Monthly Archives: September 2015

Flotsam series: XQ Super School – school models for the new century…

superschoolLogoCreating a fifty million dollar fund, engaging all communities of interest in high school education in the U.S. and delivering a new paradigm in governance, delivery, outcome and expectation.

No small task?

XQ, the Super School Project is an open challenge to do just that. Led by the XQ Institute, and Laurene Powell Jobs, the group are intent on the widest possible engagement.

‘From our inception, we realised this will be a many-to-many effort—involving many talented experts at the core of the Institute collaborating with many talented participants in the movement itself…from deep understanding about the science of learning to design thinking skills, from fueling the movement to building compelling digital tools that spark imagination’.

What the XQ Super School project can do is offer some simple and effective road maps and sound structural examples for delivery of projects like IETT.

We are just beginning our journey of levelling inequality in education in the UK, but the steps needed to make challenge and change effective can, arguably, be drawn from models in other educational locations and cultures.

Thus, with XQ, there  are four key steps to their development agenda/competition…

Team Up‘Assemble your team and head off into the unknown’. With an open mind and focus on the proposed project outcomes, then a wide variety of voices can be heard and included in the work.

Discover‘Start by understanding young people’. A wonderful, people first, philosophy. Deploying knowledge, research and experience that so often gets buried in the political agenda or mainstream educational currency.

Design  ‘…take what you’ve learned and use it to come up with audacious, unconventional, unconstrained ideas…’. Made us feel positively dizzy in the IETT office today!

Develop‘Map out a formidable plan for turning your…idea into reality’. From human capital, to governance, to implementation capacity – a good plan is sound thinking for any project or agenda.

interneticon2 (copy)You can discover more about XQ The Super School Project here.

(Flotsam is the IETT occasional series on educational change ideas promulgated in other places).

You can subscribe to these IETT articles by email at the top of every page on our site. You can send us a reflection here on our Contact Us page too.

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

Equality – drivers and context

Inequality in Education (IETT) has a focus on education, as you would expect. Inequality and its consequences stretch across a range of life experiences and outcomes for individuals, including education of course.

Get a copy from Amazon here...
Get a copy from Amazon here…

Looking through our archive recently, we came across the slides used by Tim Stacey of the Equality Trust in a recent talk he gave, which nicely encapsulates and offers insights into the evidence base for the pursuit of equality in society.

Drawing on data from his own TrustThe Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, as well as Miles Corak and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation amongst others. His case highlights well the admixture of issues that emerge for a society which has a core social, economic and educational inequality at its heart.

You can review Tim’s excellent presentation below.




interneticon2 (copy)You can download your own copy of the full pdf here.

IETT is proud to support the work of The Equality Trust.

You can Contact Us here.

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

The Economics of Inequality

As we travel the country taking our campaign forward we often see a great book, one quarter read, abandoned on the coffee table. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Trans. Arthur Goldhammer).

A master work of economic analysis, which retuns Marxian thought to the high table of discourse, we would argue, but which the average reader might fail to pursue to the end, due to its length and complexity.

pikettyEconomicsofInequalitycoverPic2 (copy)
Piketty’s paper…

Piketty’s framing propositions were developed, it can be argued, in an an earlier paper authored with Emmanuel Saez, in 1995. The Economics of Inequality is a much shorter work than his later magnum opus. (National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 8467. U.S., September 2001)

Recently published as a ‘new’ book by Harvard University Press, The Economics of Inequality ( at 160 pages or so, is a much more digestible read than Capital. It has some newly updated content and tables, although the data used to deliver argument in this new work stops in the mid-nineties of course. (Harvard University Press; July 2015)

View, print or download a copy of the original paper.

In a recent New York Times book review, Inequality as it was viewed in the 90’s, the review article argues that Piketty has achieved something of a volte-face on the 1%, and their limiting effect on the economic distribution of wealth and resources.

…the most important contribution of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” was precisely its suggestion that since then a rising share of after-tax profits in national income has indeed set us on the path back to a rentier society, in which the rich live off inherited wealth’.

The article expounds further that Piketty’s Capital ‘…made a disturbing case that we are well on the way to re-establishing “patrimonial capitalism,” a society dominated by oligarchs who inherit their wealth’.

The weakness in this earlier paper, The Economics of Inequality, the reviewer argues, is that Piketty declares, in his original research with Saez, that ”…progressive taxation seems to have prevented a return to 19th-century rentier society”. We disagree. This shorter paper is still a key piece of analysis on an emerging understanding of inequality even with an anti-rentier argument, with all its concomitant impact on economics, education, property and law.

A better critique, we would argue, is that Piketty has spent another two decades researching and thinking about his core propositions and has tempered his analytical ‘oratory’ accordingly with the publication of Capital.

Do open or download Piketty’s original paper from this page and see if you agree. The paper has some interesting historical analysis on the rise of I.T. professions and their effect on wages. (Even though contemporary analysis would now hold that this view is a ‘paperless office’ proposition, which technology also failed to achieve -Ed ).

interneticon2 (copy)Useful links:  An on-line version of the NYT Book Review here.

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

Flotsam: Educational ideas from other places…

Welcome to Flotsam, our new occasional series of ideas, thoughts and web assets, on educational change and innovation. They reach us on the tide from other places.

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Flotsam – an occasional series

This, the first in our series, looks at Bright – What’s New in Education?

As might be expected from a resource that is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the focus of the publication is Americo-centric, but the debate, ideas promulgated and practice argued for in the pages of this Medium published, independent journal are sound regardless of geography.

interneticon2 (copy)You can find the latest stories on Bright here.

Below is a current story from Bright, which we hope will stimulate a conversation, recharge a jaded educational battery or fire a new project. ( All of which could be the basis of a new Turning the Tide group perhaps? – Ed. )

Audrey Watters, who describes herself as an ‘…education writer, recovering academic and serial droput‘, writes in her article about the potential of giving every learner their own domain on the internet.

In The Web We Need to Give Students Audrey argues for the creation of a digital domain for life, for every student. A web presence for the individual, initially fostered and managed by the student’s school, which eventually becomes the individual’s ‘digital domain’ in adulthood.

‘Education technology — and more broadly, the culture of education — does a terrible job with this sort of portability and interoperability’.

In her article Watters recognises that much of current educational provision of a digital life is destroyed when a learner moves through their transitions. Local Authorities and schools are not in the digital archive business, one might argue. There is a fracture in a student’s e-life whenever their portfolios, web creations or learning records are deleted as they begin another part of their life journey.

Watters also has some interesting things to say about privacy and data ownership, despite an ever growing retention of learner data by big private, corporate players in education. The debate with the student is, she argues, often about appropriateness and fear of the web, not necessarily about their enduring creativity, or indeed what the student thinks of their own burgeoning intellectual property.

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See the Watters debate on domain ownership here…

Provocative and timely, we commend the Watters article to our readers.

See more here.

Beach image: Sue Martin FRSA

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference

Promoting ideas
– changing education

Welcome to our journal pages, The Tide.

Here you will be able to find news and updates about our progress as a project, along with announcements about new groups and communities of interest that we can inspire in the English regions.

teachinggroupIcon3-copy  You can also submit reviews, papers and articles for our journal page at any time.  We will publish with full attribution and circulate the details to our subscribers by email and Twitter, of course.

emailicon2 (copy)  Our editorial email address is office (at)

If you are interested in the debate about education, concerned about the direction of travel or just want to make a contribution to our movement – this is the page for you.

We are on a journey of discovery and change together, happy to have you along.

Turning the tide - making a difference
Turning the tide – making a difference