Could the top 10 percent of charter networks expand by 40 percent annually? Going Exponential: Growing the Charter Sector’s Best, a Public Impact report (pdf) for the Progressive Policy Institute calls for successful charter leaders to think like Starbucks.
Among other things, that would require importing entrepreneurial leaders from other sectors.
“Thinking outside the box” should include thinking outside the school, writes Emily Hassel, one of the authors.
Fast exponential growers also intensely seek out ways to reach more customers in different ways. Think Starbucks selling coffee on grocery store shelves, reaching millions who don’t live near a Starbucks. What if charter operators could similarly reach students without setting up entire new schools, sidestepping the need for a school leader and facility? What if they could engage in “micro-reach,” supporting select teachers in existing schools to deliver their programs in their own classrooms? What if a teacher, a small team of teachers, or a community-based organization could form a “micro-charter,” serving just 10, 20 or 100 students without the a full-scale school building and administrative structure?
The report also calls for extending excellent teachers’ “reach” by “redesigning jobs to concentrate teacher time on instruction, putting star teachers in charge of more children’s learning, and using technology to extend top teachers’ reach and meet their standard.”