American School Reform: What Works, What Fails, And Why by Joseph P. McDonald

American School Reform: What Works, What Fails, And Why

byJoseph P. McDonald, Cities And Schools Research Group

Paperback | April 23, 2014

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Dissecting twenty years of educational politics in our nation’s largest cities, American School Reform offers one of the clearest assessments of school reform as it has played out in our recent history. Joseph P. McDonald and his colleagues evaluate the half-billion-dollar Annenberg Challenge—launched in 1994—alongside other large-scale reform efforts that have taken place in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. They look deeply at what school reform really is, how it works, how it fails, and what differences it can make nonetheless.
McDonald and his colleagues lay out several interrelated ideas in what they call a theory of action space. Frequently education policy gets so ambitious that implementing it becomes a near impossibility. Action space, however, is what takes shape when talented educators, leaders, and reformers guide the social capital of civic leaders and the financial capital of governments, foundations, corporations, and other backers toward true results. Exploring these extraordinary collaborations through their lifespans and their influences on future efforts, the authors provide political hope—that reform efforts can work, and that our schools can be made better.   

About The Author

Joseph P. McDonald is professor of teaching and learning at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including, most recently, Going Online with Protocols and Going to Scale with New School Designs. The Cities and Schools Research Group consis...
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Details & Specs

Title:American School Reform: What Works, What Fails, And WhyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:April 23, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022612472X

ISBN - 13:9780226124728

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Extra Content

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. The Theory of Action Space

Chapter 3. Action Space in Chicago and New York

Chapter 4. Action Space in Context: Philadelphia and the Bay Area

Chapter 5. Learning from Collapse in Philadelphia and Chicago

Chapter 6. Learning from Connections in New York

Chapter 7. Implications for Practice




Editorial Reviews

“Urban school districts have been the focal points for intensive reform efforts over the past two decades. All of these efforts have been highly contentious, and they have produced mixed results. The more that is known about what makes reform successful and unsuccessful in these contexts, the greater the likelihood for success in the future. American School Reform makes a significant contribution to this knowledge. It tells important stories about significant reforms in four cities and provides a new way of looking at reform that can be useful moving forward.”