Flanagan does note one idea that I think has been rouinely ingored: Find your niche. One of the few unique things about American education is its persistent faith in local control. Take advantage of that gifted drama teacher, or one-of-a-kind elementary Japanese program. Tailor your school to fit your community and your staff. (This was the principle behind charter school legislation; many charters, unfortunately, have not taken advantage of this invitation to be distinctive.) This is not just a failing of charter schools but of all schools.
Whereas schools used to be tasked with a relatively simple goal and a complex process, that of educating young poeple, we as a nation have now added so much more to schooling in the area of social engineering, even outside of curricula. We now use schools to combat poverty, serve as social workers, providing services that are at best tangentially related to actual education. As a result schools have become more than simply schools, but are trying to be all things to all people. The result, of course, is that the schools do none of their given tasks well. Finding a niche also means coming to the understanding of your core competency, or what should be your core competency.
Later one comment did stand out, DrPrezz commented:
I think the business analogy bothers teachers because it can connote the idea of students as merely numbers, not individual students with unique needs. It also seems to imply that the bottom line in education is funding when it's actually learning.While I can understand an individual teacher feeling that way, school leaders, basically from school department heads on up, can't afford to think in ONLY that way. Yes, each student is an individual, but as the group of students gets bigger, the rules of statistics begins to take shape. In a large enough sample, you begin to get patterns, you begin to see curves and correlations. When dealing with 15-20 individuals in a class, you exceptions are quite common and individual teachers have the capability of addressing them. In large groups of more than, say 200, one or two exceptions are outliers-perhaps worthy of investigation, but not indicative of a problem with the entire system.