NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED525823
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Pages: 213
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-8917-9293-9
The Transformation of Great American School Districts: How Big Cities Are Reshaping Public Education
Boyd, William Lowe, Ed.; Kerchner, Charles Taylor, Ed.; Blyth, Mark, Ed.
Harvard Education Press
In "The Transformation of Great American School Districts", William Lowe Boyd, Charles Taylor Kerchner, and Mark Blyth argue that urban education reform can best be understood as a long process of institutional change, rather than as a series of failed projects. They examine the core assumptions that underlay the Progressive Era model of public education--apolitical governance, local control, professional hierarchy, and the logic of confidence--and show that recent developments in school governance have challenged virtually all of these assumptions. Drawing on case studies of five urban districts--Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles--they trace the rise of new ideas and trends that are reshaping the institution of public education: mayoral control, shifting civic coalitions, federal and state involvement, standards-based accountability, and the role of educational outsiders in district administration. Although each city has evolved along a different path, the editors argue that a set of new underlying ideas is being auditioned in the transition to a new institutional model and describe the process by which institutional change occurs. Chapters include: (1) Comparing the Progressive Model and Contemporary Formative Ideas and Trends (Charles Taylor Kerchner, David Menefee-Libey and Laura Steen Mulfinger); (2) Radical Privatization in Philadelphia: The Role of School District Leaders as Policy Entrepreneurs (William Lowe Boyd, Jolley Bruce Christman and Elizabeth Useem); (3) Neo-Progressivism as School Reform in Chicago: Big Change, Little Difference? (Dorothy Shipps); (4) "Plus Ca Change . . .": Mayoral Control in New York City (Norm Fruchter); (5) Mayoral Takeover in the District of Columbia: The Need for a Shake-Up (Jane Hannaway and Michael D. Usdan); (6) The Persistence of Ideas in Los Angeles Public School Reform (David Menefee-Libey, Charles Taylor Kerchner and Laura Steen Mulfinger); and (7) Studying Education Systems with the Tools of Institutional Theory (Mark Blyth). Notes and an index are included.
Harvard Education Press. 8 Story Street First Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 888-437-1437; Tel: 617-495-3432; Fax: 978-348-1233; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Books; Collected Works - General; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Harvard University, Graduate School of Education
Identifiers - Location: California; District of Columbia; Illinois; New York; Pennsylvania