It's a new year, and with it comes new resolutions to get along. Among educators, that's the only way that any change can be accomplished in schooling. The good news is that most people in the community agree that change is needed, with the United States trailing other countries in student math and reading achievement, and the discussion leaders are more or less the same. Secretary Arne Duncan will try to broker some sort of compromise with House Republicans on a rewrite of No Child Left Behind, but it's likely that any changes on the federal level will be incremental. That means it's up to the folks at the local level--the school boards, the superintendents, and the unions--to turn around the failing schools and lift up the ones languishing in the middle.
So what can be accomplished on the ground? Where can individual unions and their management agree about how to improve their schools? Are there local deals to be made on student assessments, teacher pay, and tenure? In what areas might it be necessary for federal policymakers to intervene? If nothing happens on the federal level, what powers can local school districts use to ensure students have access to a quality education?