Showing the Way: Selected Projects
A number of national organizations are now engaged in "restructuring" projects. A sample of their work is listed below:
American Federation of Teachers. Center for Restructuring. The center was created this summer to "critically examine the assumptions upon which traditional schools have been based" and to assist aft locals engaged in reform initiatives. The center publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, Radius, that highlights programs, research, and activities related to school restructuring. Contact: Bruce Goldberg or Marcia Levine, aft, 555 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001; (202) 879-4559 and (202) 879-4461, respectively.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Consortium on Restructuring. Eighteen schools will be selected to participate in this new consortium based on their commitment to restructure their governance, organization, and curriculum. Participating schools will help develop, implement, and evaluate a school-based restructuring plan. Contact: Gary Maxwell, ascd Field Services, 125 N. West St., Alexandria, Va. 22314; (703) 549-9110.
Coalition of Essential Schools. A collaborative effort among 56 secondary schools trying to redesign the way they operate has been formed, based on a set of nine shared assumptions about teaching and learning developed by Theodore R. Sizer. These include the notion of "student as worker," rather than passive recipient of knowledge, and the idea that "less is more," or that students should learn fewer subjects well. The coalition publishes a newsletter, Horace, that describes issues and activities central to its work. Contact: Coalition of Essential Schools, Brown University, Education Department, Box 1938, Providence, R.I. 02912; (401) 863-3384.
Education Commission of the States. Re:Learning. A new collaboration among participating states, ecs, and the Coalition of Essential Schools, Re:Learning is intended to improve student learning by redesigning a state's education system "from the school house to the state house.'' To date, five states have agreed to participate in the endeavor--Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, New Mexico, and Rhode Island--and it is expected that others will join them. Contact: Beverly Anderson, Education Commission of the States, 1860 Lincoln St., Suite 300, Denver, Colo. 80295; (303) 830-3631.
Holmes Group. Tomorrow's Schools. This report, due out in September 1989, will focus on ideas for redesigning the schools to improve student learning and the preparation of educators. Six seminars between school and university practitioners nationwide will be held over the coming year to generate a new vision of teaching and learning, with a particular emphasis on the use of schools as sites for clinical preparation and study. The work is supported by a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. Contact: Richard Elmore and Lauren Young, co-directors of the Tomorrow's Schools project, 501 Erickson Hall, College of Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. 48824; (517) 353-3874.
National Association of State Boards of Education. A school-improvement project in the school districts of Santa Fe, Tatum, and Zuni, N.M., is examining the impact of state policy at the school level to determine whether state policies are helping or hindering restructuring efforts. The association is also working with the Seattle Public Schools to alter the way its middle schools are structured. Contact: Tim Callahan or Candace Sullivan, National Association of State Boards of Education, 1012 Cameron Street, Alexandria, Va. 22314; (703) 684-4000.
National Education Association. Mastery in Learning Project. This program involves 26 schools nationwide that are trying to use research findings to improve teaching and learning and "restructure" the schools. The project publishes a newsletter, Doubts & Certainties, that examines issues related to restructuring. With the support of the International Business Machines Corporation, it also has launched a computer network that links educators in 54 schools, universities, and research centers across the country. Contact: Robert McClure, project director, nea Mastery in Learning Project, The nea Center, 1201 16th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-3290; (202) 822-7907.
Learning Laboratory Districts. This new nea initiative would identify one district in each state that would be free pursue innovations in how schools are structured, based on the cooperative efforts of union officials, teachers, school administrators, school-board members, parents, and others. The union is now working to develop criteria for the program, and to identify interested school districts through its state affiliates. The nea has committed $400,000 to the project in its first year; much of that will be used to provide technical assistance and consultation to the districts. Contact: Barbara Jean Yentzer, project director, same address as above, or the state nea affiliate; (202) 822-7015.
National Governors' Association. Restructuring Schools Project. Created in 1987, this project assists states in redesigning their school systems, based on recommendations in the nga report, Time for Results: The Governors' 1991 Report on Education, and in the Carnegie Task Force report, A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded more than $1.5 million to the project during the past two years, much of which is used to provide matching grants to states for initiatives in such areas are rethinking the roles of teachers and administrators, redesigning state accountability systems, and finding ways for states to encourage school innovation. Contact: Michael Cohen or Dean Honetschlager, the nga, 444 North Capitol St., Washington, D.C. 20001-1572; (202) 624-5300.
Copies of a new booklet by Mr. Cohen, "Restructuring the Education System: Agenda for the 1990s," are also available for $7.50 each from the above address, attention: Publications, Suite 250.
National Network for Educational Renewal. Founded by John I. Goodlad, professor of education at the University of Washington, the network is designed to bring into close collaboration a number of school-university partnerships that are working to improve both the schools and the training of educators. To date, 17 universities have entered into long-term agreements with surrounding school districts to address such deeply rooted educational problems as student tracking and the preparation of teachers and principals. The network publishes a periodic newsletter, NNER News, on its activities. Contact: Teresa Scott, program assistant, Center for Educational Renewal, College of Education DQ-12, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. 98195; (206) 543-6230.