Commentators: Martin Carnoy (Stanford University) and Brianna A. Kurtz (Mary Baldwin University)
Chair: Jun Li (CIES 2023 Chair & Presidential Elect)
Recent years have seen widespread dissatisfaction with the performance of the planet’s schools. Additional resources, more personnel, and organisational adjustments (from fields like school effectiveness and improvement) have all seemed to have limited effects on educational “outcomes”. More recently there are attempts to make schools more reliable and “failure free”, utilizing insights from organisations that are not allowed to fail – air traffic control or nuclear power installations. Specifically, these programmes involve concern with the detail of the student experience through a) constant feedback from all and about all in schools; b) dealing with student problems before they become “cascading” errors; c) constant benchmarking against best practice within and between all schools; and d) alertness to lapses/failures. The cost to society of perfectly avoidable school failure is probably similar to that of a jumbo jet crash, per country, per day. But we design out failure from flying. Why cannot we do the same for education?
Professor David Reynolds is currently Distinguished Professor at Hangzhou Normal University Jing Hengyi School of Education. He is one of the major architects of the school effectiveness and school improvement field/discipline, from the 1990’s to date. He has published over 30 books and literally hundreds of journal articles, chapters in books, professional publications, and shorter works. He has also lectured/presented/advised in over 70 countries across the world. He is on the Editorial Boards of ten international journals, including the revered School Effectiveness and School Improvement which he set up (with Bert Creemers). His current research interests are in the development of “failure free” educational institutions, utilizing insights from the practices of organisations that are not allowed to fail.