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Leading to Reform: October 2

This Week’s letter highlights where people are getting their news, a great urban school in Milwaukee, that good leaders handle stress, and the unacceptable pace of educational reform. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.

How Do You Get Your News? Depends on Where You Live
The Pew Charitable Trust found that where you live impacts how you get your news. Urban residents are more likely to use mobile and online sources, suburbanites are most heavily into social media, and rural residents are more inclined to word of mouth sources. The question is where do you get your news and are you aware what you read may not be what others are reading? How does that skew your perspective on what is the real deal?
Click here to learn more. Graphic: How City, Suburban and Rural Communities Differ

From the Sunday Papers...
Leaders interested in school reform can learn from Henry Tyson – a passionate and optimistic school leader who believes MPS charter and choice schools working cross sector can learn from what is going on at Saint Marcus and similar schools so more kids are learning in urban schools. St. Marcus model offers hope for Milwaukee schools

Do Statistics Warp School Reform?
Education Reform is filled with stats that many school leaders get lost in.
Valerie Strause posts that test scores are easy to compare, rank schools and teachers, while giving a true maybe not full picture of whom students and their teachers are doing.Author Alfie Kohn, writes about howa problem when it comes to school reform.” This is a slightly expanded version of an essay that was first published in a recent issue of Education Week.

Pace of Change in Education
Educational change is glacial – especially in suburban schools where it is needed most. says Madeline Levine. Like many academic areas, there’s a huge disconnect between what’s known and what’s in practice. It’s very slow moving. Learn More:
Why Kids Schools Need to Change.

During this time of economic uncertainty, parents want to make sure their kids won’t fall into the ranks of the unemployed and disenfranchised young people who return home because they’re unable to find jobs. There’s so much anxiety around the economy and the future, they’re thinking, What can School Leaders do to make sure that my child is on track?

People don’t like change, especially in times of great uncertainty, she said. “People naturally go conservative and buckle down and don’t want to try something new. There are schools that are trying to do things differently, and although on the one hand they’re heralded as having terrific vision, they’re still seen as experimental dooming them to the back burner reserved for innovation in suburban schools.

Yet, therein lies the paradox. It’s exactly during these uncertain times when people must be willing to try new things, to be more open, curious and experimental. In education, although there are great new models of learning and schooling, they are the exceptions.

Leadership and Stress
A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people in leadership positions suffer from less stress, surprisingly, than those in less powerful positions. When you’re the one in charge, in other words, you’re better able to control the factors that could bring you anxiety.

The researchers, in what they say is the largest of such studies, asked 148 leaders and 65 non-leaders attending a leadership program at Harvard University about their stress (many of whom worked in government jobs). They found the leaders were more likely to exercise and less likely to smoke, yet also consumed more caffeine and slept less.
But there is another possible explanation, as HealthDay’s Randy Dotinga writes: “The findings in the new study don't prove that leadership is a natural stress reliever, however. It’s possible that people with lower anxiety levels are better able to lead.

Here are your links of the week:

“I am astounded at the glacial pace ”

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