My idea is a policy proposal prompted by the question: why don’t public school systems have strategy statements? It seems to me that, surveying their boundaries (geographic, demographic, business environment, cultural environment), local public school systems might articulate strategy statements that capitalize on the features of the districts they represent.
But I’d like to go one further: public school systems should articulate strategies mandating the schools within their borders adopt the very same feature—strategy statements. The goal, functionally, would be to get schools focusing on how they might work to achieve certain goals by focusing on one competitive (and comparative) advantages. For example, “Public School X aims to increase the number of graduates who have selected specific post-secondary opportunities to 100% by 2018 by incorporating businesses and organizations from the regional economy into the curriculum and daily classroom activity as much as possible, engaging with and capitalizing on the contributions of parents active in the local economy."
Surely that could be phrased better, but I hope my meaning can at least be gleaned from it.
Having each school articulate a statement like this, and then establish benchmarks based on this statement—to be overseen by the public school system’s central offices—would encourage schools to focus on developing a specific competitive advantage, with the potential for a number of positive externalities with regards to other metrics of school success (parent involvement, classroom engagement).
Moreover, this model allows for competition, collaboration, and holistic improvement for the school system. More would have to be hashed out to retrofit the plan district-by-district, but allowing students and their families to select schools based on the goals, metrics, and strategy statements, rather than assignment to school based strictly on home address, could be a good way to stoke competition (allowing for a probationary period during which schools are given room to begin implementing strategies based on their statements, after which students can enroll freely). This would enable schools to compete for students based on their areas of competitive advantage, ideally producing better results.