School redesign is not going to be a transition without challenges. That was the observation of Mark Tallman, Vice President for Advocacy at the Kansas Association of School Boards after he attended a forum earlier this month at the Kansas Leadership Center.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt, as we go through this redesign process around the state, there’s going to be problems with it,” said Tallman. “We know that. There’s going to be opposition. Some mistakes will be made. The issue is, will it overall let our schools be more responsive to what kids actually need today?”
The jury is still out on that point, but it is becoming about teaching skills, not teaching subjects.
“Part of the idea of redesign is to do more to help students learn how to learn on their own and less, kind of sitting in class listening to a teacher,” said Tallman. “One of the students, who was actually a panelist, talked about, this is a change and it’s harder for some kids.”
Part of the school funding lawsuit is centered around improving education for kids who have challenges in the classroom.
“How do we do a better job of helping those kids who don’t do as well, for a variety of reasons, under this system,” asked Tallman. “How do make this system work for them, without even the perception of, you’re taking something away from kids who are doing well?”
The first “Mercury Seven” group of redesigning schools launched last fall; the Gemini group is implementing changes this year and Apollo schools are in the pre-launch planning stage.