When Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) it touched off a new era full of new opportunities to improve schools and outcomes for kids. The combination of a near total lack of prescriptiveness about school turnaround in the new federal law, combined with unprecedented flexibility in how states deploy their Title dollars to do so, means things could look very different going forward. But as always, leaders will have to be smart, innovative and bold if it’s going to make a different for students, their families and their communities.
Michael Magee is the CEO of Chiefs for Change. Prior to working at Chiefs for Change, he co-founded and was CEO of the Rhode Island Mayoral Academies (RIMA), where he helped launch new networks of public schools including Blackstone Valley Prep and Achievement First — Rhode Island. Before starting RIMA, for a dozen years, Mike taught American literature and philosophy at Haverford College, Wheaton College, and the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2004, his book, Emancipating Pragmatism, won the Elizabeth Agee Prize in American Studies. In 2007, Mike went on hiatus from academia to help found and direct Mayor Daniel McKee’s Office of Children Youth and Learning in Rhode Island. In 2008, he and Mayor McKee founded RIMA. He is a 2013 Pahara Aspen Education Fellow and a Pahara Fellowship moderator. Mike holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English from the College of the Holy Cross.