Horace's School: Redesigning the American High School

Overview

Since the late 1970s, Theodore Sizer has studied and worked among hundreds of American high schools. His research was first published in 1984 in HORACE'S COMPROMISE. Sizer now proposes a process of redesign which respects the best of the rich traditions of secondary schooling while doing far more to educate our youth.

Since he first raised the call to arms for school reform in 1984 with the bestselling Horace's Compromise, the scope of Sizer's work has grown ...

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Horace's School: Redesigning the American High School

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Overview

Since the late 1970s, Theodore Sizer has studied and worked among hundreds of American high schools. His research was first published in 1984 in HORACE'S COMPROMISE. Sizer now proposes a process of redesign which respects the best of the rich traditions of secondary schooling while doing far more to educate our youth.

Since he first raised the call to arms for school reform in 1984 with the bestselling Horace's Compromise, the scope of Sizer's work has grown dramatically. "Sizer re-examines the assumptions that govern school routines and offers a transforming vision that would allow high schools to 'model the thoughtful life' and raise their standards of accomplishment."--New York Times Book Review.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Sizer is without question one of the most interesting current thinkers on educational reform. His Horace's Compromise LJ 2/15/84, a landmark study of 80 high schools nationwide, stimulated considerable debate. The fictional character Horace Smith, a dedicated English teacher in the also fictional but typical American high school, is now a chair of a Committee on Redesign of his school, allowing Sizer to put his themes into concrete form. His is a grassroots reform proposal that ``all education is local.'' Sizer emphasizes minimum testing, maximizing student work into individual exhibitions and portfolios, and expecting lots of hard work and commitment from all parties. He rejects the ``shopping mall'' approach to schools, instead proposing that students concentrate on an in-depth study of a few themes rather than attempting passively to absorb the whole gamut of the so-called comprehensive education. Humanistic, rational, and very appealing, this is one of the best educational reform books yet to have appeared. Recommended for all libraries.-- Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., Jamaica, N.Y.
Kirkus Reviews
A portrait of what an ideal American high school might be like, as envisioned by respected educator Sizer (Education/Brown Univ.). Sizer's earlier Horace's Compromise (1984) was based on intimate knowledge of US high schools. It followed the painful struggle of a fictional teacher, Horace Smith, to work within the restrictions imposed by the system—large classes, dated curricula, bureaucratic halls of mirrors—and still educate his adolescent students. Horace is here again, still a teacher but now also chairman of a committee formed not merely to reorganize but to re- create his high school. The committee includes teachers, students, parents, a school-board member, and, as influential observers, the principal and a consultant wise in the ways of the politics of education. Sizer details in lively fashion the struggles of the group to reform a system that more and more resembles an old- fashioned assembly line. The reform derives from the principles of Sizer's real-life and influential Coalition of Essential Schools. The Coalition's proponents seek to refocus the efforts of education on the student rather than on the system, and to redefine the ends of education before adjusting the means. One controversial innovation: evaluate students through "Exhibitions"—i.e., independent but far-reaching projects—rather than standard tests. Sizer is not sanguine about the prospects for change, but he sees hope in the pressure that is being put on schools from an evolving culture and technology. A guide, not a blueprint, this is must reading for those who want to be reminded what education should be about.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395755341
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,555,942
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Theordore R. Sizer, University Professor Emeritus at Brown Universtiy, is the chairman of the coalition of Essential Schools. He lives in Harvard, Massachusetts.

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