Making School Reform Work: New Partnerships for Real Change

October 2004

Edited by James Harvey and Paul T. Hill, this book identifies roles for foundations and civic groups in defining strategies for big-city school reform, and ensuring that promised changes are implemented.

According to the contributors, the current system of public education governance prevents creation of reform strategies that are bold enough to transform a troubled school system, and is unable to sustain any consistent line of action long enough for it to work. The governance system also leaves critical issues to chance, such as the freedom of schools to select staff, make strategic use of funds, and allocate time.

The contributors assert that non-governmental institutions can remedy these deficiencies, formulating bold strategies and making sure they are implemented. To accomplish these ends, the authors suggest the establishment of several independent institutions to support the reform of big-city schools.

The book is divided into two parts. The first introduces the idea of the independent institutions and offers suggestions for how they could be established. The second examines several possibilities: incubators for starting new schools and transforming existing ones; public-private partnerships for recruitment, training, and career development of school leaders; new arrangements for the ownership and allocation of instructional space; and a specialized organization for data gathering and analysis.

Contributors include Abigail Schumwinger (Milwaukee consultant), Sarah Brooks (Carleton College), and Michael DeArmond and Marguerite Roza of CRPE.

This is the third and final book in a series on big city school reform initiated by the Brookings Institution. The other books are Fixing Urban Schools (1998) and It Takes a City (2000).