How Schools Change: Lessons from Three Communities

Overview

The first edition of How Schools Change chronicled the efforts of three very different high schools to improve teaching and learning in the early 1990's. Now, in a new second edition, Wagner concisely summarizes the decade-long history of education reform efforts and revisits the three communities at the beginning of a new century.

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Overview

The first edition of How Schools Change chronicled the efforts of three very different high schools to improve teaching and learning in the early 1990's. Now, in a new second edition, Wagner concisely summarizes the decade-long history of education reform efforts and revisits the three communities at the beginning of a new century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This study of the ninth grade in three Boston-area high schools--two public, one private--presents an objective, behind-the-scenes view of the process of educational change. Much has been written about the need for reform of American pedogogy and one of the more creative, and apparently successful, programs is the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES), a construct of Brown University educational specialist Theodore Sizer. To the extent that each school integrated CES philosophy--clear academic goals, core values shared by an involved community and collaboration among teachers, students, parents and others--the systemic change is achieving noticeable results in varying degrees. The most promising seems to be the private school for a host of reasons, especially because it is small and autonomous. Wagner's compelling appraisal of dedicated educators at work delivers a strong message. The author is an assistant professor of education at the University of New Hampshire. (Aug.)
Library Journal
The mythical American high school in Theodore Sizer's Horace's School: Redesigning the American High School (LJ 1/92) has real-life counterparts in the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). Wagner presents a case study of three school communities. One, Brimmer and May, is a CES school in which Wagner's basic principles for change-setting clear academic goals, fostering core values, and facilitating collaboration among students and teachers-are vigorously and successfully pursued. Brimmer and May, though, is an upper-class private school with small classes and fewer bureaucratic burdens than larger public schools. Wagner's arguments for how this experiment can be transferred to large urban public schools are not so convincing. Still, the book functions well as a socioanthropological study of specific educational environments. A good addition to large education collections.-Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., New York
Booknews
A behind-the-scenes look at three high schools that are trying to create learning communities that prepare their students for the 21st century: Hull Junior-Senior High School, a primarily white public school in a recession-battered community; Cambridge Rindge and Latin, a multi-ethnic, urban public school; and Brimmer and May, a private school in a wealthy suburb. Wagner concludes with an analysis of the necessary components of successful school reform. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Brian McCombie
In spite of the many pronouncements that America's schools are in decline and danger, heightened by the federal government's 1993 report, "A Nation at Risk", little seems to have changed. Yet, instead of further detailing the bad news, Wagner has studied three schools that are involved in systemic reforms in the way they educate children. Through these examples of successful education, Wagner argues for a system with clear academic goals . . . explicitly articulated core values . . . [and] collaboration among several key constituencies. This sounds obvious, but Wagner shows that such ideas are quite radical, because our schools seem to be stuck in a kind of educational entropy in which the very structures that have led to many of our problems are held to all the more dearly as they come under fire. Enlightening, and radical, in the most progressive sense of the word.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807031087
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Wagner is Co-Director of the recently created Change Leadership Group at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He also chairs the Harvard Seminar on Public Engagement and consults to numerous school districts and foundations, in the United States and internationally. He is currently senior consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to assuming his current position at Harvard, Tony was a classroom teacher for twelve years, a school principal, a project director for the Public Agenda Foundation, a university professor in teacher education.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction to the Second Edition
Introduction: A Nation at Risk 1
1 The Hull Junior-Senior High School 15
2 The Academy at Cambridge Rindge and Latin 81
3 The Brimmer and May School 171
4 Some Lessons Learned 233
5 Reflections at the Dawn of the Millenium 271
Notes 311
Bibliography 321
Index 325
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