On a flight home from Michigan, where I was visiting a client, I read an insightful article in The Economist about “The Great Schools Revolution.” International institutions and think tanks have developed extensive data and analysis about the factors which encourage or impede education around the world. One expert concluded that only 10% of pupil performance has anything to do with school district funding levels. Studies promote a variety of reforms which directly contribute to better outcomes — decentralization, support for underachieving students, high standards for teachers, etc.
What struck me, given my experience working with districts across the country, is that to accomplish these transformational changes in our schools it is absolutely essential that a constructive, candid dialogue take place between the district leadership and the communities they serve. School districts must reach beyond the highly engaged ‘concerned citizens,’ who attend school board and PTA meetings, and build a relationship of trust and engagement with all stakeholders — parents and teachers, of course, but also students and non-parent community members who have a voice or a vote in the future of their schools.
K12 Insight’s expertise and technology empower districts to create this meaningful conversation. The survey process we implement is more than just a one-way conversation. We help our clients build awareness in the district, gather important feedback, and close the loop with concrete next steps. I’ve seen first-hand how this process works, effectively supporting the adoption of transformational change while easing any residual concerns.