I’ve been on the road for the past two weeks and have been spending time with great city based education leaders from across the country.
A common struggle they face, and a common issue I see everywhere, is the confusion between autonomy and entrepreneurship.
To be very specific:
1) Autonomy is the granting of freedoms.
2) Entrepreneurship is the creation of new self governed organizations.
Autonomy is a management strategy. When it comes to serving disadvantaged families, management strategies have limited upside and a lot of downside in terms of the opportunity cost of not pursuing entrepreneurship.
We need structural strategies that grant true freedoms.
The magical moment is when you give an educator the opportunity to create the school of her dreams.
The magical moment is not when you give an educator the chance to pick her math curriculum.
The future is in handing power back to educators so they can create schools that you would want to send your children to.
The future is not in letting an educator opt-out of centralized staffing ratios.
To be blunt: an educator who is playing the autonomy game is still sitting at the children’s table.
The future is not autonomy. The future is trust, risk, freedom, and accountability.
I don’t think I’ve used five exclamation points in my life, but, people, if we don’t get this right, we’re going to stay stuck in cages of our own creation.
And children everywhere are going to suffer.