What conditions are necessary for Technical Assistance Organizations (TAOs) to work together in a school district? How can a school district create conditions for TAOs to dwork together toward achieving a common goal across its schools?
Given the common problem of incoherence in district reform efforts, SCOPE sought to understand what conditions enable (and/or constrain) the efforts of TAOs to align their work in service to districts. This paper uses the lessons from the Aligned Partners Project, a three-year qualitative study, to explore the complexity of TAOs working in partnership with each other and with districts. It describes the types of practices and structures that are useful in connecting technical assistance services with the specific strengths, interests, and needs of the people and the sites inside a district. It also explores the nature of the relationships that must develop between and among TAOs and district personnel and analyzes the roles and responsibilities that a district can assume to create the conditions for success. In short, this paper aims at understanding how TAOs and districts can work together to go beyond alignment of services toward developing cohesive supports that strengthen the opportunities for learning for all our children.
A new book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, provides a powerful analysis of these different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education.