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Ben Daley Has Learned Some Things about School Improvement

In this episode, Alec talks to Ben Daley, President of High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education. One of the Graduate School’s big projects is the CARPE College Access Network, which focused last year on raising FAFSA completion rates. FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – it’s the form you need to complete in order to get financial aid from the government.

In this episode, Ben explains how doing this FAFSA improvement project last year totally transformed how he thinks about school improvement.

You can listen to our other “FAFSA” episode, about how Calexico High School raised their FAFSA completion rates by 13 percentage points in one year here.

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Table of Contents

1:40 The three questions that define “Improvement with a capital I”

1:56 How improvement normally happens, and what’s missing (with an example from a classroom)

3:44 The CARPE College Access Network’s plan to raise FAFSA completion

4:41 The CARPE network’s four recommended FAFSA practices

7:31 “We tend to underestimate how much rich work goes into the implementation of an idea”

8:20 Ben’s take on whether “handholding” is a problem in the college application process

9:39 How Ben learned to stop worrying and love specific suggestions

10:42 There are SO much stuff to improve in our schools, so if someone has some ideas, that’s pretty compelling

11:56 A revolutionary idea: maybe not everyone does everything they plan to do

13:03 How the CARPE team actually collected data about what schools were doing

15:32 School Improvement Networks: a secret tool for influencing education policy


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