Giving Compass' Take:

• A report from the Carnegie Corporation of New York recommends how to rebuild the fragmented education system. Progress in education is difficult when executing solutions and offering feedback to one another is challenging for school ecosystems. 

• The report suggests that strategies should center around both human design and systems change approaches to education. What is an ideal strategy that incorporates both of those concerns into improvement plans?

• Read about how to improve the education system student, educator, and parent involvement needs to happen. 

Baltimore City Public Schools had a problem: Its first year teachers had too many mentors.

While mentoring can be a good thing for new teachers, the city’s novice educators were, at one point, receiving up to 10 visitors — principals, district leaders, academic specialists — all giving different, and sometimes contradictory, feedback about how to improve their teaching.

But the problem in this case may be less telling than how the district found out about it, according to a new report from the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York. To help discover the mentoring redundancies, the district used “Improvement Science,” a method the health care industry often uses for solving problems.

The report argues that these types of system-wide analyses of program implementation are necessary if new school reform efforts are to survive. The idea behind the work is that education is not lacking in solutions but is doing a poor job of executing them.

The reason for these disappointing results is “fragmentation,” said LaVerne Srinivasan, a co-author of the report. The education system is set up to support local control, but that often means the layered levels of governance — from classroom teachers to school principals to district leaders and state administrators — don’t communicate effectively about their work.

The report points to several improvement strategies.

  • Build a shared understanding of purpose
  • Understand the circumstances of the actors involved
  • Integrate repeated adjustments based on experience

Carnegie launched the Integration Design Consortium last year, a two-year grant that is funding five groups to help make the fragmented education system more cohesive. Srinivasan said she hopes the report can help spur collaboration on this type of work.

Read the full article about rebuilding fragmented education systems by Kate Stringer at The 74.