Secondary Education in America Excerpts From the Carnegie Foundation Report
Following are excerpts from High School: A Report on Secondary Education in America, a study by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The report was written by Ernest L. Boyer, the foundation's president. It is available for $15.00 from the foundation at 1785 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.
Today, the push for excellence in education is linked to economic recovery and to jobs. We're being told that better schools will move the nation forward in the hi-tech race. And, echoing the post-Sputnik era, we're being told that tougher math-science standards are required to keep the nation strong.
Clearly, education and the security of the nation are interlocked. National interest must be served. But where in all of this are students? Where is the recognition that education is to enrich the living individuals? Where is the love of learning and where is the commitment to achieve equality and opportunity for all?
In the great debate about public schools, equity must be seen not as a chapter of the past but as the unfinished agenda of the future. To expand access without upgrading schools is simply to perpetuate discrimination in a more subtle form. But to push for excellence in ways that ignore the needs of less privileged students is to undermine the future of the nation. Clearly, equity and excellence cannot be divided.
Our schools have adjusted successfully to a host of new demands. They now serve more students from different racial, cultural, and social backgrounds. They have responded to enrollment declines and budget cuts. Experimental programs, such as magnet schools, have been introduced, and public schools are now educating vast numbers of handicapped students who previously were locked out.
There remains, however, a large, even alarming gap between school achievement and the task to be accomplished. A deep erosion of confidence in our schools, coupled with disturbing evidence that at least some of the skepticism is justified, has made revitalizing the American high school an urgent matter. The world has changed--irrevocably so--and quality education in the 1980's and beyond means preparing all students for the transformed world the coming generation will inherit.
We do not suggest that schools can be society's cure for every social ill. A report card on public education is a report card on the nation. Schools can rise no higher than the communities that surround them. And to blame schools for the "rising tide of mediocrity" is to confuse symptoms with the disease.
Still, without good schools none of our problems can be solved. People who cannot communicate are powerless. People who know nothing of their past are culturally impoverished. People who cannot see beyond the confines of their own lives are ill-equipped to face the future. It is in the public school that this nation has chosen to pursue enlightened ends for all its people. And this is where the battle for the future of America will be won or lost.
How should America proceed?
High School:An Agenda for Action
After completing our visits to schools, reviewing the literature, and talking with colleagues both in and out of education, we have identified twelve themes that provide for us a framework for reform: goals, language, curriculum, transition, service, teachers, instruction, technology, flexibility, leadership, connections, and commitment. These themes, taken together, form an agenda for action.
I. CLARIFYING GOALS
A high school, to be effective, must have a clear and vital mission. Educators must have a shared vision of what, together, they are trying to accomplish. That vision should go beyond keeping students in school and out of trouble, and be more significant than adding up the Carnegie course units the student has completed. Specifically, we recommend:
Every high school should establish clearly stated goals--purposes that are widely shared by teachers, students, administrators, and parents.
School goals should focus on the mastery of language, on a core of common learning, on preparation for work and further education, and on community and civic service.
II. THE CENTRALITY
The next priority is language. Formal schooling has a special obligation to help all students become skilled in the written and oral use of English. Those who do not become proficient in the primary language of the culture are enormously disadvantaged in school and out of school as well. The following recommendations are proposed:
Elementary schools should build on the remarkable language skills a child already has acquired. In the early grades, students should learn to read and comprehend the main ideas in a written work, write standard English sentences, and present their ideas orally.
The English proficiency of all students should be formally assessed before they go to high school. A pre-high-school summer term and a freshman-year remediation program should be provided for students who are deficient in the use of English.
Clear writing leads to clear thinking; clear thinking is the basis of clear writing. Therefore, all high school students should complete a basic English course with emphasis on writing. Enrollment in such classes should be limited to 20 students, and no more than two such classes should be included in the teacher's regular load.
The high-school curriculum should also include a study of the spoken word. Speaking and listening are something more than the mere exchange of information. Communication at its best should lead to genuine understanding.
III. THE CURRICULUM HAS A CORE
A core of common learning is essential. The basic curriculum should be a study of those consequential ideas, experiences, and traditions common to all of us by virtue of our membership in the human family at a particular moment in history. The content of the core curriculum must extend beyond the specialties, and focus on more transcendent issues, moving from courses to coherence. The following are recommended:
The number of required courses in the core curriculum should be expanded from one-half to two-thirds of the total units required for high-school graduation.
In addition to strengthening the traditional courses in literature, history, mathematics, and science, emphasis should also be given to foreign language, the arts, civics, non-Western studies, technology, the meaning of work, and the importance of health.
Highlights of the Core Curriculum listed above are as follows:
Literature: All students, through a study of literature, should discover our common literary heritage and learn about the power and beauty of the written word.
History: United States history is required for graduation from every one of the high schools included in our study, and it is the one social-studies course uniformly required by most states. We favor a one-year United States history course that would build on the chronology of the emergence of America, including a study of the lives of a few influential leaders--artists, reformers, explorers (including minorities and women) who helped shape the nation.
Western Civilizaton: Beyond American history lies the long sweep of Western Civilization. We recommend that all students learn about the roots of our national heritage and traditions through a study of Western Civilization.
Non-Western Civilization: All students should discover the connectedness of the human experience and the richness of other cultures through an in-depth study of a non-Western nation. We suggest a one-semester required course in which students study, in considerable detail, a single non-Western nation.
Science and the Natural World: The study of science introduces students to the processes of discovery--what we call the scientific method--and reveals how such procedures can be applied to many disciplines and to their own lives. We suggest a two-year science sequence that would include basic courses in the biological and physical sciences.
Mathematics: In high school, all students should expand their capacity to think quantitatively and to make intelligent decisions regarding situations involving measurable quantities. Sepcifically, we believe that all high schools should require a two-year mathematics sequence for graduation and that additional courses be provided for students who are qualified to take them.
Foreign Language: All students should become familiar with the language of another culture. Such studies should ideally begin in elementary school and at least two years of foreign-language study should be required of all high-school students. By the year 2000, the United States could be home to the world's fifth largest population of persons of Hispanic origin. It does seem reasonable for all schools in the United States to offer Spanish.
The Arts: The arts are an essential part of the human experience. They are not a frill. We recommend that all students study the arts to discover how human beings use nonverbal symbols and communicate not only with words but through music, dance, and the visual arts.
Civics: A course in American government--traditionally called civics--should be required of all students, with focus on the traditions of democratic thought, the shaping of our own governmental structures, and political and social issues we confront today.
Technology: All students should study technology: the history of man's use of tools, how science and technology have been joined, and the ethical and social issues technology has raised.
Health: No knowledge is more crucial than knowledge about health. Without it, no other life goal can be successfully achieved. Therefore, all students should learn about the human body, how it changes over the life cycle, what nourishes it and diminishes it, and how a healthy body contributes to emotional well-being.
Work: The one-semester study of work we propose would ask how attitudes toward work have changed through the years. How do they differ from one culture to another? What determines the status and rewards todifferent forms of work? Such a curriculum might also include an in-depth investigation of one specific occupation.
All students, during their senior year, should complete a Senior Independent Project, a written report that focuses on a significant social issue and draws upon the various fields of study in the academic core.
IV. TRANSITION TO WORK
The high school should help all students move with confidence from school to work and further education. Today, we track students into programs for those who "think" and those who "work," when in fact, life for all of us is a blend of both. Looking to the year 2000 we conclude that, for most students, 12 years of schooling will be insufficient. Today's graduates will change jobs several times. New skills will be required, new citizenship obligations will be confronted. Of necessity, education will be lifelong. We recommend:
The school program should offer a single track for all students, one that includes a strong grounding in the basic tools of education and a study of the core curriculum. While the first two years would be devoted almost exclusively to the common core, a portion of this work would continue into the third or fourth year.
The last two years of high school should be considered a "transition school," a program in which about half the time is devoted to "elective clusters."
The "elective cluster" should be carefully designed. Such a program would include advanced study in selected academic subjects, the exploration of a career option, or a combination of both.
In order to offer a full range of elective clusters, the high school must become a connected institution. Upper-level speciality schools (in the arts or science or health or computers, for example) may be appropriate in some districts. High schools should also establish connections with learning places beyond the schools--such as libraries, museums, art galleries, colleges, and industrial laboratories.
There is also an urgent need to help students figure out what they should do after graduation. Therefore, we recommend:
Guidance services should be significantly expanded. No counselor should have a case load of more than one hundred students. Moreover, school districts should provide a referral service to community agencies for those students needing frequent and sustained professional assistance.
A new Student Achievement and Advisement Test (saat) should be developed, one that could eventually replace the sat The academic achievement portion of the test would link it to the core curriculum and to what the student has studied. The advisement section would assess personal characteristics and interests to help students make decisions more intelligently about their futures. The purpose is not to screen students out of options but to help them move on with confidence to colleges and to jobs.
The needs of the student for guidance are matched by the need of the school to be better informed about its graduates. To achieve this, the following is proposed:
The United States Department of Education--working through the states--should expand its national survey of schools to include a sampling of graduates from all high schools at four-year intervals to learn about their post-high school placement and experience. Such information should be made available to participating schools.
V. SERVICE: THE NEW
Beyond the formal academic program, the high school should help all students meet their social and civic obligations. During high school, young people should be given opportunities to reach beyond themselves and feel more responsibly engaged. They should be encouraged to participate in the communities of which they are a part. We recommend:
All high-school students should complete a service requirement--a new Carnegie unit--that would involve them in volunteer work in the community or at school. Students could fulfill this requirement evenings, weekends, and during the summer.
Students themselves should be given the responsibility to help organize and monitor the new service program and to work with school officials to assure that credit is appropriately assigned.
VI. TEACHERS: RENEWING
The working conditions of teachers must improve. Many people think teachers have soft, undemanding jobs. The reality is different. Teachers are expected to work miracles day after day and then get only silence from the students, pressure from the principal, and criticism from the irate parent. To improve the working conditions of the teachers, we propose the following:
High-school teachers should have a daily teaching load of four regular class sessions. In addition, they should be responsible one period each day for small seminars and for helping students with independent projects.
Teachers should have a minimum of sixty minutes each school day for class preparation. The current catch-as-catch-can "arrangement" is simply not good enough.
Teachers should be exempt from monitoring halls, lunchrooms, and recreation areas. School clerical staff and parent and student volunteers should assume such noninstructional duties.
A Teacher Excellence Fund should be established in every school--a competitive grant program to enable teachers to design and carry out a special professional project.
Good teachers should be given adequate recognition and rewards--from a student's "thank you," to cash awards, to active support from parents. Outstanding teachers also should be honored annually in every school district, and, statewide, by the governor and the legislature. Further, newspapers and other businesses in each community should adopt a teacher-recognition program with appropriate cash awards.
Teachers' salaries should be increased. When teachers' salaries are compared to other professionals, the contrast is depressing. For many teachers, moonlighting has become essential. Salaries for teachers must be commensurate with those of other professions, and with the tasks teachers must perform.
As a national goal, the average salary for teachers in public schools should be increased by at least 20 percent beyond the rate of inflation over the next three years.
Outstanding students should be recruited into teaching. We cannot have gifted teachers if gifted students do not enter the classrooms of the nation. When salaries and working conditions improve, prospects for recruiting talented young people will improve as well. We propose:
Every high school should establish a cadet teacher program in which high-school teachers identify gifted students and encourage them to become teachers. Such students should be given opportunities to present information to classmates, tutor other students who need special help, and meet with outstanding school and college teachers. Also, some districts may wish to establish a magnet school for prospective teachers.
Colleges and universities should establish full-tuition scholarships for the top 5 percent of their gifted students who plan to teach in public education. These scholarships would begin when students are admitted to the teacher-preparation program at the junior year.
The federal government should establish a National Teacher Service, especially for those who plan to teach in science and mathematics. This tuition scholarship program would be for students in the top one-third of their high-school graduating classes. Students admitted to the National Teacher Service would be expected to complete successfully an academic program and teach at least three years in the public schools.
The schooling of teachers must improve. There are serious problems with the education of our teachers. Many teacher-training programs are inadequate. The accreditation of schools of education is ineffective. The careful selection of teacher candidates is almost nonexistent, and college arts and science departments fail to recognize the critical role they play in teacher preparation. The following is proposed:
Prospective teachers should complete a core of common learning, one that parallels in broad outline the high-school core curriculum proposed in this report.
Every teacher candidate should be carefully selected. Formal admission to teacher training should occur at the junior year, the time when students begin a three-year teacher-preparation sequence. Only students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better and who have strong supportive recommendations from two professors who taught them in a required academic course should be admitted.
Once admitted to the program, the teacher candidate should devote the junior and senior years to the completion of a major, plus appropriate electives. Every secondary-school teacher should complete a sharply focused major in one academic discipline, not in education. During the junior and senior years, time also should be scheduled for prospective teachers systematically to visit schools.
After grounding in the core curriculum and a solid academic major, prospective teachers should have a fifth-year education core built around the following subjects: Schooling in America, Learning Theory and Research, The Teaching of Writing, and Technology and its uses.
The fifth year also should include classroom observation and teaching experience. This is the best way, we believe, to learn about students and to develop effective methods of instruction.
In addition, the fifth year of teacher preparation should include a series of six, one-day, common learning seminars in which students meet with outstanding arts and science scholar-teachers who would relate the knowledge of their fields to a contemporary political or social theme. Such seminars would help provide the interdisciplinary perspective every high-school teacher must acquire.
The continuing education of the teacher must be strengthened. We cannot expect a teacher trained 20 years ago to prepare students to live 40 years in the future with no policy of systematic continued education for the teacher. Even the most dedicated teacher will fall behind, and students will learn how to live, not in the future, but in the past. School boards must accept life-long learning as an essential condition for every teacher.
A two-week, Teacher Professional Development Term should be added to the school year, with appropriate compensation. This term for teachers would be a time for study, a period to improve instruction and to expand knowledge. The planning of such a term should be largely controlled by teachers at the school or district level.
Every school district should establish a Teacher Travel Fund to make it possible for teachers, based on competitive application, to travel occasionally to professional meetings to keep current in their fields.
Every five years, teachers should be eligible to receive a 12-month contract--with pay to match--to permit a Summer Study Term. To qualify and compete for this extended contract, each teacher would prepare a study plan. Such a plan would be subject to review and approval both by peers and by the school and district administrations.
A career path for teachers should be developed. Two of the most troublesome aspects of the teaching profession today are the lack of a career ladder and the leveling off of salaries. The irony is that to "get ahead" in teaching, you must leave it. Good teachers must be recognized and move forward within the profession, not outside it. Our proposals for restructuring the teaching career are these:
The credentialing of teachers should be separated from college preparation. To qualify for a credential, each candidate should submit letters of recommendation from members of the faculty in his or her academic major, from faculty in his or her education sequence, and from a teacher who has supervised his or her school internship.
Before being credentialed, the candidate would also pass a written examination administered by a Board of Examiners to be established in every state. The majority membership on such a board should be composed of senior classroom teachers.
After credentialing, a career path based on performance should be available to the teacher, moving from associate teacher to senior teacher.
With each professional advancement, salary increases should be provided. Such increases would be in addition to cost-of-living and merit pay earned within the ranks.
The evaluation of teacher performance should be largely controlled by other teachers who themselves have been judged to be outstanding in the classroom.
Skilled professionals should be recruited to teach part-time in the nation's classrooms. More flexible arrangements will be needed to permit highly qualified nonacademic professionals to teach. Such "teachers" could serve in those fields where shortages exist--such as math and science--and provide enrichment in other fields as well. We recommend that:
School districts should establish a lectureship program to permit qualified nonacademic professionals to teach on a part-time basis. Such teachers would devote most of their time to their regular jobs--in business or government or law or medicine--while also contributing significantly to education.
School districts should look to recently retired personnel--college professors, business leaders, and others--who, after a brief orientation, could teach part time in high-demand subjects.
School districts should enter into partnerships with business and industry to create joint appointments. In this way, two-member teacher teams could be created with one member of the team teaching in school for a year or two while the other works at a nonschool job. Then the cycle could be reversed.
In-and-out teaching terms should be established--permitting a professional to teach for one to three years, step out, and then return for another one- to three-year term.
A Part-Time Participant Credential should be created in every state to put in place the recommendations we propose.
VII. INSTRUCTION: A TIME
Much about good pedagogy is familiar. There remain, however, some old-fashioned yet enduring qualities in human relationships that still work: contagious enthusiasm, human sensitivity, optimism about the potential of the students. Improving instruction requires a variety of changes. We make the following recommendations:
Teachers should use a variety of teaching styles--including lecturing to transmit information, coaching to teach a skill and Socratic questioning to enlarge understanding. But there should be particular emphasis on the active participation of the student.
For classroom instruction to be effective, expectations should be high, standards clear, evaluation fair, and students should be held accountable for their work.
Textbooks seldom communicate to students the richness and excitement of original works. The classroom use of original source materials should be expanded.
States should ease their control over the selection of textbooks and transfer more authority to the district and local school. Teachers should have a far greater voice in selecting materials appropriate to their own subject areas.
VIII. TECHNOLOGY: EXTENDING
THE TEACHER'S REACH
Technology, particularly computers, can enrich instruction. But educators are confused about precisely what the new machines will do. The strategy seems to be: buy now, plan later. The absence of computer policy is itself a policy with major risks. A number of important steps should be taken to link computers to school objectives.
No school should buy computers, or any other expensive piece of hardware, until key questions have been asked--and answered. Why is this purchase being made? Is available software as good as the equipment? What educational objectives will be served? Which students will use the new equipment, when, and why?
In purchasing computers, schools should base their decisions not only on the quality of the equipment, but also on the quality of the instructional material available. School districts also should take into account the commitment of the computer company to work alone--or in collaboration with other companies--to develop instructional materials for schools.
Every computer firm selling hardware to the schools should establish a Special Instructional Materials Fund. Such a fund would be used to develop, in consultation with classroom teachers, high-quality, school-related software.
For technology to be used effectively, teachers must learn about the new equipment. Computer companies should provide technology seminars for teachers to keep them up-to-date on the uses of computers as a teaching tool.
A National Commission on Computer Instruction should be named by the Secretary of Education to evaluate the software now offered for school use and propose an ongoing evaluation procedure that would be available to the schools. Outstanding teachers should comprise an important segment of such a panel.
Federal funds should be used to establish ten Technology Resource Centers on university campuses--one in each major region of the nation. These centers would assemble, for demonstration, the latest technology. Computer firms would provide equipment, materials, and personnel to demonstrate what is available--and how it can be used.
Schools should relate computer resources to their educational objectives. Specifically, all students should learn about computers; learn with computers; and, as an ultimate goal, learn from computers. The first priority, however, should not be hands-on experience, but rather educating students about the social importance of technology of which the computer is a part.
Prospects for a technology revolution in education go far beyond computers. Through the use of television, films, video cassettes, the classroom can be enormously enriched. In this connection, we recommend:
School districts with access to a cable channel should use the facility for school instruction and a district-wide plan for such use should be developed.
All commercial television networks should set aside prime-time hours every week to air programs for education and thereby indirectly enrich the school curriculum.
A National Film Library should be established with federal support. This resource center would secure outstanding film and television programs, both commercial and public offerings, index and edit them, and make them available for school use.
IX. FLEXIBILITY: PATTERNS
TO FIT PURPOSE
Our next priority is flexibility. There are many different high schools in the United States with many different students. Greater flexibility in school size and the use of time will help schools achieve, more effectively, their educational objectives. The urgent need is not more time but better use of time. The following is proposed:
The class schedule should be more flexibly arranged to permit larger blocks of instructional time, especially in courses such as laboratory science, foreign language, and creative writing.
Small high schools should expand their education offerings by using off-campus sites or mobile classrooms or part-time professionals to provide a richer education for all students.
Large high schools, particularly those with over 2,000 students, should organize themselves into smaller units--"schools-within-schools"--to establish a more cohesive, more supportive social setting for all students.
Gifted and talented students represent a unique challenge if they are to realize their potential:
Every high school should develop special arrangements for gifted students--credit by examination, independent study, and special study with universities.
A network of Residential Academies in Science and Mathematics should be established across the nation. Some academies might be within a densely populated district. Others might serve an entire state. A residential school may serve several states. Academies might be located on college campuses. Such schools should receive federal support since clearly the vital interests of the nation are at stake.
Special arrangements are also needed for students at the other end of the education spectrum. Year after year, about one out of every four students who enroll in school drops out before graduation. This nation cannot afford to pay the price of wasted youth. We recommend:
Federally supported remedial programs--most of which have been concentrated in the early grades--have demonstrated that improvements can be made in the academic achievement of even the most disadvantaged child. Therefore, the federally funded Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Title I) should be fully funded to support all students who are eligible to participate in this effective program.
Every high-school district, working with a community college, should have a re-entry school arrangement to permit dropouts to return to school part time or full time or to engage in independent study to complete their education.
X. THE PRINCIPAL AS LEADER
What we seek are high schools in which the school community--students, teachers, and principals--sees learning as the primary goal. In such a community, the principal becomes not just the top authority but the key educator, too. Rebuilding excellence in education means reaffirming the importance of the local school and freeing leadership to lead. We make the following recommendations:
The principal should be well prepared. The basic preparation should follow that of teachers.
A principal should complete all requirements for licensing as a teacher and serve a year as an "administrative intern." At least two years as an assistant principal should be served before one could assume a full principalship.
Principals and staff at the local school should have more control over their own budgets, operating within guidelines set by the district office. Further, every principal should have a School Improvement Fund, discretionary money to provide time and materials for program development and for special seminars and staff retreats.
Principals should also have more control over the selection and rewarding of teachers. Acting in consultation with their staffs, they should be given responsibility for the final selection of teachers for their schools.
In order to give principals time to reflect upon their work and stay in touch with developments in education, a network of Academies for Principals should be established.
High schools do not carry on their work in isolation. They are connected to elementary and junior high schools and to higher education. In the end, the quality of the American high school will be shaped in large measure by the quality of these connections. School-college relationships can be improved in a variety of ways:
All states should establish a School-College Coordination Panel to define the recommended minimum academic requirements to smooth the transfer from school to public higher education.
Every high school in the nation should offer a "university in the school" program and a variety of other arrangements--credit by examination, early admission, and advanced placement--to permit able students to accelerate their academic programs.
Each college or university should form a comprehensive partnership with one or more secondary schools.
Schools need the help of industry and business and, business needs the schools. The quality of work is linked to the quality of education. The following school-business partnerships are proposed.
Business should provide help for disadvantaged students through volunteer tutorial and family counseling service, and support special school and part-time apprenticeship experience for high-risk students.
Businesses should provide enrichment programs for gifted students, especially those in science and mathematics, and for those in the new technologies.
Business should provide cash awards for outstanding teachers. In addition, they should consider establishing Endowed Chair Programs in the schools.
Corporate grants should provide sabbaticals to outstanding principals and a discretionary fund for principals to work with teachers on creative programs. Further, large corporations should donate the use of their training facilities for a week or two each year to house an Academy for Principals.
To help schools improve their physical plant and science laboratories, business should sponsor a facilities and equipment program. In addition, appropriate industries should conduct inventories of science laboratories and help upgrade school equipment.
THE PUBLIC COMMITMENT
Finally, school improvement is dependent on public commitment. How we as a nation regard our schools has a powerful impact on what occurs in them. Support for schools can take many forms, and it must come from many sources. Citizens, local school boards, state agencies and legislatures, and the federal government must work together to help bring excellence to our public schools. A number of steps are imperative:
Parent-Teacher-Student Advisory Councils should be established at all schools. Further, a Parent Volunteer Program should be organized to tutor students, provide teacher aides, and other administrative, counseling, and clerical support.
Parents should become actively involved in school-board elections, attend meetings, and be willing to serve as members of the board.
Boards of education should hold special meetings with representatives of each school in their districts--principals and teachers--at least once a year.
Community coalitions--Citizens for Public Schools--should be formed to give leadership in the advocacy of support for public education.
The states should recognize that their overriding responsibility to the schools is to establish general standards and to provide fiscal support. The state education law should be revised to eliminate confusing and inappropriate laws and regulations and to provide a broad framework for mandates for the schools.
To achieve excellence in education the federal government also must be a partner in the process. In this report, we propose that funding of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act be increased to support all eligible students. We call for a National Teacher's Service and a federally-funded network of Residential Academies in Science and Mathematics. We recommend that the federal government help create a National Film Library for schools and that a network of Technology Resource Centers be established with federal support to teach teachers about technology and its uses.
There is yet another urgent school need that calls for a national response. Many of our public schools have fallen into disrepair. Laboratory equipment is in poor shape. The situation is as alarming as the decay of our highways, dams, and bridges. Federal action is needed now to help meet an emergency in the schools. We propose:
A new School Building and Equipment fund should be established, a federal program that would provide short-term, low-interest loans to schools for plant rehabilitation and for the purchase of laboratory equipment.
No one reform can transform the schools. The single solution, the simple answer, may excite a momentary interest but the impact will not last.
In this report we have tried to think inclusively, and to search out interconnected solutions to the schools' interconnected problems. The result is something that is at once a yardstick to measure the need for reform and an agenda for action to bring about that reform.
Not every recommendation we present is appropriate for every school. Each institution will have its own agenda for renewal. What is important is that all high schools take steps to achieve excellence and that this effort be sustained.
We conclude this report on the high school with the conviction that the promise of public education can be fulfilled, that, as a nation, we will meet the challenge.