Lessons Learned from the Midwest

From inner-city Detroit to rural Minnesota, The Learning Collective has been hard at work over the past several years evaluating the efficacy of charter and traditional public schools in the Midwest. There are a few things we’ve learned in the process.

Since 2013, The Learning Collective has conducted over ten school quality reviews in Detroit, rural Minnesota and Minneapolis. Here are some of the things we’ve learned and confirmed:

  • School reforms can work. TLC evaluated Education Achievement Authority of Michigan schools in Detroit in 2015 and again in 2017 and saw a marked improvement in the quality of learning and teaching. Though the EAA no longer exists, it leaves behind a legacy of some school improvement in a historically underperforming school district.
  • Charter boards need to prioritize academic oversight. This is not a new insight, but we’ve seen many school boards comprised of business leaders rather than K-12 educators resulting in deficient academic program despite strong financial positions.
  • High quality school leaders can be found in rural settings. Though the talent pools in places like New York City are much deeper, we’ve seen school leaders in rural America that are more capable managers than some of their urban counterparts and willing to acknowledge a school’s shortcomings & take steps to remedy those shortcomings.