Good Reads, Big Questions

From the classroom side, Dan Brown’s book “The Great Expectations School” is now out in paperback.  From the policy side, Steven Wilson has a smart new look (pdf) at the question of scale and high performing charter schools and charter networks along some key dimensions.   Builds on this NCSRP analysis (pdf) from last year.  But, in both cases, and with Dan’s story, although there are important design questions to consider the fundamental issues are ultimately political ones around resource and emphasis allocation. 

For my money the fundamental question is do you want more charter networks or bigger ones?  I don’t know where I come down yet, perhaps it’s too soon to know based on the field experience and there are probably lessons from other fields and industries.   At the top level it’s easy to say we want both.  But as soon as you start to think about where you want to put (a) human resources like teachers and school leaders via the best pipelines out there today (b) public resources around facilities, start-up and operating capital and (c) philanthropic dollars, some choices have to be made.

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