School change: connecting the dots

by Steve Wyckoff on June 24, 2010

Perhaps it’s a change in leadership or the level of dissatisfaction with public education within the ranks or educators and policy makers may indeed be reaching the tipping point of school change. Our commissioner of education, Dr. Diane DeBacker, is either demonstrating a level of leadership not seen for over two decades, or all of the stars are beginning to line up.

I personally believe she is the right person, at the right time in history. But regardless over the last two months there have been three events that have caught my attention. The first occurred in April when the KSBE voting unanimously to not pursue the next round of Race To The Top, or as I like to call it the march to mediocrity, funds.

The second occurred at the May KSBE meeting where the state Board of Education voted unanimously to create an educational commission to:

On May 13, 2010, the Kansas State Board of Education authorized the formation of the Kansas Education Commission to examine the framework for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Reauthorization of ESEA, as outlined in the Blueprint for Reform released in March 2010, will set the direction for education in the United States for years to come. The Kansas Education Commission is the state’s strategic approach to reauthorization and educational change.

The third event occurred  in early June when the governor of Kansas signed an executive order creating a panel called The Kansas Commission On Graduation And Droppedout Prevention And Recovery. Interestingly, the governor took this action without knowledge of the Kansas State Board of Education.

So if you’re connecting the dots it appears that policymakers and political leaders may be serious about school change. In the spirit of open disclosure I have been appointed to KSBEs Education Commission. I am truly excited about the opportunity. I will be very disappointed if this is an exercise, as the politicians say, in putting lipstick on a pig. –  Steve Wyckoff

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