Organizational Structures

What should organizational structure be like in the new paradigm of education?  On my home page, I talked about how grade levels need to give way to achievement levels, grades need to give way to certification of achievement, and courses should give way to projects.


Our latest thinking is represented in the book and white paper shown on the right.  Here, I summarize five fundamental principles related to organizational structures. 

1. Professional Organizational Structure

We call teaching a profession, but we do not treat teachers as professionals.  Other professionals, like architects, accountants, and lawyers, can if they wish work in partnerships in which they control their work and make all managerial decisions.  These firms tend to be small, avoiding the need for expensive bureaucracy.  The professionals are not only responsible for serving the best interests of their clients, but are also empowered to do so.  Could this work in education?

As we document in Vision and Action, this kind of organizational structure is already appearing in public education.  The Minnesota New Country School is a case in point.  It is one of over 100 "teacher-powered schools" in 17 states, more than half of which are in public school districts. Research shows that students in such schools perform significantly better on state tests.  Also, teachers' quality of life is better.  And this is being done in public school districts! And without a bureaucracy controlling them, districts can save a lot of money.

New Book!     2020
Vision and Action:
Reinventing Schools through Personalized Competency-Based Education 
  By Charles M. Reigeluth & Jennifer R. Karnopp

The purpose of this book is to help teams of educators (teachers, administrators, staff, coaches, facilitators, and even board members), parents, and students to transform their school systems to personalized competency-based education.  We offer proven ideas and methods both for a vision of PCBE and for the action (or process) for trans-forming your school or district to that vision.

White Paper

Teacher Empowerment, Student Choice, and Equity in School Districts:  A Non-Bureaucratic Alternative for School Organization and Accountability

                                         Synopsis (online)                                     Report (PDF)

2. Small School Size

Small schools make it much easier to create a caring, personalized learning environment.  They also make it much easier for teachers to run their own schools.  In effect, they empower both students and teachers, and they dramatically reduce discipline problems and bullying, among other benefits.

It used to be that small schools were disadvantaged by (1) difficulty affording such facilities as libraries, media centers, gymnasiums, auditoriums, and more; (2) difficulty affording to offer a large variety of courses; and (3)