The question in education right now is not whether alternative models work from a results stand-point.
There are lots of compelling stories about students from environments like High Tech High, Big Picture Learning, and Acton Academy. But even as these models show success, few of them have scaled significantly.
They’re growing slowly. Adding some campuses each year, but I don’t see any of them really making a huge splash in the next 10 years.
From talking with early teachers at High Tech High, there was a lot of initial skepticism from people saying things like “let’s see the data.”
But 20 years later, they have all the data, but the conversation hasn’t shifted.
I think one of the questions that we need to wrestle with is how to best support alternative models.
There is a tension between state supported models like charter schools, and traditional schools, and private funding models. As resources go to private and charter models, students and funding leave the public system, further de-funding a system already strapped for funds.
XQ had an interesting experiment to give $10M to 10 innovative high school models. A bold, and significant funding initiative, which to this point has very little to show for it, and moves like this are far from sustainable.
How do you make “innovative” models become mainstream? How do you increase access to a more learner-centered model?
There need to be organizations behind the movement that have access to the resources required to really grow an initiative. Right now it’s unclear who this could be, and what infrastructure could be built to allow for sustainable support.
I have no answers, just questions. And I wonder where we’ll see education go after the next few years.