Reinventing Education: Entrepreneurship in Today's Public Schools

Reinventing Education: Entrepreneurship in Today's Public Schools

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by Louis V. Gerstner, Denis P. Doyle, William B. Johnston, Roger D. Semerad
     
 

American public education is in crisis. Test scores are dropping. Functional illiteracy in English and mathematics is growing. With a work force lacking high-tech skills, American business and industry are losing the battle for the global marketplace, while on the domestic front, the nation is being split in two between the educated "haves" and the uneducated… See more details below

Overview

American public education is in crisis. Test scores are dropping. Functional illiteracy in English and mathematics is growing. With a work force lacking high-tech skills, American business and industry are losing the battle for the global marketplace, while on the domestic front, the nation is being split in two between the educated "haves" and the uneducated "have-nots." What is news - exciting, inspiring news - is that something can be done about it. And is being done about it. Next Century Schools, a program launched by the RJR Nabisco Foundation to fund bold ideas for fundamental change, is an impressive example of education entrepreneurship. Since 1990, the Foundation has committed $30 million to forty-three schools across the country. The result has been dramatic innovations and striking departures from "business as usual" that have transformed these schools. This landmark book describes what has been accomplished and charts a reform strategy for the future for our nation's public schools as a whole. Entrepreneurship in schools means bypassing elephantine bureaucracies to focus on the place where the educational product is actually delivered: the school. In Boston a school offers evening classes to students who have to work days: one in Georgia intimately involves parents in their children's classwork: in the Bronx a dedicated principal has to keep his innovations a secret from the central board of education. We see how schools can make themselves part of the computer revolution, how they can free themselves of the tyranny of the traditional school year, how educators can be held responsible for their failures and be properly rewarded for their successes. Above all, we see proof positive of how hope can be born where none now seems to exist, how learning can take place where there is now an educational wasteland, how the children who are our nation's future can gain the tools that make that future strong and bright. Reinventing Education pulls no punches;

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the Next Century Schools Program, originated by the RJR Nabisco Foundation in the 1980s when Gerstner was CEO of RJR, corporations and schools collaborate to produce excellence in education, thereby serving their mutual needs. In telling the experiences of 43 schools across the country--in Oregon, Texas, California, Maine, etc.--that have received grants totaling $30 million from the program, Gerstner, now chairman of IBM, and his colleagues, specialists in education research, describe resourceful teachers, principals and parents who believe they can ``overcome the stifling culture of the education bureaucracy and create new learning environments which will produce more qualified students.'' That public schools can be reformed by personal leadership and goal-setting is the thrust of this report that admits a few failures. While technology plays a big role in many reform strategies covered in these pages, the design of this major education program also offers a wide variety of initiatives, such as lengthened school days, double periods and seminars on literature and staffs trained in ``total quality management'' (TQM). (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This is yet another book lamenting the dismal state of American education and offering a panacea for reform. This time, the focus is on the Next Century Schools Program, a project originally sponsored by the RJR Nabisco Foundation as a way for business to help education. Through the project, some 60 public schools nationwide have received grants to experiment with innovative ideas and new technology, and the successes are reported here. The authors, all business leaders and sponsors of the project, are steadfast believers in the competitive marketing system for education: ``what works for business works for schools.'' They assert that entrepreneurship, teacher empowerment, technology, and marketing principles with simple organizational ideas can revitalize schools. The ideas are not uninteresting, but the book reads like a marketing textbook replete with the familiar buzzwords and gimmicks. For popular education collections.-- Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ . Lib., Jamaica, N.Y.
Mary Carroll
In addition to describing the RJR Nabisco Foundation's Next Century Schools program, this account presents the essence of the corporate vision of reform in U.S. public education, which is in keeping with the authors' backgrounds. Gerstner headed RJR Nabisco before he moved, with much fanfare, to IBM in 1993; Roger Semerad heads the Foundation; Dennis Doyle has moved back and forth between the federal education bureaucracy and conservative think-tanks; and William Johnston, another think-tank veteran, is a senior public relations executive. Their guiding principle is that the "techniques and disciplines of business have much to offer in the field of education." All of the popular business jargon is here: entrepreneurship and choice, benchmarking and attention to the customer, the magic of the marketplace and the challenge of change. There are plenty of success stories here, too, and "assignments" for each segment of society, on both sides of the schoolhouse door. The experiments the authors describe certainly offer valuable lessons; even those who doubt the authors' assumptions about education will want to understand the nature and consequences of their diagnosis of and prescriptions for the tragic inadequacies of American public schools

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525937494
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
04/28/1994
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.29(w) x 9.31(h) x 1.29(d)

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