“Demand” is what students, families, communities, educators, and employers want and need to solve important real-world problems and/or experience real-world aspirations.
When we focus on the demand for educational services, we must consider the conditions under which recipients of these services articulate their design, production, delivery, experiential, and outcome preferences.
Legacy and structural power dynamics – including patterns of districting, housing, voting, and affluence – may preclude true power sharing unless it is formalized by design in the governing charter of the school, incentivized, and held to accountability standards.
Although some leaders and systems provide this shared design and decision authority, it won’t occur at scale unless large numbers of students and families demand it through social and political activation and until educators are prepared for it (i.e., prepared to share power) through quality educator preparation pathways and programs.
While shared leadership increases the likelihood of alignment between the demands of educators and the demands of the community, it does not guarantee such alignment. The interests of educators and students/families may diverge, and the task of shared leadership is then to find dynamic solutions that advance the work of education while continuing the dialogue to increase understanding of divergent perspectives.
Accreditation aligned to demand-based design and delivery models can serve as an ongoing periodic prompt for schools to calibrate and demonstrate fidelity to the adopted design and delivery principles.
Upon successful accreditation, schools can communicate this designation to students, families, employers, colleges, etc. to promote “brand” awareness.
Research partners can study and determine the value-add contribution of particular school models, with funding from the philanthropic, employer, government, and local communities who will benefit from and have an interest in the continued implementation of demand-based and proven models.