The Urban School System of the Future: Can Chartering Replace the Urban District?
Panel Discussion and Reception, featuring Andy Smarick, John White, Kaya Henderson, and Michael Casserly
John White, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education
Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools
Michael Casserly, Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools
Andrew J. Rotherham, Co-founder and Partner at Bellwether Education Partners
We will continue to update this section.
“Can Traditional School Systems Be Replaced by Charters, by Emma Brown, The Washington Post
About This Event
In the new book The Urban School System of the Future, Andy Smarick argues that the traditional urban school district is irreparably broken, and that for the sake of today’s and tomorrow’s inner-city students, it must be replaced. Vastly better results can be realized through the creation of a new type of organization that properly manages a city’s portfolio of schools using the revolutionary principles of chartering. The Urban School System of the Future explains an idea that is simultaneously revolutionary, yet feasible—how we can finally create dynamic, responsive, high-performing, self-improving urban school systems that fulfill the promise of public education.
On January 29, 2013, Bellwether Education Partners hosted a spirited discussion of these ideas, featuring a diverse panel of dynamic state and district leaders who represent the leading thinking and efforts around transforming urban public education.
Event and Media Contact
For more information about the event, please contact Rachael Brown at Rachael@bellwethereducation.org, 202-630-3886.
Michael Casserly has served as Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools, the nation’s primary coalition of large urban public school systems, since January 1992. Before assuming this position, Casserly served as the organization’s Director of Legislation and Research for 15 years. As head of the Council, Casserly unified urban schools nationwide around a vision of reform and improvement; launched an aggressive research program on trends in urban education; convened the first Education Summit of Big City Mayors and Urban School Superintendents; led the nation’s largest urban school districts to volunteer for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); led the first national study of common practices among the nation’s fastest improving urban school districts, and launched national task forces on achievement gaps, leadership and governance, finance, professional development, and bilingual education. He is currently spearheading efforts to boost academic performance in the nation’s big city schools; strengthening management and operations; challenging inequitable state financing systems; and improving the public’s image of urban education. Dr. Casserly is a U.S. Army veteran, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and B.A. from Villanova University.
Kaya Henderson has served as Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools since 2011. Her education career began as a middle school Spanish teacher in the South Bronx. After serving as a teacher, Kaya Henderson went on to work as a recruiter, national admissions director, and DC Executive Director for Teach for America. In 2000, Henderson began her work with The New Teacher Project, where she became the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships. She came to DCPS as Deputy Chancellor in 2007. In this position, she served as chief negotiator for the groundbreaking 2010 contract between DCPS and the Washington Teachers’ Union, and led the development of IMPACT, a new and innovative professional development and assessment system designed to ensure that an effective teacher is leading every classroom in DCPS. As Chancellor, she is committed to holding all students to high expectations, providing them with access to high quality teachers and leaders, and creating the most rigorous and innovative instructional environments to ensure their success. Kaya Henderson received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and her Master of Arts in leadership, also from Georgetown University.
Andrew J. Rotherham is a co-founder and partner at Bellwether Education, a non-profit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. Rotherham leads Bellwether’s thought leadership, idea generation, and policy analysis work. He also writes the weekly “School of Thought” column for TIME, as well as the blog Eduwonk.com, and is the co-publisher of “Education Insider,” a federal policy research tool produced by Whiteboard Advisors. Rotherham previously served at The White House as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy during the Clinton administration and is a former member of the Virginia Board of Education. In addition to Bellwether, Rotherham has founded or co-founded two other influential education reform organizations including Education Sector and served on the boards of several other successful education start-ups. Rotherham is the author or co-author of more than 200 published articles, book chapters, papers, and op-eds about education policy and politics and is the author or editor of four books on educational policy. He serves on advisory boards and committees for a variety of organizations including Education Pioneers, The Broad Foundation, and the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER). Rotherham is on the board of directors for the Indianapolis Mind Trust, is Vice Chair of the Curry School of Education Foundation at the University of Virginia, and serves on the Visiting Committee for the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Andy Smarick is a Partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. He works in Bellwether’s Thought Leadership practice. Andy most recently served as Deputy Commissioner of Education of the State of New Jersey where he helped lead initiatives including the state’s successful ESEA waiver and Race to the Top 3 applications, the launching of new teacher evaluations, and an overhaul of the department’s charter school authorizing. Andy previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and at the White House Domestic Policy Council, and has worked for Congress and the Maryland state legislature. Other roles include Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Adjunct Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Chief Operating Officer of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. His book on overhauling the delivery of inner-city public education, The Urban School System of the Future, was released in 2012, and his articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, Education Next, National Affairs, and other outlets. He earned a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude and with honors, and a master’s degree in public management from the University of Maryland.
John White began his career in education as an English teacher at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. He then went to work for Teach for America (TFA) in New Jersey, where he coached and mentored new TFA recruits before becoming Executive Director of TFA-Chicago two years later. In 2006, John White was asked by New York City Chancellor Joel Klein to join the senior leadership team of the largest school district in the country. There White served as Deputy Chancellor of Talent, Labor and Innovation, leading negotiations for the city with the United Federation of Teachers, implementing a citywide teacher effectiveness system, and negotiating New York State’s bid for Race to the Top (R2T). Prior to being named Deputy Chancellor, White served as Chief Executive Officer for NYC’s Portfolio Division, leading the city’s efforts to turn around more than 100 failing schools and start 500 new charter and district schools. White became Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District in May 2011, where he launched “12 commitments to the city of New Orleans.” The district made good on each commitment, overhauling the remaining failing schools in the RSD, establishing a unified enrollment system, and expanding the New Orleans school construction program to ensure that every school building in Orleans Parish would be rebuilt or renovated. White was named State Superintendent of education in January of 2012 and soon thereafter launched Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan to put every child on the path toward college and career. White is a 2010 member of the Broad Superintendents Academy. He received a B.A. in English with distinction from the University of Virginia and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from New York University.