Community Development Must Begin With Schools

Getting better results from schools is the only way to assure that their communities will succeed as places. A new report offers several possible solutions.

The future of cities depends on better schools. Acknowledging the now vast array of worthwhile school improvement efforts, a growing number among school reformers say that, while committed to public education, they no longer believe that mandating performance change within the same system will prove sufficient. Twenty years of trying this is enough, say the advocates of this new perspective, insisting that our cities cannot get the schools we need for the 21st century by only concentrating on changing the ones we have. The case they make to civic leaders calls for an open sector, for new "organizational space," so that new schools emerge to provide choices and more doorsopen to innovation. Testimony from those in the vanguard suggests it's possible to do more thancreate a few new exceptional schools. They say this is the opportunity to reshape the "industry" ofschooling, to make teaching a true profession, to change the odds for kids not likely to succeed today.This paper explains the push for an "open sector," a subject examined in a panel and member discussion at the fall 2003 national meeting of CEOs for Cities. [Editor's note: The link below is to a 600 KB PDF document.]

Thanks to Chris Steins

Full Story: System Change Goes To School

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