He is currently studying schools where students "learn differently": those unconventional settings that may hold the key to organizing the emerging institution of public education. Reports about this new learning system, which he calls Learning 2.0, can be found on his web site www.mindworkers.com.
For the past three years he has written the 'On California' column at EdWeek.org. He concluded this work in June 2017 and is now experimenting with a strange concept called retirement. He has failed at this before, but he hopes that his remedial efforts will be successful.
In 2008, he and his colleagues completed a four-year study of education reform of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest public school district and other large city systems. The results of that research can be found in The Transformation of Great American School Districts and in Learning from L.A.: Institutional Change in American Public Education, both books published by Harvard Education Press.For more than 30 years, he has studied the implications of teacher unionization for teachers, administrators, and public education. Along with Julia Koppich and Joseph Weeres he wrote United Mind Workers: Unions and Teaching in the Knowledge Society. Most recently he has advocated nogotiating student achievement goals, in the American Journal of Education and using charter school charters as a vehicle for employee engagement and self-representation, in The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
Before coming to Claremont in 1976, Kerchner was on the faculty at Northwestern University, where he received his Ph.D, was on the chancellor's staff at City Colleges of Chicago, and was a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education staff. Prior to his work in education, he was a journalist, and for seven years was a journalist on the staff of the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times in a number of editorial and managerial positions. In addition to his doctorate, he holds a BS and MBA from the University of Illinois, Urbana.
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