Byron's Babbles

Competitive Advantage

indexIt is no secret that I do not believe in neighborhood assigned schools for all children, especially low-income families. Children deserve and need their parents to have educational choice—not just what others think is good for them. School choice is all about empowering informed parents to make the best choice for the education of their children. With school choice, however, comes responsibility for leaders to not just start schools that look like all the others. As a charter school leader it is important for us to differentiate our school to meet the needs of our families and students.

I was reminded of this last Friday night when we honored our outstanding parents who serve as outstanding learning coaches. I blogged about this in Driving Decision Making. Every student has a story and needs some type of differentiation to make the school experience right for him or her. We must do all we can to make school information widely available so parents can make informed choices. Education is a complex, highly personal endeavor, which means that what happens at the individual level—the level of the teacher and the student—is the most crucial factor in realizing success. In education, I always say we need to work very hard to make policy meet reality. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which sends key decisions back to the states, allows us an opportunity to collaboratively bring the state legislature, state boards of education, departments of education, schools, teachers, and families together to do what is best for our children.

img_2003-1In Lesson #50 of The Disciplined Leader John Manning (2015) posited, “Don’t limit competitive information to what’s obvious. Dig deep to understand your competitors’ people, their products, their services, what they do well, and what they don’t. Plug this competitive analysis into your business plan and see how it fits against the backdrop of what’s happening in your industry.” (Manning, 2015, Kindle Locations 2566-2568) This same philosophy holds true for school choice. We must study what other schools are doing and make sure that our own schools are not just doing the same things the same old way, but truly doing things that are making a positive impact on student achievement and performance.

“Leadership needs to drive activities and invest resources to study their competition and use this information to develop a competitive advantage.” ~ John Manning

We need to create transformational disruptions that create innovative opportunities for our teachers, students, and families. Instead of being customers, let’s consider our students and families as end users of what we offer in our schools. What promising approaches could we be bringing into our schools to give us a competitive advantage?

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