On Scaling Up Successful Educational Models

Here's Eduwonk's Andrew Rotherham who ponders
how consistently wrong education’s wise men and women generally are about scale. I can remember meetings just a few years ago where the “experts” solemnly informed us that KIPP (the high-performing network of public charter middle schools) was nice but would never get past a dozen or maybe two dozen schools. Now there are 100. Will there be 10,000? Probably not. More than 100? Certainly. Or consider Teach For America, still widely derided as marginal. And sure, it will never replace other methods of teacher preparation but it is the largest teacher preparation program in the country (5K a year coming up) – and gets the best results overall. The list goes on. The point is that a lot of ideas that haven’t been tried are now being tried and we have a lot to learn about scale and scaling. In addition, there are a lot of policies and barriers. On charter schools, for instance, it’s sort of ridiculous to talk about scaling them when they get 20 percent less funding than other public schools.