The Progressive Policy Institute recently released The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership an in-depth look at the innovative solution that Empower Schools helped forge with Springfield Public Schools, the Springfield Education Association, and the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In this report, leading government management improvement strategist Eric Schnurer takes a look at the context in which the SEZP was conceived and developed, the core principles and strategies that it operates with, and the initial impact it is having on school leaders, teachers, and district leadership.
In the conclusion, Schnurer states that “the importance of the Springfield model comes down, ultimately, to whether other SPS schools and other districts will embrace it.” We agree and are hopeful that with the recent introduction of enabling legislation in MA we will see an increasing number of districts using the SEZP model and theory of action in the coming years.
An excerpt from the report:
Proponents, in fact, see Springfield’s experiment as neither watered-down charters nor charterized public schools, but rather as a “Third Way” that tries to capture the best of both worlds. In the Springfield model, charter operators and union workforces don’t just coexist but cooperate; neighborhood schools attract innovative leaders and teachers instead of families having to go in search of them elsewhere; and educators working in a traditional district with an elected board and collective bargaining agreements nevertheless enjoy some of the freedoms and responsibilities charters experience.