In recent conversations, educators and state policymakers have expressed shock to me that district schools aren’t innovating more. With microschools growing and test scores floundering, why aren’t districts seeking permission to reinvent themselves?
As evidence of the opportunities to innovate, many bureaucrats and think tanks point to the vast number of waivers that states offer. The opportunities to move beyond traditional structures and processes do exist, the argument goes.
Yet waivers help far less than most policymakers believe. Until regulators create frameworks where innovation in pursuit of student outcomes is the default and doesn’t require permission, don’t expect a sea change.