I've always felt this and certainly have experienced it, but as I've had the privilege of seeing a lot more schools and school districts up close, it's become evident to me that size is a real enemy to innovation. Change is difficult for any organization and education is particularly difficult because of its systematic problems and tensions as a public sector institution. But there is an inverse relationship between the layers of bureaucracy and the ability to innovate and change. I won't pretend that's a particularly profound or new realization but when I look at those pockets of change, it seems that it's often a result of fewer hoops to jump.
I was fortunate to work for many years in a relatively small school district. All teachers had pretty easy access to superintendents and directors and even board members. Trust was easier to build. Certainly it doesn't guarantee a trusting environment but it's much easy to build. Convincing 2 people is easier than convincing 10. That's basic math. For example, back in 2007 I had a teacher email me asking if there might be a way for her students to use their cellphones in the classroom. This was way before … Read the rest