ERIC Number: ED491634
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-May
Meeting Five Critical Challenges of High School Reform. Lessons from Research on Three Reform Models
High school reform has moved to the top of the education policy agenda, commanding the attention of the federal government, governors, urban school superintendents, philanthropists, and the general public. All are alarmed by stubbornly high dropout rates, by the low academic achievement of many high school students, and by the large numbers of high school graduates who are required to take remedial classes in college. These trends disproportionately affect urban and certain rural areas and minority groups: The most troubled high schools are concentrated in about 50 large cities and 15 primarily southern and southwestern states, and the majority of their students tend to be African-American or Hispanic. This is the first in a series of reports for policymakers, practitioners, and others who must make hard choices about how to change high schools. It discusses three comprehensive initiatives evaluated by MDRC -- Career Academies, First Things First, and Talent Development -- that have grappled with the challenges of improving low-performing urban and rural schools. Together, these three interventions are being implemented in more than 2,500 high schools across the country, and various components of these models are being used in thousands more schools. The overall message of this synthesis is that "structural changes" to improve personalization and "instructional improvement" are the twin pillars of high school reform. Whether districts and schools adopt a comprehensive reform initiative like the ones MDRC studied or put together the elements of a comprehensive intervention on their own, much has been learned about what is needed--and what seems to work. What remains is to make sure that practitioners have the support they need to put that learning into practice. (Contains 5 tables, 4 figures, and 45 endnotes.)
Descriptors: High Schools, Talent Development, School Restructuring, Low Achievement, Educational Change, Career Academies, Instructional Improvement, Educational Strategies, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Minority Groups, Intervention, School Districts
MDRC, 16 East 34th Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10016-4326. Tel: 212-532-3200; Fax: 212-684-0832; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: Practitioners; Policymakers
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.; James G. Irvine Foundation, San Francisco, CA.
Authoring Institution: Manpower Demonstration Research Corp., New York, NY.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
IES Cited: ED502502