Lessons from Three Communities Revisited

How Schools Change: Lessons from Three Communities Revisited is a highly readable acount of three high schools and their communities in the process of fundamental change. It is widely considered an education classic. In the new second edition, Tony revisits the three schools he first studied to find out what has happened in the intervening years and takes a close look at how rapid changes in the policy environment has impacted these schools and their leaders.

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. The book—with its down-to-earth descriptions of the struggles of real teachers, parents, and students and insights into the change process—is widely considered a modern educational classic. 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. His analysis of the impact of school choice and high stakes tests on these three schools reveals both significant benefits and serious weaknesses in this policy approach. Wagner’s call for a different strategy—one more focused on improving both the conditions of teaching and the capacities of teachers—is grounded in a deep understanding of the school change process and what communities must do to improve learning for all students.

From Publishers 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.

Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

ISBN13: 9780415927635 / ISBN10: 0415927633 / 320 pg. / Second Edition / 2000 / Routledge

 

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