Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Positions on School Reform IV

Note: A review of published positions on school reform: a speech from Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan; Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System; Frederick Hess’s The Same Thing Over and Over; Charles Payne’s So Much Reform, So Little Change; Anthony Byrk ad others’ Organizing School for Improvement; and Valerie Kinloch’s Harlem On Our Minds. I will review each position in several consecutive blogs. RayS.

Quote: “Charles Payne is the Frank P. Hixon professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and an affiliate of its Urban Education Institute. Although he admires much about American schools, he focuses his consideration of school reform within the lowest tier of urban high schools. He does not mince words about the current state of that subject.”

Quote: “We have said that the problems of urban schools are multidimensional, intertwined, irrational, and overdetermined. The worst schools suffer from deeply rooted cultures of failure and distrust, are politically conflicted, personality driven, and racially tense; have difficulty learning from their own experience or that of others; have difficulty communicating internally; have difficulty following through even when they achieve consensus about what to do; tend to retreat from success even when it is within reach; have shallow pools of relevant professional skills, weak professional cultures, unstable staffs, and exist in a larger institutional environment that is itself unstable and unhelpful, at best and ordinarily, dysfunctional and corrupt.” From: So Much Reform, So Little Change.

Comment: I think it helps to state clearly the problems. However, what we need is resolution of those problems. It’s awfully easy to criticize and to do it eloquently. RayS.

Title: “School Reform in the United States: Frames and Representations.” Books and Statements reviewed by Patrick Shannon. Reading Research Quarterly (January/February/ March 2012), 109-118.

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