A Decade of Urban School Reform

A Decade of Urban School Reform Persistence and Progress in the Boston Public Schools

Edited by S. Paul Reville with Celine Coggins
paper, 327 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2007
ISBN-13: 9781891792373
Price: $32.00

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A Decade of Urban School Reform looks at this critical era in the Boston schools and distills valuable insights and lessons for school leaders and reformers everywhere. 


In its comprehensive account of school reform efforts in Boston, this book offers insights into the immense and necessary project that is contemporary urban school reform. It should be of interest to all who have a stake in urban school reform throughout the country. — Richard W. Riley, Former U.S. Secretary of Education

A Decade of Urban School Reform should be required reading for every educator and policy-maker in this country. Success is possible, but as Boston demonstrates, it requires leadership, a unified partnership among all stakeholders, and an unwavering focus on student achievement. — Eli Broad, Founder, The Broad Foundations

Reville's impressive book analyzes a significant decade of educational reform in arguably one of the most closely watched urban districts in America; it shows that even when all stars are aligned, change and improvement come slowly. — Richard Stutman, President, Boston Teachers Union

A Decade of Urban School Reform tells the story of Boston's successful urban school reform under Tom Payzant's extraordinary leadership. Through these essays, we learn the ingredients for success: a research-based theory of change, support from a mayor with a longstanding commitment to education, a laser-like focus on instruction, cooperation from teachers unions, central office reform, and unusual partnerships. Reville and his colleagues have assembled a compelling and honest case study with implications for the nation. — Kathleen McCartney, Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education

This book shows how complex—and daunting—is the task of improving a large city's schools. But, it also offers hope because it documents how Tom Payzant, through enlightened leadership and persistence, laid the groundwork for better schools in Boston. — Jack Jennings, President and CEO, Center on Education Policy

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About the Author

Paul Reville, a lecturer on educational policy and politics and director of the Education Policy and Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is president of the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, an independent, policy organization dedicated to the improvement of preK–12 public education. The Rennie Center conducts research, convenes policy leaders, and advocates for solutions to significant educational challenges. Reville is the former executive director of the Pew Forum on Standards-Based Reform, a Harvard-based national education policy think tank that convened the United States’ leading researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to shape the national “standards”agenda. He was founding executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, an organization that provided key conceptual and political leadership for the Education Reform Act of 1993. From 1991 to 1996 he served on the Massachusetts State Board of Education, where he chaired the Massachusetts Commission on Time and Learning. From 1996 to 2003, Reville chaired the Massachusetts Education Reform Review Commission, a mandated public commission charged with providing research and oversight of the state’s role in implementing education reform. In 1985, Reville was founding executive director of the Alliance for Education, a multiservice educational improvement organization serving Worcester and central Massachusetts. He is a former teacher and principal and a frequent writer and speaker on school reform and educational policy issues.

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