Critical Voices in School Reform: Students Living through Change

By Beth C. Rubin; Elena M. Silva | Go to book overview

Conclusion

The dilemmas and possibilities of student-centered school reform research

Beth C. Rubin and Elena M. Silva

Don't just look at students for answers - look at what we do, how we act.

(Cushman, 2003:1)

The research presented in this book provides us with a rich assortment of school reform casestudies gathered from the unique perspective of students. Conveying both the dilemmas and possibilities of equity-geared reforms, these studies serve as a "data set" of ten distinct examples of students' experiences with school reform. Together, these casestudies help us achieve a fuller understanding of how and why certain reforms are most promising for the least successful students.

The first part of this conclusion offers our key "findings" from this collection of studies. These findings offer some basic assertions about the dilemmas and possibilities of achieving equity through school change and highlight five particular elements of reform that stand out as most promising. In the second section of this conclusion we discuss the dilemmas inherent in taking a student-centered research perspective and how to best further this research agenda.


What students are telling us: findings from the collection

The casestudies in this book examine both the disappointments and successes of various equity-geared reforms. Taken as a collection, these studies remind us that no single discrete reform can effectively close the achievement gap that persists in today's large desegregated high schools. Through the candid words of students, these studies compel us to recognize the broader societal context of schooling and the need for a restructuring agenda that is attentive and connected to the social, cultural and economic realities of students' lives.

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