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ERIC Number: ED561015
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan-9
Pages: 42
Abstractor: As Provided
District Disruption & Revival: School Systems Reshape to Compete-and Improve. Quality Counts, 2014. Volume 33, Number 16
Edwards, Virginia B., Ed.
Education Week
For all the national and even international debate about the state of American education, public schooling in the U.S. is still a local matter--and the school district remains its hub. As administrators know, there's nothing abstract about the process of getting millions of students into their seats, assuring they receive the instruction they're legally entitled to, and welding teachers, principals, and their schools into a coherent, smooth-functioning system. But there's no one blueprint for how to organize that system. Districts are remaking themselves in a variety of creative and sometimes unprecedented ways as they seek to cope with fiscal, academic, and social pressures that complicate the job of educating America's students. In Education Week's 18th annual edition of Quality Counts, reporters delve into the forces that are reshaping the traditional school district and the forms that can take. Those changes may be generated from within, as districts seek to cope with demographic pressures unforeseen a few generations ago. They may be imposed from outside after long-standing performance and fiscal problems prompt municipal or state-level leaders to take action, with profound implications for local control. And while the specifics and degree may vary, virtually all districts--from school systems in chronic crisis to the most stable and well-functioning--find themselves pushed to go beyond business as usual. In offering a wide range of perspectives on these forces, this year's report: (1) Analyzes the experience of Memphis, Tenn., where a struggling big-city system undergoes a radical makeover and tries to retain its identity, even as it cedes significant portions of its autonomy; (2) Documents the dramatic rise of charter schools and virtual education, and the competitive challenge these burgeoning school choice models pose to established districts; (3) Assesses the political tensions that arise as state and federal officials take an active role in education policy in ways that complicate life at the local level; and (4) Offers snapshots from five distinctly different school systems-from the urban to the small town-and the ways they are dealing with the unique circumstances that affect education in their communities. Following "District Pressure Cookers Test Recipes for Success" by the editors, other articles in this issue include: (1) From Tuneup to Extreme Makeover, School Systems Integrate Changes (Jaclyn Zubrzycki); (2) Memphis Schools on the Hot Seat Amid Rival Management Strategies (Jaclyn Zubrzycki); (3) Post- Recession Fiscal Wariness Driving Careful, Painful Choices (Michele McNeil); (4) Charters Add Competitive Twist to District-Governance Puzzle (Katie Ash); (5) In Quest to Keep Enrollment, Aid Online Schools are Tough Rivals (Michelle R. Davis); (6) State, Local Officials Square Off on Who Calls K-12 Policy Shots (Andrew Ujifusa); (7) Local Districts on Receiving End of Federal Largess, Headaches (Michele McNeil); and (8) Equity in Achievement, Funding a Hurdle for States Amid Progress (Sterling C. Lloyd & Christopher Swanson).
Education Week. Available from: Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Colorado; Missouri; Nevada; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Tennessee