Redesigning Schools: Lessons for the 21st Century

Overview

What would it take to educate all children to use their minds well? In this unique book, Joseph P. McDonald provides us with a comprehensive view of the issues that lie at the heart of serious school reform—laying out the attitudes, concepts, and tools needed to redesign American education for the coming century.For five years, McDonald charted the progress of ten schools in the Coalition of Essential Schools as they immersed themselves in the hard work of school reform. He also visited many other schools, both ...

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Overview

What would it take to educate all children to use their minds well? In this unique book, Joseph P. McDonald provides us with a comprehensive view of the issues that lie at the heart of serious school reform—laying out the attitudes, concepts, and tools needed to redesign American education for the coming century.For five years, McDonald charted the progress of ten schools in the Coalition of Essential Schools as they immersed themselves in the hard work of school reform. He also visited many other schools, both elementary and secondary, in an attempt to understand serious school reform and its prospects. He concludes that school reform requires redesign in three critical areas. The first is a shift in the ordinary and often tacit beliefs of the people who work in schools, the communities that support them, and even the children who attAnd them. The second area, which McDonald dubs the "wiring arena," involves internal communication and power arrangements. The third area, called "tuning," involves connecting the school to the needs, interests and values of the communities it serves.By describing the efforts of real schools in real places and by recognizing that no two schools occupy the same position on the educational landscape, McDonald has assembled an invaluable guide for tackling the challenge of improving schools.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
?Redesigning School provides new fundamental insights into how torethink school reform. It manages to stay very close to students,teachers, and schools, while at the same time linking schoolredesign to national efforts and broad-based accountability.Traveling effortlessly back and forth from the big to the smallpicture is no small feat. The concepts of 'rewiring,' 'tuning,' and 'lateral accountability' are new and powerful analytic tools withimmense practical value. One no longer needs to choose between casestudies and macro reform. It's all here in one book.? —MichaelFullan, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University ofToronto

• This very probing analysis exposes deep-seated barriers to allschool reform and makes powerful and challenging suggestions forovercoming the problems. It is a very important contribution, and amust read for all concerned about schooling in America.? —James P.Comer, M.D., Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, anddirector, School Development Program, Yale University Child StudyCenter

'A bracing tonic of well-grounded observations, rich andprovocative metaphors, and wise and candid reflections.? —HowardGardner, Harvard Graduate School of Education

'An honest, analytical and reflective commentary on how schools areand, more importantly, how they could be. McDonald's penetratinginsights combine candor and realism with ethics and idealism. Withrespect for the hard work it will take, Redesigning School inspiresus to aspire to more.? —Adam Urbanski, president, RochesterTeachers Association

• This book patiently and persuasively asks us to rethink before we're design' schools, to question many of our deeply ingrainedbeliefs about learning and schooling, and to move beyond thosewhich no longer meet the test of common sense. It mercifully givesus no ready-to-implement school reform blueprint but rather thenecessary design of how to think well about learning and teachingand schooling.? —Theodore R. Sizer, chairman, Coalition ofEssential Schools, university professor emeritus, BrownUniversity

"This is a book that is both encouraging and discomforting. It isencouraging because it offers attainable strategies for change. Yetis also discomforting in pointing out that we are often our ownworst enemies, engaging in internecine battles and refusing to stepback and look at ourselves. Redesigning School should be read byall who are not satisfied with the status quo in education."—Teachers College Record

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787903213
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/22/1996
  • Series: Education Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.47 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

LARRY MCDONALD is a former teacher and principal. He is currently director of research at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: New Schools for a New Century
Part One: Believing
1. A New Belief System
2. Leading with Belief
Part Two: Wiring
3. Wiring Fundamentals
4. Rewiring a School
Part Three: Tuning
5. Tuning Challenges
6. A Tuning Protocol
Conclusion: Scaling Up by Scaling Down

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