Online Learning in the Windy City

At a time when we are asking school districts to do more and more with less and less, how do we maximize the resources and opportunities we currently have?  While many folks may see online learning in K-12 as a great idea, but one they aren’t willing to fully embrace in practice, Chicago Public Schools is showing us how online learning can be effectively used.

Over at edReformer, Eduflack has a new blog post post on how CPS is using online learning to supplement the learning process and improve high school grad rates in the process.  As I say on edReformer, if we are serious about improving all schools for all students, we need to look closely at what Chicago is doing so we can maximize an instructional component like online learning, not minimize it.

Continued Thoughts on Higher Ed ROI

Last week, Eduflack opined on Businessweek’s efforts to put some meaning around the topic of college degrees and return on investment.  The discussion led me to wonder if we are looking at the right roadmarkers in determining ROI (and whether we are even looking at the right institutions when we do it).

So over at edReformer, I have a new post on the need to broaden our view on higher ed ROI.  You can read the full post here.  And while you are at it, check out some of the other posts over at edReformer.  There are some interesting discussions happening over there.


A Choice Between Edujobs and Edureform?

Last week, Eduflack wrote about recent efforts by Congress to provide some needed funding for teachers’ jobs by cutting funding for many of the education reforms, like Race to the Top, just enacted or increased last year.  Today, I’ve got some additional thoughts on the matter over at edReformer.  In this post, I ask whether we really should be sacrificing school improvement for a year of teachers’ salaries, and if we do, who ultimately pays the price?  

Cutting the Ed Media Out of the Process?

Your favorite Eduflack has another guestblog over at edReformer.  The topic: disintermediation.  At last week’s Education Writers Association conference, there was a great deal of talk of disintermediation, which carries the applicable definition of cutting the educaiton media out of the ed policy debate by focusing on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other direct and unfiltered ways to deliver information to key stakeholder audiences.

You can find my full blogpost here.  And don’t forget to keep checking out new content at edReformer

Is Ed Reform a Meaningless Term?

If you haven’t seen it yet, there is a new education social networking site on the block — edReformer.  Brought to us by Vander Ark/Ratcliff and originally incubated by New Schools Venture Fund, edReformer describes itself as “a community of advocates, innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors seeking to improve student learning worldwide” and “as a catalyst for innovation in the education sector by encouraging entrepreneurship and promoting public and private investment in new learning tools, schools, and platforms.”

In contributing to the dialogue, the good folks at edReformer are offering up news, information, interviews, and opinion on all things education policy, while utilizing blogs, Twitter (@edReformer), Facebook, and similar tools at our disposal to spread their gospel of education “excellence and equity through innovation.”
After some strong weeks of rich and interesting content, edReformer may have taken a major step back today.  They asked dear ol’ Eduflack to offer up a guest post from this year’s Education Writers Association conference.  The agitator that I am, I jumped at the chance, providing edReformer a post here building off of EWA attendee concerns that the term “education reform” has really lost its meaning.
Sounds like me, huh?  Going on a platform called edReformer and saying that the term ed reform has jumped the shark.  I must be looking to have my guest blogger invite pulled before the electronic ink is even dry.  But my thesis stands.  Because so many players new to the dance are misusing the term (just as we saw seven or eight years ago with scientifically based education research), then those who understand the term and are working toward real improvement, like edReformer, will get the short end of the stick.  If real reformers are going to be taken seriously, we need to restore honor to the term, while having a broader swath of education stakeholders understanding what we mean and working together to bring the meaningful improvement we seek.
Go and check out edReformer (and my ed reform post).  Personally, I think edReformer has the possibility of becoming a Huffington Post for education improvement and innovation, a place where a wide range of voices gather, learn, speak, and advocate.  I just hope Tom, Bennet, and Doug realize I don’t hate the playa, I hate the game.  And I’m hoping that efforts like edReformer are going to restore my faith in the game.