Developing Schoolwide Vision and Implementing Strategic Plans

A key lesson learned from the decentralization experiment is the need for system-wide standards and intervention to address the challenge of student performance. The LSC (Local School Council) and its supportive network alone are not sufficient to promote educational improvement system-wide. Indeed, decentralized reform may have widened the capacity gap among schools to raise performance. Instead, districtwide leadership is needed to apply both pressure and support to schools. Such a mix of intervention strategies did not occur during the period of LSC dominance because the reform ideology with its strong antibureaucratic sentiments did not allow for the proper functioning of the central office. Taken as a whole, the post 2005 strategies of sanctions and support have improved the overall conditions that lead to better student performance across the system. Better test scores are seen not only in elementary schools but also in the more problematic high schools since 2004.

In contrast to the seemingly recentralizing tendency under integrated governance, charter school reform aims to significantly reduce regulatory control from the central administration and union agreements. Although they are labeled as public schools, charter schools are distinctive in several major aspects. The school’s charter or contract explicitly spells out the conditions and expectations for outcome-based performance. The authorizing agency can be the local school board, the state, or other legal entities (such as universities). Once established, schools enjoy substantial autonomy in setting curriculum, teacher salaries, and work conditions, although they are bound by state regulations regarding safety, health, dismissal, and civil rights. School funding follows students to the schools, which operate on a multiyear renewable contract.

Charter schools are guided by several design principles. They aim to:

• create a new structure of school autonomy based on performance contract;

• limit central office control over curriculum, instruction, and personnel decisions;

• grant parental preferences on schooling opportunities; and

• promote innovation and alternative assessment on student performance.

Since 1992, when the first two charter schools opened in Minnesota, the number of states with charter legislation and the number of schools in operation have grown steadily. Charter school advocates have identified two kinds of innovative effects: (1) charter school can create competition, maintaining a better fit with the needs of their “customerparents,” and thereby pressuring regular public schools to improve in order to maintain their share of the student “market”; and (2) enjoying substantial autonomy from the central office, schools can serve as laboratories for developing new educational ideas and practices, fostering and following through on innovative ideas from which traditional public schools in the district can learn. But are these claims supported by the knowledge base in the current literature?

Not surprisingly, the literature is split on the issue of whether charter school competition pressures public schools to improve. Most of the research has found light to moderate effects, more prevalent in smaller or mid-sized districts where the system is often more nimble and the impact of a few schools is more readily felt. Legislative compromise-capping the number of schools, cushioning the financial blow to traditional district schools, or reducing the autonomy of schools-may lessen the effects. Educational reform was also influenced by past performance and the eagerness of the district leadership to undertake change. While there is some evidence suggesting district response to competition, starting charter schools is such difficult work that a significant amount of time may be needed before producing strong, system-wide impacts on school districts. In districts where schools made an impact, districts made “piecemeal” instead of system-wide changes, and were most concerned with expanding their school day by offering new add-on programs. In short, given the mixed evidence on charter school impact, more research is needed on what works and what doesn’t in charter school as a system-wide reform.

As for schools promoting innovative practices, researchers have asked two related questions: (1) Are schools engaging in classroom innovation, with new methods of teaching? (2) Are district schools able and willing to integrate those classroom innovations into the mainstream curriculum? On both of these issues, the empirical evidence tends to be mixed. While innovations were found, many were structural, few were either freestanding or independently replicable, and no evidence of significant sharing or dissemination of practices from schools to district schools was found. Some evidence suggests that changes in organizational and institutional arrangements may prove more significant than any academic innovations. The literature remains unclear on whether charter reforms are actually “adding value” to student learning.

Conclusions

The two emerging governance models represent a continuum of institutional possibilities for urban educational reform. At one end of the continuum is integrated governance, which redefines the responsibilities and enhances the capacity of districtwide leadership. Given its strong focus on raising student performance, integrated governance reform tends to target resources on and apply pressure to low-performing schools and students. A challenge is to recruit leadership that has the vision to apply pressure and provide support to low-performing schools.

Concerns about the potential of excessive central direction have prompted some reformers to support the charter school model, which represents the other end of the institutional reform continuum. While decentralization may facilitate innovative practices and promote more efficient use of resources, the charter school model is likely to be unevenly implemented across different settings. Given schools’ autonomy, system-wide standards are not likely to be considered a high priority. Whether schools are able to recruit high-quality leaders will be a critical challenge. Equally important is the charters’ capacity for turning around low-performing schools and students.

From a broader perspective, the two emerging models call our attention to the complex challenge of reengineering low-performing schools with a particular focus on leadership and management issues. More specifically, this review of the two models raises several issues in the area of educational leadership, including: the role of states and districts in designing and implementing alternative systems of accountability; leadership qualities and management practices that are necessary for implementing the reform models at the district and school level; the kind of technical assistance that is needed to ease organizational transition and improve effective management in settings where political leaders at the state and city level have taken a more active role in education; principals’ strategies in developing school-wide vision and implementing strategic plans that are designed to raise student performance; the ability of public school leadership at the school and district levels to respond to an emerging competitive environment given the increase in the number of schools; and effective ways in which noneducators can collaborate with school professionals to turn around low-performing schools.

Is The Paper Money Going To Die?

If the figures all over the world are added together, there are about five billion mobile phones being used currently, and the number is sure going up. Sam Pitroda, the technology evangelist has predicted that the paper money would die within 30 years due to efforts being made by the banks, mobile companies and other stakeholders. He says the paper money would soon disappear due to digital transactions, thanks to the introduction of his latest innovation, the digital wallet. Sam Pitroda’s earlier innovation, the Casio digital diary was a runaway hit all over the world.

Paperless World Would Be a Better World

He asks if we can make our offices paperless, why not banks and our wallets? He predicts all the mobile service operators will adopt the technology sooner or later, especially due to declining revenue per user for the mobile companies. People are more like to pay for these services, since these would be value added services.

Foolproof Concept

He is especially confident about the security aspect, saying that it is a foolproof concept he has come up with. He further says having about a billion people connected with the help of cell phones; India is going to be an economic powerhouse in the sphere of digital transactions. He predicts even social service, education and health will move towards paperless transactions soon enough.

Very Convenient

In the live demonstration presented by Sam Pitroda, he explained his idea using four large icons on his cell phone screen, which included wallet, bank, my-commerce and my-city. All the plastic cards and bonuses have their imprint in the cell phone which can be used by the mobile phone owners as per their convenience.

India Is Only Behind China

In terms of mobile connectivity, India is only behind China which has 795 million cell phone connections against 650 million connections in India. He says we may not realize it right now, but things cannot continue the way they are in the face of technology onslaught. In future, the handsets will be storing all the personal data including those related to health, education, lab tests and what not. In US the idea of conducting examinations on cell phones is also under trials and we will soon know how to make it feasible.

10 Most Famous Veterinary Technician Schools

Veterinary Nurses are responsible in providing quality treatment to various animals. They are playing important roles in veterinary medical teams. How are they being educated? Here come the veterinary technician schools. These schools are specially established to prepare a group of prospective vet techs with veterinary knowledge and clinical skills. Let’s take a look at 10 Most Famous Veterinary Schools. They so popular and well recognized in producing high quality and competent vet techs.

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

It was ranked the first in United States for its progressive academic program and world class resources in animals’ health, biomedical research and veterinary medical care.

Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

It is internationally recognized as the top leader in the advancement of animals’ health through its innovative education and training programs as well as its aggressive researches.

University of California

It is famous for its wide range of courses in animals’ health, human health and environmental health.

University of Pennsylvania & North Carolina State University

Both universities are well known for their strengths in teaching, research, engagement and animal health care.

Ohio State University & Texas A&M University

Both universities have contributed in producing most of the practicing veterinarians in US

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine

It offers many professional career options in public and private practice to fresh graduates

Michigan State University

This college is committed to educating the prospective veterinarians for the welfare of society.

The University of Minnesota

This college is nationally and internationally recognized for its training and research excellence.

If you intend to select vet tech as your future career, keep this top 10 list in mind. You should be proud of yourself if you manage to get the offer from any one of the 10 most famous veterinary technician schools.