Making the Grade: Reinventing America's Schools

Making the Grade: Reinventing America's Schools

Making the Grade: Reinventing America's Schools

Making the Grade: Reinventing America's Schools

Synopsis

In this thorough and informative book, Wagner lays the groundwork for a new strategy to reinvent the public school. The prototype he introduces, the 'New Village School' is organized around 'the 4C's': competency-based curriculum, core values, collaboration and community. Wagner outlines ways that communities, government, teachers, parents, and students can begin a dialogue about how to enact meaningful school changes

Excerpt

As the new superintendent of Federal Way, Washington, in the mid-1990s, I was desperate for good advice. Spending twenty years in the private sector had given me some experience in attempting to create high-performance systems in a variety of sectors, but how would these lessons apply to education? The teachers' strike during my first two weeks on the job had provided an unexpected opportunity to listen to the concerns and often deep-seated visceral pain of hundreds of teachers, parents, and community members. Fortunately, Rudy Crew, the Tacoma superintendent, was just across Commencement Bay.

Rudy urged me to begin a conversation about the importance of focusing on improving learning for all students. Efficacy, specifically the belief that all students can and should learn more than had previously been expected of them, was central to his agenda in Tacoma. Rudy made his case based on the demands of a knowledge-based society, an understanding of how people learn, and a commitment to social justice. Second, Rudy urged me to clarify roles and responsibilities. He drew two intersecting circles on the back of a napkin. In one circle he wrote “What” and in the other circle he wrote “How.” He explained that the superintendents role, was to lead a community conversation about what students need to know and be able to do and, with the local school board, to clarify the purpose and goals of education. With a few clear goals, Rudy encouraged latitude in terms of “how” they would accomplish shared goals. And finally, Rudy told me to send teams to the Harvard Institute for School Leadership, a two-week intensive training program that develops leadership skills in both schools and districts. He explained that high expectations for a more diverse group of students, new technologies, and growing market pressures all made educational leadership more important than ever.

After our first teams returned from the summer program at Harvard, an assistant superintendent said, “Don't take this the wrong way, but this guy from the Harvard Institute talks about the same things that you do but in a way that makes sense.” Soon after, we invited “this guy, ” Tony Wagner, to our

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.