Educational Leadership


New Version of Every School

An all-new version of Don Nielsen’s Every School, One Citizen’s Guide for Transforming Education can now be purchased on Amazon here! In this updated version of his book, Nielsen, Senior Fellow and Program Chair of Discovery Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education (ACTE), writes about the urgent need to transform our education system. Updating every chapter with new information, the book also adds a new chapter that provides a “game plan” for a state to implement the changes he advocates. Nielsen’s inspiration for the original version of the book, published by Discovery Institute in 2014, was that it would provide a unique and distinctive approach to education reform—dealing with  the overall “system” of public education rather than subjects like curriculum, Read More ›

Leader versus manager
Leader versus manager
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New Higher Education to Incentivize Educators

The supply of public education leaders is greatly outstripping the demand. The demand comes from parents, teachers, and students—that is, groups immediately impacted by leadership, or lack thereof. Don Nielsen, Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute sums up the cause of this leadership shortage in his book, Every School: “School leaders, whether they are principals or superintendents, are not trained to lead their school/district. They are trained to manage their school/district.” This is a consistent issue across all school levels. Nielsen argues, “The difference is that a leader will look for ways to improve performance, will innovate and will not be satisfied with the status quo. Managers, on the other hand, are trained to take what they have and make sure Read More ›

Fight, two fists hitting each other over dramatic sky
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Combating Union Power

Teacher unions carry a lot of fire power in their holsters, wielding greater influence on the public schools than any other group in American society, including voters. On first glance, one could say it is all “bottom up” influence due to their membership numbers (the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have a combined membership approaching 5 million). Unions drive collective bargaining activities which result in agreements so comprehensive that the organization of public schools is virtually dictated by the union. There is also “top-down” influence, in which politicians are lobbied to pass laws and regulations that are typically anti-reform and block or weaken any attempt to curb union power. In an article for New York Read More ›

Tennessee State Capital Building
Facade of Tennessee State Capital Building in Nashville, Tennessee
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States Stepping Out to Transform Education

Dale Chu of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a national advocate for bettering education, breaks down the Education Commission of the States’ annual report, highlighting what state governors are saying about education in their State of the State addresses. The Education Commission of the States follows and evaluates the policy proposals by Governors from each state, looking for developing tendencies, and summarizing them in a way easy to follow for the reader. Examples of these emerging trends are school finance, workforce development, teaching quality, early learning, postsecondary financial aid, and school safety. The speeches of four governors are singled out for special recognition: Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Brad Little of Idaho, Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Tennessee’s new Governor, Bill Read More ›

Leadership vs Unions

Teacher unions always focus on the needs of their members, not the needs of children. A case in point is the recent strike in Denver. Teachers were out marching for an increase in their pay while students were being used as pawns. An article in states  “The average teacher salary in Denver, which includes incentives, is $62,095. That’s well above the national average teacher salary, which is $55,100, according to federal data.” What is more disconcerting than the statement above, was the announcement made by the teachers’ union president, Henry Roman, “We will strike Monday for our students and for our profession, and perhaps then DPS will get the message and return to the bargaining table with a serious proposal aimed Read More ›