I’ve mentioned to a few people that I’m having my education mid-life crisis. After almost 20 years in education, I’ve seen various initiatives, software solutions, and programs come and go. Hundreds of millions are spent each year trying to move the needle, yet we continue to get similar results. It isn’t without the sweat, blood, and tears of all the educators in the country that work so hard.
Last year I predicted a few things on the money:
We will see consolidation of companies in the edtech marketplace. Look at Frontline Education, Powerschool, and Hero K12.
I talked about the measure of success being more focused on equity, diversity, and stewardship. More and more districts are looking at ways to measure the whole student and trying to loosen the controls of focusing on standardized testing.
I said school systems will focus on district-wide change, realigning resources, and organizational design. I’ll come back to organizational design later. But more districts are thinking about network effects and hubs. They are learning how to share knowledge better through these network effects.
But now I look back and while these were accurate predictions, they are not the ones that I would hope for, nor am I satisfied with them. In my mid-life education crisis, I’m wondering why we can’t predict the following for 2018:
Every school’s Glassdoor rating will be a 4.3 out of 5, because teachers will love coming into work because their students are learning, they feel they are growing professionally, and they are inspired by their school leaders.
Competency-based education and personalized learning has become the norm and not the innovation. 20 states have already moved to on-demand end of course exams, so that students can proceed to the next level of content.
Through the success of competency-based education, 30% of schools across the country are able devote 20-40% of the school year to creativity, social emotional learning, and other deeper learning skills.
Google, Facebook, Tesla, and other tech companies are struggling to recruit college graduates because so many are going into the teaching profession to make a real difference in our future.
We are seeing prosperity in cities and town across the country with historical struggling with economies because graduating talent from the schools are staying in the communities to help rebuild them and they are able to work for the top companies remotely.
Which leads me back to organizational design. In 2018, Education Elements is going to make a big push to have districts reconsider their organizational design. In February, Corwin Press will be releasing my new book, which I co-authored with Alexis Gonzales-Black, The NEW School Rules: 6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools. The book shares 6 critical practices around: planning, teams, roles, decision-making, sharing information, and learning organizations. The 6 practices are supported by 13 experiments for educators to experience for themselves how to be more responsive. In conjunction with the launch of my new book, we will launch a new website with several tools we call “workouts” to help you build your muscle around these practices.
As Tom Northup says: “All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting. If we want different results, we must change the way we do things.” We continue to expend tremendous amounts of resources trying to apply a fix to student outcomes and we continue to get mediocre results. In order to make significant change we need to look at how we work with each other everyday. How the adults work with each other will be reflected in how students experience teaching and learning.
So for 2018, consider not what we do, but how we do it. Think back to the why we do it. Yes I get it, “it’s for the kids”. If you really believe that and want to make sure you are on the right track, I ask you validate that with this simple experiment. Take 5 blank pieces of paper. Now imagine the classroom experience those kids would benefit from most. Draw what that might look like on each of the 5 sheets of paper, where each paper represents a subject. Send your drawings to @6NewSchoolRules.
Last year, I talked about how important it is for districts to have a partner to help strategize for changes in the classroom which empower both teachers and learners. In 2017, we built on top of the evolution we’ve undergone since the inception of Education Elements by adjusting our fundamental focus, our structure, and our services. The needle being slow to move is not a reflection of the hard work put in by district leaders and educators, but speaks to the systems which need to provide better support to our schools. This is why the teams at Education Elements are constantly working on developing and sharing better organizational practices, and why I wrote New School Rules. We’re excited to see what 2018 brings for our district partners.
Want to learn more great techniques and best practices to take your district and classroom efforts to the next level? Join us at The Personalized Learning Summit 2018 for informative keynotes with industry experts and inspiring discussions with education leaders like you.
About Anthony Kim
Anthony Kim is a Corwin Press bestselling author, with publications including The New Team Habits, The New School Rules, and The Personalized Learning Playbook. His writing ranges the topics of the future of work, leadership and team motivation, improving the way we work, and innovation in systems-based approaches to organizations and school design. Anthony believes that how we work is the key determinant to the success of any organization. He is a nationally recognized speaker on learning and his work has been referenced by the Christensen Institute, iNACOL, EdSurge, CompetencyWorks, Education Week, District Administration, and numerous research reports. In addition to his writing, Anthony is the founder and Chief Learning Officer of Education Elements, a trusted partner and consultant to over 1,000 schools nationwide. Anthony has been the founder of several companies across multiple industries, including online education, ecommerce, and concerts and events.