Joshua P. Starr

CEO PDK International

Former SPED teacher accountability guy & superintendent, husband, father of 3, committed to public ed for social justice

Bachelor’s degree in English and History from the University of Wisconsin- Master’s degree in special education from Brooklyn College- Doctorate in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Portfolio

Kappan Column

Culture, tweets, and change
When I was transitioning from being superintendent in Stamford, Conn., to being superintendent in Montgomery County, Md., I knew that while the title was the same, the jobs were...
Using Advanced Placement as a lever for social justice
Encouraging and allowing students to enroll in rigorous courses is a critical first step in providing more equity in high schools. The former school superintendent of Hartford,...
Lead with transparency and integrity
Being clear about who makes various decisions and enacting those decisions with integrity is key to effective leadership. One of the least understood aspects of school systems...
Values: Why do we believe what we believe?
Leaders must have language that drives their actions; that begins with identifying their personal core values and those of their district. What do we believe is important, why...
Teacher professionalism from the superintendent's perspective
School system leaders can't do everything, but they can do a lot to make teaching jobs more professional.  If you haven't yet read journalist Dana Goldstein's 2014 book The...
The paradox of standardized testing
Standardized achievement tests are deeply flawed, and test-based accountability has been terribly damaging to public education. Even so, such tests have their uses. At the...
Organizing for adaptive change management
If schools are going to adapt and improve in meaningful ways, then central office leaders must lead the way by being facilitators, funders, advisers, evaluators, and quality...
To lead for equity, learn how the system works
It's not enough to be passionate about social justice. School leaders can't make positive change unless they know how school systems really work. By Joshua P. Starr I recently...
Spending dollars to make a difference
Make a stronger case for greater resources by first doing a deep dive on how you're using resources already on hand. School superintendents rarely get fired for moving too...
The talent narrative
Leaders can change the narrative about teaching at-risk kids through their deliberate words and actions. To gauge a school system's commitment to social justice and equity, all...
Content is king
Every school and district express their values through the content that students learn; leaders shape that content through policies, contracts, and regulations. Change efforts...
Strategic thinking about change
Strategies must be ever evolving in service of the changes they're intended to support. A suburban district has seen its demographics change considerably over the past decade....

Articles

Counting attendance in school ratings could be smart - or completely misleading
As a superintendent, no part of my job was more important than visiting schools and seeing students, teachers, and leaders in action. Those visits kept me grounded, reminding me...
Betsy DeVos isn't listening to parents: Column
Education secretary is out of step with public views on vouchers and school spending. Betsy DeVos, our new secretary of Education, claims that she wants the federal government...
Taking SEAD To Scale: the Educator Perspective - The Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute's National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development is focused on helping our nation's schools support the holistic development of our young...
What Parents Think: Insights from New PDK/Gallup Poll | NAESP
School leaders should take comfort that poll respondents, especially public school parents, value the real work of improving teaching and learning.
Follow the data to frame new questions
This year’s PDK/Gallup Poll on the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools marks a shift in both the poll and PDK International.
Guest Post: A New Approach to Accountability
School districts across the country are in the middle of the very difficult work of revising and reshaping their curriculum to align with the Common Core State Standards.
AASA | The School Superintendents Association
Before Day 1 of his new superintendency, the author launched a systematic plan for listening to a wide array of perspectives while infusing a new spirit of community engagement.
A Testing Moratorium Is Necessary - Education Next
Meaningful assessment data reveal what students know and are able to do, and provide teachers with the information they need to track student progress and to identify and...
Schools need time to implement Common Core standards
The Common Core State Standards have been adopted by 45 states and the District as the foundation for what students in America's public schools need to know and be able to do.
Examining High-Stakes Testing - Education Next
WINTER 2014 / VOL. 14, NO. 1 More than 40 states plan to assess student performance with new tests tied to the Common Core State Standards. In summer 2013, results from Common...
Supporting the Growth of Effective Professional Learning Communities Districtwide
Teachers do not magically know how to work with colleagues; districts must support and lead that work if PLCs are to live up to their potential.

Books

Teaching in Context: The Social Side of Education Reform
Chapter 8: Organizing Adult Learning for Adaptive Change (Harvard Education Press, 2017) provides new evidence from a range of leading scholars showing that teachers become more...

Blogs and Interviews

Kids, Grades, and Becoming a Functional Member of Society
This is the seventy-ninth episode of Public Interest Podcast with Josh Starr, former Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent, who speaks about the importance of caring...
Theories Must Be Put to the Test
Back in the early 2000s, I worked for Joel Klein in New York City schools for two years, one of which was as director of School Performance and Accountability in the...

All Copyrights Belong To Their Respective Owners