Posted on: May 04, 2002 at 9:31 PM
The transition through which you have guided the ASSET project is quite ambitious and admirable. I am impressed how you have carved out a percentage of your annual budget for R&D. I think this is a great model although not easily applied anywhere without incredibly strong visionary leadership.
Reforms for large urban districts, it seems, can take 10 to 15 to 20 years, if the intensity of support can remain. You have been able to implement something that sounds like a local improvement infrastructure just after six years in a rural setting.
I am wondering in a large urban setting if this is possible even with external funding. I am hoping that a large urban district could begin to develop this R&D component with external funding and over a period of say 10 to15 years begin to reallocate funds to support it. Or, say if a large urban district is finishing their five or six years with an LSC, that within another five to six years, they would be ready to incorporate the R&D into their own budget perhaps with some additional level of regional support (city, foundation, industry).
Mike Klentschy states that the systemic change may take longer than the tenure of many superintendents, and Stigler and Hiebert state this as well in The Teaching Gap. Could a Local Improvement Infrastructure bring continuity in the systemic change reform efforts and take the leadership while working closely with the superintendent and other top leaders within a district? (Other top leaders do not necessarily stay as long as the reform takes either.) The leaders along with the rest of the stakeholders want to see achievement levels rise; are we all willing to be disciplined (and to have the will) to use the funds to follow the research and listen to what teachers think they need to move forward with developing effective support systems so we can raise achievement for all children?