The title of this post is actually the title of an interesting book I've been reading. It is based on a meta-analysis of existing research studies and examines the relationship between district leadership and student achievement. It does appear from this research that students benefit from clear, unified, direction by the district and that schools do a better job when given some autonomy towards reaching those goals. The book begins by reminding us about William Bennett giving the nickname "the blob" to the administration of public schools which he said stood for "bloated educational bureaucracy." This may be a prescient reminder. However this book is not an assault on district leadership rather it contains suggestions on how district leadership can be more effective. It involves setting clear, nonnegotiable goals for achievement and instruction in collaboration with schools, teachers, parents, and board members then giving the schools and teachers the freedom to pursue those goals.
This is turning out to be a very busy week so it may be next week before I write much more. However, I want to write about my thoughts about school assignment issues, how we should measure student achievement, discipline issues, and other issues as they arise.