Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Experts offer education reform ideas in Boise

Excerpt from Kristin Rodine's article in the Idaho Statesman

As Idaho lawmakers and educators regroup after repeal of the state’s education reform package, national experts visited Boise Tuesday to offer suggestions for improving education.

About 130 people, including 50 members of the Idaho Legislature that convened this week, turned out for the Albertson Foundation’s Ed Sessions luncheon. “America’s Education Reform Hangover: Where Does Idaho Go from Here?”

They heard from Paul Hill, founder and former director of the University of Washington-based Center on Reinventing Public Education, and Marguerite Roza, a senior scholar at the center and author of “Educational Economics: Where Do School Funds Go?”

Hill said approaches being used elsewhere in the nation include increased emphasis on school choice and allocating school money by students rather than by program or category, such as transportation.

Giving districts and schools flexibility to use available funding in the way that works best for them can be key, Hill said, suggesting a performance-management approach that emphasizes experimentation to “get the best education for the student any way we can.”

Decentralizing control can be effective, enabling districts to close failing schools and charter new ones that better meet families’ needs, he said. Or, he said, the state could empower its department of education to “take over and charter out” schools that are failing.

Hill and Roza both stressed the importance of creating a system that provides incentives for innovative approaches that, often, can save money.

Read complete article at the Idaho Statesman.