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STRAMGT 537: Leading Change in Public Education

Public education in America is at a crossroads. Does our education system have what it takes to produce graduates who are prepared for college, career, and citizenship in our increasingly digital and pluralistic world? Will income and ethnic achievement gaps continue to be pervasive and persistent in our nation's largest urban cities? Will family zip code determine educational destiny for the next generation of students? Which strategies and reforms are truly demonstrating results and which are merely passing fads? As in all large-scale enterprises undergoing rapid, transformative change, leadership matters greatly. Fortunately, over the last decade, the reform of American public education has been led by a number of innovative and results-oriented leaders at the state, district and charter levels. These leaders are bringing additional urgency, strategies, and ideas designed to prepare America's schools and students for the century ahead. Some ideas are proving to be critical levers fo more »
Public education in America is at a crossroads. Does our education system have what it takes to produce graduates who are prepared for college, career, and citizenship in our increasingly digital and pluralistic world? Will income and ethnic achievement gaps continue to be pervasive and persistent in our nation's largest urban cities? Will family zip code determine educational destiny for the next generation of students? Which strategies and reforms are truly demonstrating results and which are merely passing fads? As in all large-scale enterprises undergoing rapid, transformative change, leadership matters greatly. Fortunately, over the last decade, the reform of American public education has been led by a number of innovative and results-oriented leaders at the state, district and charter levels. These leaders are bringing additional urgency, strategies, and ideas designed to prepare America's schools and students for the century ahead. Some ideas are proving to be critical levers for change, others are facing significant political challenges, and others have not delivered on expected results. Many of them hold lessons for how future educational leaders can contribute to transforming public education for the next generation of K-12 students. This course will focus on school system leadership for education reform. The course will provide an overview of the critical issues facing K-12 public education in America today, and what is going on across the U.S. during this transformative period of change. Once this context is set, students will study education leaders and systems change strategies from the last 10-15 years at the state, district and charter levels. We will focus on leaders across five domains: Leadership in crisis situations, strategic leadership, "china-breaking" leadership, sustaining leadership, and next generation leadership. We will also look at leadership examples from outside K-12 education to broaden our thinking about what leadership styles and strategies could be successfully applied to education. Students will debate the strategies and efficacy of how different leaders approached systems-level change and will form their own working hypotheses of what is needed to help transform the American education system. Case studies in school system leadership will form the primary basis for classroom assignments and discussion. We will examine what went right and what went wrong in each case, focusing particularly on the decisions that school system leaders faced and the implications of their decisions. Most cases will be supplemented with research publications, technical notes, news clips, and/or videos to deepen students¿ understanding of the context or issues discussed in the cases. Dan Katzir worked for Bain & Company, Teach for America, Sylvan Learning Systems and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation before joining Alliance College-Ready Public Schools as its CEO in 2015. He is an experienced case study teacher and the editor of The Redesign of Urban School Systems: Case Studies in District Governance.
Units: 2 | Grading: GSB Letter Graded
Instructors: Katzir, D. (PI)
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