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Leading to Reform: December 28

This week’s Leading to Reform ends 2012 with a look at the next generation of education leaders, a case study on losing creativity and what you need to know about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.

Keep Your Eyes on These 30 Millennials in Education
At more than 78 million strong, the Millennials—those born between 1980 and 2000—have surpassed the Boomers (my generation) as the larger and more influential generation in America. Its members are reaching adulthood, where the traits of a generation really take shape.

Recently, Meghan Casserly of Forbes took a look 30 Gen-Yers who are overhauling education. They are innovators, advocates, thought-leaders and reformers.

“The millennials,” a wistful
F. Scott Fitzgerald might have written today, “are different than you and me.”

As the Millennials grow significantly as a proportion of the workforce over the next 20 years, their influence will clearly be felt in K-12 education. My advice: Keep an eye out for these 30 under 30.
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Case Study: The Terrible Cost of Losing Creativity
Today, a single Apple product — the iPhone — generates more revenue than all of Microsoft’s wares combined. So, what happened to Microsoft? Vanity Fair’s Kurt Eichenwald, takes a look at one of American corporate history’s greatest mysteries—the lost decade of Microsoft.

Eichenwald traces the “astonishingly foolish management decisions” at the company that “could serve as a business-school case study on the pitfalls of success.”

Relying on dozens of interviews and internal corporate records—including e-mails between executives at the company’s highest ranks—Eichenwald offers an unprecedented view of life inside Microsoft during the reign of its current chief executive, Steve Ballmer. Perhaps the worst thing that happened to the company is they forgot what they were. Learn More...

Does it Pay to Know Your Leadership Type?
Have you ever heard someone describe himself or herself as an INTJ or an ESTP and wondered what those cryptic-sounding letters could mean? What these people are referring to is their personality type based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The simple precept of the test is that everyone fits one of the 16 possible combinations.

Chances are you have already taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or will. Roughly 2 million people a year do. It has become the gold standard of psychological assessments, used in businesses, government agencies and educational institutions.

The basic idea is that knowing your personality type, and those of others, will help you interact more effectively with colleagues and better identify your own strengths. In educational institutions, the test is often used to help identify potential career fields.

“And yet the psychological community has been reticent to speak up too vocally against it,” writes Lillian Cunningham of the Washington Post. “The fact is, many psychology professors do lucrative side work as organizational consultants. And as taboo as it is to praise Myers-Briggs in U.S. academia, it’s equally taboo to disparage it in corporate America.”
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Education Reform: History Repeats Itself
Through the Common Core State Standards project, 45 states and the District of Columbia have endorsed academic standards in English language arts and mathematics that raise the bar for student achievement and redefine what it means in the 21st century.

But the Common Core is hardly the first such inflection point in recent education reform. In 1983, the Federal report “A Nation at Risk” set off a wave of reform in which states raised high school graduation requirements, introduced academic standards, and took other widely recommended measures. Within a decade, policymakers were disappointed in the results and looking for new ideas.

In 2002, another initiative moved forward with historic promise. The Federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), adopted by a bipartisan coalition, hoped that testing, accountability, and a bit of educational choice would catalyze innovation and improvement. A decade later, policymakers of both political persuasions are again looking for new ideas.

Is Common Core a potential watershed in U.S. education? Or, have we been here before.
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Schools That Can Milwaukee
Educational achievement and school performance is clearly under the microscope in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. State and local leaders are pressing competing solutions to the challenges economically disadvantaged students face, especially in urban areas of the state.

One Milwaukee organization that has offered some new ideas in that arena is Schools That Can Milwaukee which expanded this fall to include new member schools and was profiled recently on WUWM’s “Lake Effect”.

Kole Knueppel, managing director of school partnerships for Schools that Can Milwaukee, talked about the group’s growth, and its approach to improving student and school success.

“The exciting thing, our early results are very encouraging, in that we've had a small number of schools move pretty dramatically in terms of implementing those best practices,” says Knueppel.

To listen to the interview,
please click here.

Full disclosure and shameless plug: I am the Director of Leadership Development for Schools That Can Milwaukee.

Articles for the Week:

“Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” --St. Paul

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