Forum takes stock of Corbett's proposed education budget: I'll be sitting in on a Pennsylvania Education Policy Forum tomorrow morning in Harrisburg. These forums are organized by the Education Policy and Leadership Center, an advocacy organization that provides training and research on education issues. (Full disclosure: I'm participating in the EPLC's 2011 fellows program).
Tomorrow's session will provide an analysis of Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed education budget. Ron Cowell of EPLC will provide an overview of the proposed budget, and Sharon Ward from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will provide some of the fiscal context that shaped this year's state budget decisions. After that, there will be a panel discussion of the impact of the governor's proposals and the key issues that will be considered during budget talks.
It should be an informative morning, and I plan to do some live Tweeting throughout.
Thoughts on 'collective impact': A colleague passed along an opinion piece from the New York Times on a concept termed "collective impact."
From the article:
The idea is to create a network that links numerous organizations — including those in government, civil society and the business sector — and helps them to systematically align and coordinate their efforts around a clearly defined goal, like improving education, combating childhood obesity, or cleaning up a river.York County, which has many organization doing lots of great work, has sometimes struggled to get its efforts aligned and coordinated. YorkCounts has tried to help with that, by spotlighting different issues and bringing people together to work on those issues collaboratively, as we did during the Metro-York process. The York County Community Foundation has taken similar steps recently, through its work in facilitating strategic mergers of nonprofits and more recently in putting more resources into community action.
These are worthwhile efforts, but the article suggests we have a ways to go to do the kind of high-level work that produces measurable change.
What distinguishes collective impact from run-of-the-mill collaboration is the quality of the partnership and the nature of the problem being addressed. Mark Kramer and John Kania, managing directors of a nonprofit consulting organization called FSG, which coined the term “collective impact,” identified five conditions for “collective success” in a recent essay in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Above all, they say, partners must come together and agree not just on common goals, but shared ways to measure success towards those goals. They must communicate on a regular basis. And there must be a “backbone” organization that is focused full-time on managing the partnership.Read the whole article, and then think about how we might achieve "collective success" in efforts to reduce obesity or poverty or keep more kids in school.
Building a Grad Nation - the report and the summit: A new report says the number of so-called "dropout factories" in the U.S. declined between 2008 and 2009. The report was released March 22, in conjunction with the Building a Grad Nation Summit, running through March 23 in Washington, D.C. This post from Caralee Adams at Education Week's College Bound blog offers some details on the report and live blogging from the summit
The report, an update of a multi-year report first released in November, offers national and regional data on low-performing schools, the "dropout factories" that show large numbers of dropouts and low graduation rates. The report also includes federal policy recommendations "to help ensure that the national goal of a 90 perecent high school graduation rate by the class of 2020 is met," Adams wrote.
Those recommendations include, from the blog:
- Develop high standards to graduate all students college- or career-ready.
- Focus investment on the lowest-performing middle and high schools though expansion of federal School Improvement Grants and greater emphasis on secondary schools in existing federal programs.
- Hold states, districts, and schools accountable for graduating all students from high school.
- Shift away from a one-size-fits-all school improvement system to one with flexibility and data-driven decisionmaking.
- Address the factors that influence student achievement with wraparound services.
- Provide federal support for district, community, and statewide efforts to raise high school graduation rates.
- Strengthen schools by funding national-service efforts, such as the Education Corps.
Click here to read the entire report, and here to see a state-by-state breakdown of progress and challenges.
- Dan Fink