The most important initiatives have been Whole-School + Standards-Based reform, including No Child Left Behind
The popularity of comprehensive reform resulted in part from the perception that reform initiatives which addressed only a particular grade or a particular subject matter or particular students seldom lead to sustained change
In the 1990s the whole-school reform movement generated new models as quickly as Baskin-Robbins produced new flavors. By the end of the decade there were at least 40 models nationally
A significant body of evidence points to the effects of whole-school models
An authoritative study by Borman at al. (2002) reanalyzed 232 studies of 29 comprehensive school reform (CSR) programs and found that the overall effects are “statistically significant, meaningful and appear to be greater than the effects of other interventions that have been designed to serve similar purposes.”
The data also suggested that the best rewards come to those who wait.*
Analysis of Failure of Standards-Based Movement
The usual environmental turbulence – changes in top leadership, shifts in state policy.
Difficulties creating appropriate assessments.
Providing support for improved teaching which meant major shifts in budgets and staffing.
All of the above problems were complicated by the hard rock of teacher belief.
Promoting teaching practices designed to help all students reach ambitious standards runs counter to widely shared beliefs about the nature of learning and about the abilities of many students, especially poor and minority students.
Leadership’s lack of deep understanding of particular innovations
Instability of key personnel
Interference / lack of support from district offices
Lack of program coherence
Absence of follow-through
Are the Children or the Adults Unable to Learn?
The list of impediments to implementation from the last two slides is embarrassingly similar to the 1978 Bergman and McLaughlin findings about factors determining the success of educational innovations
After more that a quarter century later, their examination of nearly 300 federally funded educational innovations stands up very well against contemporary experience
The BIG MAGIC isn’t in the programs themselves so much as in the thinking and understanding of the people who implement them, in the approach they take, in the values they hold dear .
When Jerome Smith a hero of the Civil Rights movement, a longtime community activist and educator was asked what he thought of the plan of making New Orleans an all-charter-school city his response was, “ Depends on the hearts of the people running it.”