Bold Plans for School Restructuring: The New American Schools Designs

Bold Plans for School Restructuring: The New American Schools Designs

Bold Plans for School Restructuring: The New American Schools Designs

Bold Plans for School Restructuring: The New American Schools Designs

Synopsis

Two powerful forces are driving American's demands for better schools -- one longstanding force is idealistic and the other is "new" and economic. The current group of young Americans is in danger of being the first full generation to consistently make less money and enjoy fewer worldly rewards than their parents. The intersection of idealistic and pragmatic forces has produced an era of calls for reform in U. S. education that is unparalleled -- calls that have resulted in the creation of the New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC). The chapters in this book highlight the path traveled by NASDC -- a private, non-profit corporation charged with creating new, "break the mold" school designs for the 21st century -- and describes the first three years' accomplishments of nine NASDC development teams.

Excerpt

Sam Stringfield/Johns Hopkins University Steven Ross, University of Memphis Lana Smith, University of Memphis

Two powerful forces are driving America's demands for better schools. The first force, more traditionally recurring, is idealistic. A proud call for substantially more and better schooling for all of our citizens runs from Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson through George Bush and Bill Clinton.

The second force is new and economic. The current group of young Americans is in danger of being the first full generation to consistently make less money and enjoy fewer worldly rewards than its parents. From 1973 to 1992 the median income of young male high school graduates in the United States dropped by a third. For high school dropouts the decline was fully 50 percent and shows no sign of improving (Stringfield, 1995). A combination of technological advances and industries moving off shore has resulted in a dramatic drop in demand for unskilled labor in America. At some point, individual misfortune threatens to become a national calamity. Who will, or can, pay taxes to support roads, police and schools? Not someone who is working for minimum wages with no benefits, or is on unemployment, or in prison.

The intersection of idealistic and pragmatic forces has produced a period unparalleled in its calls for reform in U.S. education. The current calls are exceptional, not for their now familiar theme of urgency, but for the length of time they have been sustained. Following the publication of A Nation At Risk (National Commission . . .

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