How do we create whole systems of transformational schools?

WENDY KOPP & MALCOLM GLADWELL: Teach For America Revolution: A Catalyst for Education Reform? (Live from the NYPL, web | iTunes)

Here’s a conversation that could go another couple hours and continue to hold one’s attention—but the hour we do get is strong enough. Malcolm Gladwell asks questions more cleverly than the average bear, but really it’s all about Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America and a real driver of positive change in American education and hence American society.

Kopp has three or four really important points that are worth writing down here for me to remember:

  • We don’t have to wait for socioeconomic problems to be fixed before attacking problems in education; actually we may find that education is the solution to broader problems of poverty and inequality
  • We know what works; we have models of transformative schools which can alter the trajectory of their students from a cycle of poverty to graduating college
  • The real focus on schools should be on creating high-performing organizations, on talent development, training and retaining passionate teachers and leaders

Take those points to heart, but listen to the full conversation for context, examples, the history of Teach For America, and her nuanced thoughts on our system of education and where it’s moving.

Image source: my camera, NC State campus.

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