Writing for Future Ed, Karen Hawley Miles envisions a future for public schooling that makes the most of current flexibilities. Excerpts from the piece appear below:
Let’s not repeat the mistakes the education sector made in responding to the last major disruption of the education system.
In the wake of the 2008 recession, many school districts simply increased class sizes across the board, froze salaries and reduced or furloughed staff. When budgets rose again, many districts used new funds to simply undo those cuts.
We should resist the temptation to revert to old practices when today’s coronavirus crisis eventually passes. A better strategy is to use the current crisis to introduce changes that can not only help get students back on track when they return to their classrooms but also bring about sustained improvements in school performance. Here are seven such reforms:
- Rethink rigid class sizes and one-teacher classroom models to increase individual attention, especially for struggling students.
- Optimize existing time to meet student and teacher needs.
- Restructure one-size-fits-all teacher compensation and job structures to foster individual and team effectiveness and to reward significant contributions and demonstrated effectiveness.
- Reorganize teacher time for collaboration and learning to deliver great instruction-rather than one-off professional development workshops and isolated work.
- Revisit school staffing and funding models to increase flexibility and match need.
- Leverage outside partners and technology to maintain or improve quality at lower cost.
- Redesign central offices for efficiency and school leader empowerment.