September 01, 2006

PDF at Brown University

Whole System Change: States Create New Vision of Reform

Most of us involved with education can name an exceptional high school—a school that despite the challenges of high poverty enrollment, community decline, a sudden growth in English language learners, or a bitter budget cutback, has nonetheless succeeded at having most students graduate, head on to college, and otherwise achieve.

by Sherri Miles for the Education Alliance at Brown University

“Often when we talk of such schools we find ourselves using the past tense,” says Ted Hamann, research and evaluation specialist at The Education Alliance. “This school was great. It was great when… and we fill in the blank with ‘when it had that charismatic principal’, or ‘when it had that special grant’, or ‘when the drama program or athletic program were bringing kudos to the school.’ But these single school success stories are too often ephemeral if they're not accompanied by, and aligned with, more systemic change.”