The Redesign of Urban School Systems

The Redesign of Urban School Systems Case Studies in District Governance

Edited by Donald R. McAdams and Dan Katzir
paper, 360 Pages
Pub. Date: August 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-574-9
Price: $62.00

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instructor's guide, 120 Pages
Pub. Date: August 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-579-4
Price: 19.95

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The Redesign of Urban School Systems provides a uniquely valuable resource for anyone involved in preparing education leaders for the political and practical realities of district-based school reform.


This book is a rare double play. The cases place readers in a troubled urban political context, requiring them to formulate strategic and governance decisions. The cross-case patterns and lessons also help readers understand education politics and the keys to system failure or success. — Michael Kirst, professor emeritus, Stanford University, and president, California State Board of Education

The smartest teaching tool for current and aspiring superintendents I have ever seen—brilliant! — Tim Quinn, president, Quinn and Associates; former urban school superintendent; and former college president

McAdams and Katzir have crafted the essential text for anyone intending to fully understand and implement transformational improvement in public education. No class in educational leadership will be complete without it. — Caprice Young, vice president for education, Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Don McAdams and Dan Katzir have provided us with a treasure trove for teaching and learning about the huge challenges and rewards of leading urban school systems. These cases touch on the critical strategies for improving school systems in all of their complexity. The teaching notes reflect the authors’ deep experience with using these very cases with top urban leaders in America and the passion and thoughtfulness which they have brought to this work. — Karen Hawley Miles, executive director, Education Resource Strategies

The Redesign of Urban School Systems: Case Studies in District Governance is effective and engaging. The cases are data rich, and consistently raise compelling issues that will be of interest not just to school board members, but also to scholars and those seeking to learn more about the ways that districts succeed and fail.  — Jeffrey Brooks, Teachers College Record

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About the Editors

Donald R. McAdams is the founder and chairman of the Center for Reform of School Systems. In January 2002, he completed twelve years as a member of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) board of education, where he served as board president in 1993 and 1997. McAdams has been a research professor at the University of Houston and an independent quality management consultant with national and international clients in manufacturing, mining, travel, financial services, health care, and education. Previously, he served as executive vice president of the American Productivity and Quality Center, president of the Texas Independent College Fund, president of Southwestern Adventist College, and professor of history at Andrews University. McAdams has served on the boards of a major hospital, two private schools, and many academic and civic organizations, as well as on national commissions and task forces focused on urban school district governance and redesign. He has published numerous articles in academic and trade journals and opinion editorials in newspapers, and is the author of Fighting to Save Our Urban Schools . . . and Winning! Lessons from Houston (Teachers College Press, 2000), and What School Boards Can Do: Reform Governance for Urban Schools (Teachers College Press, 2006). McAdams received a PhD in British history from Duke University.

Dan Katzir is a senior adviser to The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. From 1999 to 2010, he served as the founding managing director of the foundation’s education work. During that time, he oversaw the growth of the foundation’s education work to nearly half a billion dollars in grant commitments. Katzir also was instrumental in developing and launching the foundation’s four national flagship initiatives: The Broad Prize, the nation’s largest annual education award; The Broad Institute for School Boards, a national training and support program for urban school district governance teams; and The Broad Superintendents Academy and The Broad Residency, two management development programs designed to train executives from education and other sectors as senior managers and CEOs in the nation’s largest and most challenged school systems. Early in his career, Katzir was a management consultant with Bain & Company and then served as chief operating officer for Teach For America. He went on to serve as the first executive director of the UCLA School Management Program, a joint venture of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Anderson School of Management, and as the founding regional director of Sylvan Learning Systems in Los Angeles. He is an inaugural Fellow in the Aspen Institute–NewSchools Venture Fund Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellowship. Katzir has a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Table of Contents

Instructor's Guide

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