Schooling Students Placed at Risk: Research, Policy, and Practice in the Education of Poor and Minority Adolescents

By Mavis G. Sanders | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

Whole school reform is finally taking center stage in the education arena. More and more educators are understanding that piecemeal reform too often produces a confusing and inefficient proliferation of programs that generate resource battles, reinforce inequity, and ultimately help only a few students. Nowhere is this more apparent than in large, urban comprehensive high schools where a complex, loosely coupled, and often highly politicized organizational structure has encouraged a Band-Aid approach to the growing social and academic challenges these schools face. Although headway has been made at the elementary- and middle-grade levels ( Legters & McDill, 1994; Slavin & Fashola, 1998), most inner-city high schools remain in need of sustained comprehensive reform.

This chapter has shown that reform ideas for high schools exist and that some schools are putting these ideas together in an approach to whole school reform. Because these efforts are still in their infancy, research evidence showing positive effects remains more suggestive than conclusive. Perhaps most notable about these efforts, to date, is simply the level of convergence of the reform strategies adopted by restructuring high schools. That restructuring high schools appear to be embracing so many of the same reform strategies suggests that the time may be ripe for a national high school restructuring movement. Such a movement would lend added coherence to the efforts of high schools around the country and better enable practitioners, researchers, and policymakers to learn from these efforts.


REFERENCES

Alexander W. M., & George P. S. ( 1981). The exemplary middle school. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Arhar J. M. ( 1992). Interdisciplinary teaming and the social bonding of middle level students. In J. L. Irvin (Ed.), Transforming middle level education: Perspectives and possibilities (pp. 139-161). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Ashby D., & Ducett W. ( 1995/ 1996, December/January). Building interdisciplinary teams: Ten things you should know before beginning. High School Magazine, 3( 2), 12-18.

Baltimore City Public School System. ( 1997). Maryland school performance program report. Baltimore: Author.

Barro S., & Kolstad A. ( 1987). Who drops out of high school? Findings from high school and beyond (Rep. No. CS87-397c). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

Beyers D. ( January 31, 1997). For freshmen, a false start: Perils of ninth grade prompt freshmen to try new approaches. The Washington Post, pp. A1, A10.

Bishop J. H. ( 1989). Why the apathy in American high schools? Educational Researcher,

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