Not by Schools Alone: Sharing Responsibility for America's Education Reform

By Sandra A. Waddock | Go to book overview
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regulations, so sacred to unions and bureaucrats alike, might have to be abandoned, as teachers, for example, start their days with team meetings to determine a particular curriculum for a group of children, or as teachers and parents meet over coffee to discuss discipline and curriculum innovations, while the children play in the gym under the supervision of the gym teacher. Some classes might meet at settings outside of the school, the local hospital or a local business, for example, on a periodic or regular basis, as a way of linking their curriculum with issues they will face in the "real" world (e.g., a curriculum on AIDS and health might be taught by a local epidemiologist and, for students hoping to work with computers, a local business might offer weekly seminars on business computing).

Key to the success of this strategy will be the ability of those individuals who sit at the boundaries of schools and make the linkages to other institutions to envision how the linkages will operate in the interests of the child and of the educational process. The nature of education shifts, according to this definition, with increasing demands placed upon teachers and administrators not only to reshape the way they do their work (or "re-engineer" it to use current business slang), by asking the question, "If we were to start over today, how would we envision education?"13 In a sense, asking and answering this question is what Sizer has done in Horace's School, in which a committee charged with school reform basically reinvents the ways in which education takes place. In the next two chapters, we will explore some of the ways in which such linkages are already being made and make some suggestions about what other types of arrangements might be possible.


NOTES
1.
Thanks to James E. Post formerly of Boston University's Management Policy Department and now of The Conference Board for a conversation in which these ideas were clarified and articulated.
2.
Committee for Economic Development ( 1993), Why Child Care Matters: Preparing Young Children for a More Productive America ( New York: Committee for Economic Development).
3.
Examples of cities where such changes were beginning include Louisville, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Portland, Oregon, where at least some of the key actors were looking at the interrelationships that exist among social problems, education, and business success.
4.
M. Hammer and J. Champy ( 1993). Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution ( New York: Harper Business).
5.
The classic book making this point, of course, is by A. D. Chandler Jr. ( 1962), Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise ( Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).

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