The Road to Reform

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The RAND report identifies four barriers that can impede the success of whole-school reform designs:

  • Difficulty in implementing new models of professional development.

    "None of the NASDC teams have adequately involved teachers' colleges in this effort to reformulate the profession. ... Teachers will continue to arrive at school doors unprepared for the type of responsibility, authority, and work that is becoming the province of teachers associated with NASDC schools."

  • Changing visions of school autonomy.

    "We argue that autonomy itself might not be a sufficient condition for reform; one must also know how to use autonomy."

  • Culture clashes between schools and design teams.

    "The existing culture of the school proved very strong, at least in the short run, and progress was often stalled because of it, contributing to the uneven pace of reform across schools."

  • The inability of design teams and schools to adequately involve and engage the public.

    "Universally, design teams are concerned they have not effectively involved the public in discussions of the goals of schooling, the attributes of graduates, how graduates should be judged, or even the value of education."

Copies of the report, "Lessons From New American Schools Development Corporation's Demonstration Phase," are available for $15 each from the RAND Corp., (310) 451-7002; fax, (310) 451-6915; or e-mail,


Vol. 15, Issue 32

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