lag behind those of many cities. Though we have the nation’s second highest […]

Blog

By / 12.18.2017

As I travel around the country on a 24-city book tour, giving talks and meeting with education reform leaders and activists, I get a lot of questions. I thought it might be useful to answer a few of them in print. These are a set I received in Oakland, California, at an event sponsored by […]