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ERIC Number: ED471933
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Jun
Pages: 66
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Civic Engagement and Urban School Improvement: Hard-to-Learn Lessons from Philadelphia.
Christman, Jolley Bruce; Rhodes, Amy
This paper describes an evaluation of Children Achieving, a systemic reform agenda designed to improve the Philadelphia public schools. Led by a dynamic superintendent, David Hornbeck, and central office personnel, Children Achieving focused on school-level accountability and significant increases in funding for public education. Between the 1995-1996 and 2000-2001 school years, reviewers interviewed hundreds of teachers, principals, students, parents, district officials, and civic leaders; sat in on planning/revision meetings; observed implementation in classrooms and schools; conducted two systemwide surveys of teachers; and carried out independent analyses of the district's test results and other indicators of system performance. Results suggested that what appeared to be the initiative's greatest strengths--the power of its ideas, the coherence of its plan, and the passion and commitment of its leadership--also posed obstacles to broad discussion of competing ideas and strategies, through which citizens could have explored ideas and leaders could have heard their concerns and made revisions. Children Achieving never became a shared community theory but remained the theory of a charismatic leader that was perceived differently by different civic leaders. An appendix presents research methods. (SM)
Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, 3440 Market Street, Suite 560, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3325. Tel: 215-573-0700; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, PA.
Authoring Institution: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, Philadelphia, PA.