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Changing Schools and Classrooms

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Those who are trying to change classrooms and schools are convinced there is no one-size-fits-all model for school improvement. The system must be changed school by school, even classroom by classroom, they argue. Significant and enduring improvement can come, they insist, only if the teachers, administrators, and parents in a community decide what they want their schools to be and then work to make their vision a reality. These reformers recognize the reality of local control of public education and the close link between a community and its schools. Successful school reform must include a bottom-up process.

A number of reform programs are identified with the individuals who formulated the theories, organized the movements, and raised the funding to carry the ideas forward; such people include Theodore Sizer, Henry Levin, and James Comer. These individualled programs generally include ideas and practices that have emerged from educational research and previous reform efforts, such as cooperative learning, interdisciplinary classes, and team teaching. Indeed, they have more in common with each other than with traditional schooling.

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