The success of a “radical” $30 million-to-$50 million education reform effort underway in New York City will depend on three major factors, according to a new working paper from the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell.
The 1.1 million-student school district’s Innovation Zone, or iZone, program consists of two phases. In the current pilot phase, which began this school year, 81 schools have begun testing components of the “whole school” model, which utilizes group teaching and online learning to instruct large groups of students. In the second phase, slated to begin in the 2010-11 school year with an additional 100 schools, all participants will fully adopt the entire model.
The CRPE analysis states that the iZone’s success will hinge on overcoming unenthusiastic support from school personnel, the use of a largely unprecedented approach to reform, and budgetary concerns. The report says that not all educators—or parents—are quick to embrace experimental reforms. And because the program is experimental, there is no concrete evaluation to measure success upon completion, the report notes.
A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2011 edition of Education Week as School Innovation