Monday, July 13, 2009

Small-Scale Scaling

Jeremy Chiappetta (yes, I'm enjoying the RI ed twitters via Angus), principal of our forthcoming Democracy Prep "mayoral academy":

building excellent schls training tonight, tomorrow

Building Excellent Schools. Hadn't heard of this one before. These folks do have a peculiar relationship with academia. College for 100% of kids but privately-funded (they are conspicuously mum about their funding) proprietary training for themselves. We shall see what the long term effect of such an insular and inwardly looking movement is.

Also, it is always good to remind yourself concretely of the way these folks handle scale. The Building Excellent Schools flagship seems to be the BES Fellowship, which this year includes six people, at least two of whom are in my estimation are overqualified for this kind of program. Or overqualified in the sense that "If you really believe that a person with this background cannot create a single small charter school from the ground up building one year at a time without a $80,000 fellowship and your special training program, we're all screwed."

The mentality is better a few, tiny, meticulously built excellent schools than a lot more good schools and a few disappointing ones. Assuming they follow the form of similar schools, three, four, five, nine years down the road the schools this year's class of fellows start will graduate about as many kids (480-ish) as a single largish sized urban high school, or a bit more than twice my small-town high school class. In therms of scale, all this essentially generates six neighborhood schools a year.

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