It Takes a City: Getting Serious about Urban School Reform

January 2000

This volume is the second in a trilogy of books designed to describe the politics of reform in urban school systems and clarify reform options available to mayors and other community leaders who want to improve school performance dramatically.

It Takes a City develops lessons from the reform experiences in six American cities which have made concerted attempts to improve their public schools: Boston, Memphis, New York City District #2, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Seattle. Together these communities represent most of the major regions of the United States; they have also employed a variety of approaches to reform, and their experience should be instructive to leaders contemplating reform initiatives in other cities.

The book analyzes strengths and weaknesses of urban reform strategies, suggests how other city leaders might create reform strategies combining the most promising reform elements, and provides specific guidance to local leaders about how to design, implement, monitor, and assess new reform initiatives.

The other books in this series are Fixing Urban Schools (1998) and Making School Reform Work (2004).