Why is an update on Effective Schools needed now?
The answer is simple. Pundits still pontificate about what is needed to make American schools effective, competitive, and "world-class." Gurus still grouse that little progress has been made in public school reform. Politicians still polarize communities around education issues. But in schools across the nation, thoughtful practitioners — quietly and successfully — have been working on a process of school reform known as Effective Schools. *
Beginning in 1977 in Pontiac, Michigan, and then in 1978, three demonstration projects began the hard work of applying the tenets of Effective Schools to real schools in real districts. These demonstration projects were the Pontiac Project, the School Improvement Project in New York City, and Rising to Individual Scholastic Excellence (RISE) in Milwaukee. Now, in 1995, enough has been demonstrated, enough documented, and enough accomplished by practitioners to declare that the Effective Schools Process makes it possible to structure (or restructure) schools and districts so that all children learn the intended curriculum.
In a field where the top rewards go to university researchers who coin new names for old concepts and then disseminate their "flavor of the month" by making speeches, those practitioners who have worked out the Effective Schools Process run the risk of being marginalized because, well, "isn't Effective Schools old hat?" The answer is a resounding "No!" Public school practitioners understand that merely making speeches about "new" discoveries does not result in school reform. Effective Schools Research____________________