Some Myths in American Public Education

On Friday July 2, I attended the closing presentation at the Northwest Evaluation Association conference in Portland.  NWEA CEO Matt Chapman provided a compelling message about some remaining myths in American Public Education. We have attached his slides from the speech on the bottom of the front page of the website.  Please feel free to download and share with others. Embedded in the speech are excerpts from an interview of Marian Wright Edelman—a must view. JW

Our Educational Problems and our Educational Vision?!

Yesterday, LaQuita Carter, reminded me that Diane Ravitch wrote for her new book that  “our educational problems are a function of our lack of educational vision.”  Coincidentally, I was re-reading Jim Collins’ Good to Great and the Social Sectors, a supplement to his earlier book, Good to Great to prepare for another client’s project.  Part of what we must do as educational leaders–at all levels–is to set a compelling vision, and help others connect to that vision.  When we do, and when great work for kids is part of that vision, we easily get teachers and all others swept up in that vision. THX LaQuita and THX Jim Collins for the reminders.  JW

Congratulations to NWEA and Dr. Anne Udall

At the Northwest Evaluation Association Summer Conference, Dr. Anne Udall, the new Executive Director of NWEA Professional Development, was introduced.  The ability of NWEA to recruit someone of the caliber and expertise of Dr. Udall, speaks to the level of accomplishment and commitment the NWEA organization and its partners have to continuous improvement in the work to support kids and their teachers.  Congratulations to all on this accomplishment.  Dr. Udall’s leadership will be exciting for the NWEA PD team and the team’s work for NWEA partner organizations.

All Illinois Superintendents Preparation Academy applications are in!

We have received an unexpectedly high number of applications for the inaugural class of the Illinois Superintendents Preparation Academy–so we are reading and sorting the information submitted this weekend and in the coming week.  Letters should go out to all applicants by July 19.  We are contemplating two (instead of one) cohorts for the first academy.  It is heartening to know that many, many talented and dedicated educators are stepping up to the challenge of becoming a school superintendent.  I will keep you posted on how the Academy is shaping up and the progress of our first group of almost-superintendents in Illinois.  JW

Power of Coaching–Teachers and Teaching is almost here.

We are awaiting the first copies of Power of Coaching–Teachers and Teaching, which should arrive in about a week from today.  Before end of July, copies will be available on our website and through . We are putting finishing touches on a new Coaching workshop for teacher leaders and school administrators with our partners at the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio.  This work, which includes profound thoughts on what teacher have to say about Coaching–what works and what does not work for them, and what they need from their coaches, will be something you will want to know about.  More information coming soon.  Have a great week.  JW

Expanded Teacher Training

Yesterday I learned from a partner in SC that India may need as many as 2,000,000 new teachers in the coming few years.  This is due to school expansions, not due to replacements projected.  Awesome that the government is determining how to educate all its students in India.  In America, we aren’t facing expanded needs for teacher training to the degree that India is facing this, but we do need new and improved ways of training new teachers.

Today, I had a great reunion with Dr. Steve Wallace, President at Florida State College at Jacksonville (formerly FCCJ).  President Wallace was an important partner in our high school improvements we put in place while I served in Duval County, FL.  I heard a good bit about their new teacher training programs and offering 4-year degrees to aspiring teachers.  From the sound of it FSCJ is offering real response to those needs on current-day schools with a focus on practice over theory.  I am anxious to learn more.  If they can help crack the code on American teacher training in current state, the college could expand its influence well beyond its current sphere of influence.  Knowing the past work of FSCJ as I do, I expect great things from their work in teacher training.  Congratulations!

Congratulations to Chicago Public Schools Area 1 and to Amy Mims

We have learned that Amy Mims, former deputy chief with the Chicago Public Schools autonomous schools region will become the new Chief Area Officer for CPS Area 1. Based on what I know of Amy’s expertise, leadership style, and passion for kids and educators, she will lead Area 1 to great heights in student achievement. We look forward to supporting Amy’s work in Area 1.

Power of Teaching

Power of Teaching compiles, in a straightforward and highly-readable way, those specific teaching behaviors determined—through clinical research over decades—to significantly drive instruction, student engagement, higher-order thinking and productivity among students in classrooms preK-14.  Read more at

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