Reposted from relinquishment:
Education Cities is an organization that supports New Schools for New Orleans type entities across the country. The describe their work as the following: “Our members serve as education “harbormasters” with deep ties to their communities. Like maritime harbormasters, who facilitate safe and cooperative navigation in a challenging space, education harbormasters build and coordinate the efforts to improve education in their city. Together, our members – nonprofits, foundations, and civic organizations – are improving opportunities for millions of children and their families.” Whether or not you like the phrase “harbormaster” – the goal is, I think, a sound one: supporting local organizations that can drive change based on local conditions.
Unfortunately, the charter sector does not have any psychohistorians amongst it ranks. As such, it’s difficult to predict how the next fifty years of high-quality charter school growth will (or will not) occur. This is why I view well run harbormasters to be of use. By fitting strategy to environment, they can come up with novel solutions to the most pressing local solutions – taking the best from what’s been tried nationally, but always with an eye toward local conditions. This is something that national foundations, national education organizations, and federal and state government entities will always struggle to do.
The goal of education reform should not be finding and adopting current best practices. The goal of education reform should be to build learning ecosystems that constantly evolve. Harbormasters can be a key part of these ecosystems.