Novick Reports: The Emerging Third Way - Blazing an Optimistic Path Ahead in K-12 Education

This morning, MassINC and Empower Schools co-hosted “The Emerging Third Way: Blazing an Optimistic Path Ahead in K-12 Education” at the ICA in Boston. For those on Twitter, the hashtag was #ThirdWayEd. The “Third Way” prior to the event was described as:

  • Convergence on "best practice" for which they cite school controlled hiring (and cite charter schools) and extended day (likewise, cited charter schools)
  • Collaborative alignment with charters (for example, a unified enrollment system)
  • "Empowerment Zone" as in Springfield, where the "charter-like" powers were cited as an example

U.S. Secretary of Education John King was the featured speaker, ‘though he spoke at the end, and his comments largely were not connected with the overarching theme.

My liveblog from this morning is here. Margaret Driscoll of Melrose also attended, and her notes from this morning are here.

Most of what was presented is summarized by the bullet points above.

Coming a week after the Springfield Empowerment Zone Project’s presentation at the Board of Education, today’s event, which included everyone from the Commissioner to the Joint Chairs to representation from a myriad of think tanks, and had at least one panel flown in from Denver, did feel as if it were intended to be a presentation of a foregone conclusion. The charter schools were held up as an example of all best practices spoken of, and the freedom of the empowerment zone (where the oversight lies no longer with the School Committee but with the zone’s board) referenced repeatedly.

I’m happy to take questions if you have them.

Tracy O’Connell Novick
MASC Field Director 508-579-5472