Making School Reform Work

By Gary R. Galluzzo

One thing we have learned from the last decade of school reform is that there are no simple solutions, regardless of what curriculum designers and the marketers are offering. No national comprehensive school reform model earns an “A” for its effectiveness even with its own solid foundations and good practices.

When a school adopts a reform model, variations in how it is implemented by teachers influence its ultimate effectiveness, which suggests that something is powerfully “local” about how schools change. Even within the same new curriculum, some schools soar and others start looking for the next strategy. In large measure, I believe school renewal is a building-by-building proposition, and not one with winds of change sweeping the nation.

That said, eight attributes of schools have emerged from research that seem to be important if you want to close achievement gaps. I see these eight features as measures of processes you should have in place to ensure that people are committed and talking to one another about what really matters -- teaching and learning.

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