Eduwonk-ing

This week I’m guest-blogging on Eduwonk.  That’s a widely read blog about education policy in the USA.  So this is cross-posted there.

My first guest blogging on Eduwonk was 13 years ago.  In some ways, not much  has changed in American education reform, despite billions of dollars spent.  Poor kids are still struggling academically.  Lots of well-intentioned efforts have not moved the needle that much.

Yet a little progress too!  A 2005 concern, now progress.  Idea here, actuality here.

One type of progress has been the growth of some excellent charter schools.  Boston’s charter schools, where I live, are considered the nation’s best.

Back when I first guest-blogged on Eduwonk in 2005, Match, a small charter high school that I founded, just had our first graduating class (+ lots of attrition).  These days Match is K-12 but less tutoring, provides free curriculum to teachers and teacher training videos, runs a small grad school, has a tutoring spinoff called Saga, and a higher-ed spinoff called Duet.

More recently, I spent 4 years as CAO of Bridge International Academies. Bridge has schools in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, India, and Liberia.

Bridge operates (way) more schools than awesome American charter networks like KIPP, IDEA, Uncommon, and Green Dot combined.  Bridge has results, questions about pedagogy, parent motivation, and politics that you’d recognize if you’re from American education reform.  And there are many other fascinating international efforts, like thisthis, and this.

No matter what your policy preference, I submit to you, if you’re an American educator, that working (with appropriate humility) with folks abroad is an amazing way to learn about other cultures and expand your thinking. 

My next adventure: China.  Or so I hope.

I’m just back from Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzen.  I’ll share thoughts all week.

Context: one-child policy is over, class size can hit 70 in public schools (similar to Africa), there’s a vast migration from the sticks to the cities, private schools are tiny in number but growing fast, and China really wants to do better in World Cup.

Here are impressions from Christi Edwards, a North Carolina math teacher who just visited Nanjing and Chengdu.  “Teenagers are teenagers wherever you go,” she said.

I agree.