I believe that most problems are caused by broken feedback loops. In 2009, I listed four broken feedback loops hurting quality in the public K-12 education system. These include parent choice, teacher quality, grading and student discipline.
This weekend, the Wall Street Journal features basketball star Jalen Rose’s efforts to make a difference in education with his Leadership Academy charter school in Detroit. Jalen addresses these feedback loops.
“We didn’t cherry pick these kids,” says Mr. Rose. “They chose us,” he notes…
“There should be parental choice,” he says clearly. “Schools should be open. If it’s a public education, and the school in your district is poor-performing, you should be able to put your student or kid wherever you want.”
Choice could be relatively easily implemented, he says. “I’m a taxpaying citizen, right? So if I’m paying $4,000 worth of taxes and I don’t want my kid to go to this school, why can’t they give me my $4,000 and allow me to pick where I want to put my kids?”
His school also doesn’t have tenure for teachers. “I hate tenure. Tenure allows teachers to put their feet up on the desk and possibly have a job forever. That’s why I got turned on to charter schools. It’s a business model. Every employee and every teacher will be monitored by performance.”
“This is college prep. We expect 90% to 100% to go on to college”
Kids too: “We have a code of conduct here. If they act up, they’re suspended. They come back with a better attitude.”