Realizing Deeper Learning: The Economics and Achievements of Teacher-Powered Schools

This report examined the economics of two teacher-powered charter schools, finding they both expand definitions of achievement and improve student outcomes without increased costs. Are we surprised? No way! But it sure is nice when there is research supporting teachers’ good work!

“Realizing Deeper Learning: The Economics and Achievements of the Innovative Chartered School Model,” by longtime Minnesota superintendent Dr. Charles Kyte, examines two innovative chartered schools in Minnesota which have expanded definitions of achievement and improved student outcomes without increased costs. The research was conducted at the request of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Hewlett Foundation has a growing interest in broader dimensions of academic performance and in “deeper learning”–dimensions of student achievement that go beyond the knowledge and skills measured by standardized tests. The foundation wanted to know: Does “deeper learning” necessarily come at a higher price? The answer seems to be: No.

Both of the schools discussed in this report are organized as teacher-powered schools. Teacher-powered partnerships are a governance model in which teachers share collective autonomy to make the decisions influencing school success. Teachers in such schools report a feeling of ownership and accountability for all aspects of the school. So, beyond the question about “deeper learning at a higher price,” this report begins to tell us what can happen when teachers allocate and manage the school budget.

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