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ON THE BOOKSHELVES: EDUCATIONAL REFORM, SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT AND LESSONS ON IMPLEMENTATION

New Title I Report: Lessons from the Past and Challenges for the Future

In a new report, Implementing Title I Standards, Assessments and Accountability: Lessons from the Past, Challenges for the Future, Michael Cohen uses the experience of implementing the requirements of the previous reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act from 1994 to “shed light on the challenges and opportunities and choices facing federal and state officials” in implementing the No Child Left Behind Act. The lessons are as follows:

  • Federal legislation pushes all the states forward-even if they don’t comply with the letter of the law
  • If it can’t be done, it won’t be done
  • If we don’t know how to do it well, it will probably be done poorly, if at all
  • Each state marches to the beat of its own drummer-and sometimes, more than one drummer
  • No one believes that the Education Department will really enforce Title I requirements
  • States are and must remain the “laboratories of American democracy”
  • A balance of flexibility and focused enforcement can work

Cohen concludes that while state compliance with the new Title I standards, assessments and accountability requirements is possible, simply following the lessons from the past will not be enough, substantial investments must be made at the federal, state and local levels. Finally, he calls for more investments to give students the opportunities to learn, “including smaller classes, modern buildings and 21st century technology, and extended learning opportunities through afterschool and summer programs.”

Download a copy of this report

Obstacles to Success in Educational Reform

According to a new study by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), current efforts to reform elementary and secondary education need to go far beyond federal law, standards and accountability. Facing the Hard Facts in Educational Reform identifies key factors that influence educational achievement that are often overlooked during education reform. Its author, Paul Barton, identifies increased tardiness, absenteeism, drug use and verbal abuse of teachers by students and lack of effective use of computers in the classroom as some of several obstacles that impede successful educational reform.

Download a copy of Facing the Hard Facts in Educational Reform

New Model for Implementing and Sustaining School Improvement

Achieving World Class Schools: Mastering School Improvement Using a Genetic Model, offers anyone who is serious about school improvement a model to help school districts implement and sustain concepts and practices that affect ongoing school improvement. The book looks at six core areas, which it calls “chromosomes,” that define a district’s capacity to implement school improvement and enhance the teaching-learning process. These chromosomes are: leadership, change, professional development, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Perhaps taking their cue from the No Child Left Behind Act, the book’s authors, Paul Kimmelman and David Kroeze, encourage readers to use high quality research and data analysis for school improvement. They then provide a working model that school improvement committees can use to develop a plan to organize their efforts. Finally, guest experts offer national and international perspectives on school improvement efforts currently underway in brief, focused essays.

More information on the book

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