Innovation to Fundamentally Transform Schools
The absence of significant innovation in public education since the 19th century is well documented. The reasons why both elementary and secondary education, as well as higher education, have been resistant to change run the gamut of people’s comfort with what they know and fear of change, to low expectations, and to a failure to understand the need for ever-greater expectations for each ensuing generation.
CAPSS has decided to do battle with the status quo and with many of the structures of public schools that have had a nearly 200-year life. The superintendents’ association wishes to eliminate barriers in the education system that inhibit improving learning. In addition to working to see the recommendations of this report become state law, funded, and implemented, CAPSS will undertake a major campaign and study to ignite innovation in Connecticut Public Schools.
Innovations in education are needed for a fundamental transformation of schools. The goal is to identify, adopt,adapt, and implement innovations that result in achieving for each graduate a higher level of learning and capacity for further learning while visibly reducing some of Connecticut’s achievement gaps.
CAPSS envisions Connecticut Public Schools as centers of innovation aimed at bettering the future of public school students. The organization expects to dedicate the 2021, 2022, and 2023 calendar years to: identifying examples of flexibility and choice with how, when, and where learning takes place; developing alternatives to today’s structures for teaching and learning; and supporting classroom, building and district efforts to implement creative solutions to present and future challenges.
A study group will be formed, and while convened by CAPSS, will be open to other organizations to join in this quest. As a controlling condition, the study will only undertake ideas and pilot programs that DO NOT require legislation and/or new funding. The purpose of this condition is to drive real change that reallocates resources,people, and things to new systems, methods, and practices, and not merely adding on to the current system.
The Study Group will have no constraints on the range or breadth of its investigations and may choose to establish its own parameters as needed. Individual CAPSS members have suggested several areas for study, such as: school calendar, attendance, uses of school facilities, curriculum and instruction, meaningful pathways, cross-disciplinary and other approaches to assessing learning, the intersection of schools and health, the school as a community and family resource, extra-curricular activities, out-of-school learning, the use of social media in learning, technology,globalization, and student-centered and personalized learning systems. The Study Group will be most interested in helping individual teachers, school principals, and central office staff that are engaged in transformational efforts toward growing student outcomes with the hope of validating them as successful and possibly replicating them elsewhere.
*Some elements from CAPSS’ Innovation in Education Committee and Next Ed: Next Steps, A Vision and a Plan for Transforming Connecticut’s Education System are reflected in the above.