In 1989, NCEE created the National Alliance for Restructuring Education (NARE), which was aimed at promoting student performance in large urban districts and progressive states through standards-based education reform. That same year, NCEE created the bi-partisan Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce and a year later the organization produced the report America’s Choice: high skills or low wages! 
THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR RESTRUCTURING EDUCATION
Schools - and Systems - for the 21st Century
A Proposal to the New American Schools Development Corporation
National Center on Education and the Economy
Attn.: Marc Tucker, President
39 State Street, Suite 500 / Rochester (Monroe County), NY 14614
PH: 716-546-7620/FAX: 716-546-3145
and its Partners:
State of Arkansas Apple Computer, Inc.
State of Kentucky Center for the Study of Social Policy
State of New York Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce
Pittsburgh, PA Workforce
Rochester, NY Harvard Project on Effective Services
San Diego, CA Learning Research and Development
State of Vermont Center at the Univ. of Pittsburgh
State of Washington National Alliance of Business
White Plains, NY National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
New Standards Project
Public Agenda Foundation
Brandon is a small, rural village in the Green Mountains an hour south of Burlington on Vermont Highway 7. The people here are poor, and the ugly white-brick two-story building looks more like a weather-beaten industrial plant than a school. But on the inside, Otter Valley Union High School has become a high output academic setting that produces the state's debate champions, its own literary magazine and a choir that performed Mozart at Carnegie Hall.
Bucking bureaucratic rules and winning state waivers from regulations, the faculty at Otter Valley restructured their school over the past six years. They worked with the community to set ambitious goals. They created interdisciplinary teams of teachers to improve instruction. They moved to cooperative learning and heterogeneous grouping. A rotating troika of teachers assumed the role of principal. They started measuring learning through portfolios of the students' work in math, English, social studies and science. They fought for time and money to get the training for themselves that allowed this transformation. The students responded.
Dag Hammarskjold School No. 6 is 300 miles west in Rochester, NY, a few blocks from the Genesee River and five miles from where the river pours into Lake Ontario. The 520 elementary children who go to school here are mostly black and poor, living in nearby housing projects. The 30-year-old building is graffiti marred, squatting inside a metal fence on a barren street corner. Even the Church of Jesus Christ Sweet Shop across the street is boarded up. The neighborhood is tough, with gangs like the Legion of Doom controlling turf. But the school is a clean, colorful haven where kids not only feel safe but are learning.
Six years ago, the teachers at No. 6, convinced that what they were doing wasn't connecting with kids, started something new. They turned the Genesee River into their classroom. They used the curiosity of the students to write a curriculum based on 'interesting questions' centered on seven time periods of the river's history. The students move from studying the time when dinosaurs and glaciers once moved through their valley to the study of pollution and industrial development. Instead of teaching through textbooks and worksheets, teachers use museums, historical sites and local experts. The school sends its students out on 400 field studies each year. The students are engaged. Listen to a young black sixth grader explain German immigration to the region, and add texture with the German sausage factory she visited. Or watch a class of learning disabled students put together a quilt that connects the river and its people. Outside evaluators pronounce the Genesee River Valley Project a success - learning and test scores are up, truancy and discipline problems are down. The project has spread to another elementary school and to part of Jefferson Middle School.
The Genesee River Valley Project is not a product of the Rochester City School District but of the teachers at School 6. They went outside the system to get the help to produce the curriculum. They won the grants to fund these extensive field studies for
their inner city children. They established a collaborative arrangement with the local
university for evaluation. School 6 is a school that 'broke the mold' in spite of the system, certainly not because of it.
Now, imagine for the moment where we might be if states and districts routinely gave birth to schools like No. 6 and Otter Valley in Vermont. Imagine systems that provide assistance and encouragement to schools to 'break the mold' instead of inflexible rules that only harden it.
Our proposal is not about creating another handful of successful schools. It is instead about something we believe is much harder: The creation of systems that will foster these schools, that will allow them to grow and multiply to the point where every school can 'break the mold.'
Our object is to make schools like Otter Valley and School 6 the norm everywhere. By 1995 we plan to have 243 schools in seven states - enrolling a student body representative of the American people - cast in molds they set themselves and performing as well as Any in the world. These schools will be the vanguard of a far larger number in many more states that will meet the same standard in five years.
Reaching this goal will require a transformation in virtually every important aspect of the American system of education, features that have remained essentially unchanged for nearly 70 years, from graduation standards to incentives that motivate students, from curriculum to budgeting, from assessment systems to teaching careers.
Promoting and - especially - sustaining these changes in the schools will require complementary and equally radical changes in the organization of school districts and the structure and administration of education policy at the state level. It will also require thoughtful and sustained communication with the citizens of these states to build the public consensus needed to support those revolutionary changes. Designing and implementing this kind of fundamental transformation not just in a few schools, but in schools, districts and states in many parts of the country at once is an unprecedented undertaking. Pulling it off will require the coordinated action of hundreds of the most talented, committed educators and specialists from many walks of American life beyond education. The National Alliance for Restructuring Education has assembled such a team and has devised a plan that will enable us to work together to get the job done. The states and districts that are our Partners are utterly committed to this transformation.
America's Schools And Systems:
Cast In A 1920's Mold
As is so often the case, the system we are trying to change is itself the work of reformers. Nearly 70 years ago, they reshaped the governance, organization and management of public education to fit the mold of American industry. Industrial leaders had discovered that enormous improvements could be made in efficiency by breaking down the work of front-line workers into simple tasks and assigning each worker to one of those tasks, which the worker would repeat endlessly through the day until the job was done with 'machine like efficiency.'
Management divided up the work into these pieces and described in minute detail how each job was to be performed. The supervisor's job was to make sure it was done that way. The worker's job was to do the work in exactly the manner prescribed by the supervisor. All the thinking was to be done by management; the front-line workers were not meant to think.
This industrial organization required a well educated management, but it demanded workers with only the most rudimentary of skills. The educational system that was designed in its image survives nearly intact today. Principals' jobs are defined as passing down orders from above and enforcing the system's rules on the teachers, whose role is to work to the specifications and within the context defined by others. They are the front-line, blue collar workers of the education system.
The education system we have been handed down was designed to give most students only 'basic' skills. It produces a curriculum that sacrifices understanding to 'filling in the blanks' on the worksheet. It rewards those who follow the rules rather than those who produce results, so it naturally generates bureaucratic behavior. Valuing efficiency more than quality, it operates by sorting students out rather than educating everyone to a high standard. Every feature of this system reinforces all the others. That is why it is so durable, so resistant to change. That is why successful schools succeed despite the system, not because of it. 'Breaking the mold' means breaking this system, root and branch.
The Students We Ought To Want
Today's economic system, and particularly tomorrow's, requires front-line workers routinely expected to perform in a way that we now expect only of professionals and managers. They must be prepared to deal with unique, complex problems in a way that calls on real understanding of the context in which they work and broad knowledge
in many fields. They need to be able to frame problems as well as solve them - problems that are often unique and require on-the-spot solutions. There may, in fact, be many satisfactory solutions. They need to be creative, to work effectively with others and to assume responsibility for their own work. Creative, autonomous, broadly knowledgeable workers are not what the managers of the 1920;s had in mind, but that is exactly what the country now needs and what we propose to deliver.
But we are much more than a nation of workers. The United States can manage its affairs and use its global power responsibly only if we have a deep grasp of democratic values and a broad understanding of the history and culture of the inhabitants of the world. As citizens and parents, American adults must acquire the values of caring, responsible people.
None of these aspirations will be realized unless our children grow up healthy and cared for, confident of their skills and of their future. They will not succeed in any of the roles we envision for them unless the adults in their lives expect a lot of them, convey that expectation constantly and provide the help they need at every step along the way.
These views may sound ordinary, but they do not describe reality for most youngsters. Millions of American kids do not grow up healthy and have few, if any, adults in their lives who expect much of them. Few Americans think their children need to match world-class academic performance. High performance is not required to get a job or go to college. The tests we use do not measure the qualities we just said are necessary and the curriculum is not designed to develop those qualities. Most important, and most deeply damaging, our system tolerates vast attainment differences - and therefore life prospects - for students from different economic, cultural and racial backgrounds. So very little that we actually do, in or out of school, matches what we need to do. We mean to build a new educational system on a very large scale that will change all that.
The Design Challenge:
Elements Of A Performance-Oriented System
The overriding concern for both business and education in the '20s and '30s was efficiency - how to produce the greatest possible quantity of products and student-years of education for any given amount of money. The problem now in both arenas is quality. The best American firms have realized they must adopt an entirely different conception of organization and management. The firm must get its goals clear, communicate them to everyone in the organization, and find an accurate way to measure progress. It must then vest authority for achieving those goals directly in the people producing the product or
rendering the service, provide them the tools and support to do the job, and hold them responsible for the results. It is a performance-oriented system, one in which the front-line worker is paid to think and is rewarded for achieving the goals of the firm, not for faithfully executing someone else's design. Everything depends on clear goals, clear measures of progress toward those goals and strong incentives for everyone concerned to achieve them.
It is this new model of work, organization and management that informs the strategy of the National Alliance for Restructuring Education. It requires clear outcomes for students, accurate measures of progress toward those goals, principals and teachers empowered to design and implement a curriculum that will enable the students to reach the goals, many kinds of support for the staff who shoulder that responsibility and rewards for those who meet it. This litany implies profound changes in every important feature of American schooling. In this section, we specify those features and describe them as the principal components of the new design for American education we propose to put in place.
Standards and Assessment. The system we are about to describe is one interwoven fabric. Each part is necessary for all the others to function properly. But if there is a centerpiece, it is, without question, standards and assessment. The states and districts that are leading the nation in the restructuring effort have named the lack of shared standards for student achievement and good assessment systems as the single greatest obstacle to creating a performance-oriented system. The first design task, then, is to define what outcomes are wanted and create quality measures of progress toward those outcomes.
All the states and districts in our consortium are members of the New Standards Project, which is itself a Partner in our consortium. We are committed to developing standards and developing an examination system in all the content areas covered by Goals 3 and 4 of the National Education Goals as well as work skills at the 4th, 8th and 10th grade levels. It will set a world-class standard of performance for all students, though we plan to accommodate many different examinations. These exams will emphasize the ability to think well, demonstrate an understanding of subjects studied and apply what one knows to the kind of complex problems encountered in real life.
In establishing content standards for its work, the Project is drawing on those set by national bodies like the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and on content frameworks developed by the states. It will also establish international benchmark standards for performance. Work has begun on the tasks that will constitute the core of the examinations. The first valid, reliable and fair exams will be available for use in math and in English language arts by 1994-95; in work readiness by 1995-96 and science by 1996-97. Other discipline areas will follow. Work is underway to establish exam comparability to enable the Project to decide whether different exams are in fact examining to the same standard.
The New Standards Project is developing a mastery-based examination system with known standards. It will not be a sorting system. This strategy of establishing a world-class standard for all students is intended to strike at the heart of the most inequitable feature of the American education system: The consistent tendency to underestimate the capacity of low-income and minority students and the practice of holding them to a lower standard of accomplishment.
The New Standards Project's examination system will employ advanced forms of performance examinations as well as assessments of the quality of students' work as revealed through portfolios, exhibitions and projects. But this is not our only resource for this proposal. Many of the states and districts in our consortium are themselves leaders in the national movement to create high standards and new forms of student performance assessment. Vermont, for example, is pioneering the development of portfolio assessment. Pittsburgh developed one of the first and most widely admired systems for assessing higher order thinking skills. And Kentucky is investing $29 million in the development of a whole new system of student performance assessment that will advance the state of the art.
Throughout our proposal, we take advantage of the existing efforts of our site Partners because those restructuring efforts are already among the most advanced in the nation.
Curriculum, Instructional Strategies and Technology. The purpose of our work in standards and assessment is not simply to measure student performance, but to improve it radically. That cannot happen without addressing the second design task: How to connect schools to the curriculum and instructional resources they need to perform to high standards. If we conceive of teachers not as the blue collar implementers of someone else's curriculum design, but rather as the professional designers of a curriculum and instructional environment that enables their students to reach high standards, then the challenge is to identify and readily provide the resources that teachers will need to do this very well.
The approach we plan to use for assessment will provide a powerful tool for this purpose. At its heart is the idea of setting tasks for students to do. It is the performance of students on these task that will be assessed by the system. To a significant extent, the tasks, by defining students' work, will define their curriculum. By engaging teachers directly in the development of these tasks, we will be engaging them in the work of curriculum development will be hard to find, and classroom teachers will be the primary agent of both.
But the question remains: How to organize instruction to achieve the national goals for students - all students? Here we can be more explicit about the design task. We will identify the most promising work anywhere in the country on this topic, subject by
subject for all education levels - elementary, middle and high school - and enable those teachers and principals who will lead their colleagues to work directly with those involved in these projects. We will locate schools that are using computer-based and multi-media technology to support advanced instructional environments and create the same learning opportunity there. We will capture the essence of the best ideas and practice in a variety of media and make them available to hundreds of thousands of school people.
And we must establish a way for teachers to access easily the best research that will help them redesign their schools. In doing so, we must endure that the information provided be organized not in the form of the questions researchers ask, but rather those that teachers ask: Do the basics have to be mastered before thinking skills are developed? How can we address the special problems of kids who are falling behind without labeling them as slow learners? What do we do about unmotivated kids?
The key, of course, is the content. It is not our goal just to create a better process, although we will do that. Our intent is to provide students with a much richer curriculum that gives them access to the depth of knowledge in the core subjects that allows them to meet world-class standards.
The Center on Student Learning at the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), a unit of the University of Pittsburgh, will make its own highly regarded research available, serve as the gateway to the rest of the world's research knowledge, establish a growing bank of teacher-oriented research information and identify the most advanced curriculum projects in the country to serve as intellectual and practice resources for this proposal. CSL will also identify the characteristics of curriculum and instructional strategies most likely to lead students to meet world-class standards. To get there, the curriculum must have content as rich and interesting as the 'interesting questions' curriculum about the Genesee River designed by teachers in Rochester. The Center on Student Learning has a successful history of getting this kind of information to teachers. It will continue to work closely with the American Federation of Teachers Education Research and Development Network, which has done pioneering work in making the link between research and teaching practice.
The Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) program of Apple Computer, Inc., backed up by the full resources of Apple Computer and ACOT's national network of laboratories and demonstration sites, will be responsible for providing the technical assistance resources needed for fully integrating advanced computer-based technologies into the new curriculum and pedagogy. In this program, technology is not intended as an instructional delivery system to replace teachers, but rather as a powerful tool that students and teachers can use to extend vastly their capacity to create, acquire, analyze and display information. ACOT brings to this proposal a ready resource of researchers and technology involving teachers and students.
Just as students need a target to guide their learning, so do teachers. Now, the only time any sort of expectations for what teachers should know and be able to do are established is when states set licensing standards at the outset of a teacher's career. But through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, one of our Partners, high and rigorous standards are being set, and board certification will be available in 1993-94. This will provide states and communities with an unparalleled opportunity to redesign their teacher policy.
One last point here. In the American system, school ends at 18 for everyone and that's when college begins for some. In other advanced countries, the first phase of schooling ends at 16, then some prepare for college and the majority participate in a demanding program, often including on-the-job training, that prepares them for work at a high level of technical skill. Some of the most thoughtful work on this topic has been done by the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, which published America's Choice: high skills or low wages! in 1990. The staff and members of the Commission are committed to working with the firms and educational institutions in our Alliance to help them devise the policies and practices required for an effective school-to-work transition program. The curriculum and teaching methods we implement in the schools will be designed to constitute a smooth bridge to these programs, and the standards our graduates meet will be designed to constitute a firm foundation both for college and for the demanding skill training systems to be designed for those not going right on to college.
Health and Human Services. Children who routinely come to school hungry, malnourished or brutalized, who are in trouble with the criminal justice system, or who find themselves with different foster parents every few weeks, will rarely meet world-class academic standards no matter what the school does. If our goal is for all of our children to meet the highest achievement standards, then we must deal with these issues.
The design problem here is to improve the planning, financing and delivery of health and human services so they will more effectively support student learning. Specifically, we aim to produce a design that will assure that all children will enter school ready to learn and that none will fail to learn because of health, family or other problems that effective human services could have prevented. This means assuring the availability of integrated, comprehensive services, beginning with prenatal care, and including continuing health care, family support services, child care and preschool education. It will also mean assuring that teachers will be able to mobilize services and supports for the child and family when they spot a child who needs help. And it means that the supports - before and after school care, safe recreational opportunities and strong links between school and home - are in place. We are assembling a team to address these issues. Along with the Alliance states and school districts, it is committed to developing:
* outcome standards that will enable our Partners to create performance-oriented systems for the delivery of health and human services that will parallel what we propose for school;
* new financing strategies, including reallocating existing dollars for better results;
* practical approaches for schools to more easily mobilize and link up with services and supports that work;
* improved approaches for linking needed, but not yet available, services to restructured schools;
* incentives and better governance structures for integrating the work of multiple agencies; and
* effective methods for cross-training and equipping with new skills those who deliver health and human services (including schooling).
Our work in this arena will be coordinated by two organizations with outstanding reputations in the field, the Harvard Project on Effective Services and The Center for the Study of Social Policy. They will work with the new National Center for Service Integration, Joining Forces and the National Center on Education and the Economy. The states and districts in our group have also provided national leadership in this area. San Diego's New Beginnings may be the nation's most promising effort to integrate the delivery of government-funded health and human services around schools. Vermont has a statewide social services-education integration program underway, and Kentucky has provided for Family Resource Centers and Youth Service Centers at or near all its schools with 20 percent or more low-income students.
High Performance Management. Trying to produce a vast improvement in student outcomes solely by setting student performance standards, creating new exams, and urging teachers to adopt a new curriculum and use technology in the classroom would be like General Motors trying to match the performance of Honda and Toyota without changing the way it organizes and manages the corporation. The challenge is to produce enormous improvements in quality and productivity without comparable increases in cost. The best industrial corporations - using techniques that go under the general rubric of 'Total Quality Management' - are assigning to the front-line workers many of the duties and responsibilities that, in the past, they assigned only to managers and top professionals. They are getting rid of as much bureaucracy in the system as possible, changing the roles of management and then managing the whole system for quality and performance.
Our design challenge in this arena is to take the principles of the total quality movement as they have evolved recently in the best American firms and adapt them for use in the education context. To do this, we have assembled a group led by the High Performance Management Project at the National Center on Education and the Economy, joined by the National Alliance of Business and industrial firms that have pioneered Total
Quality Management in the private sector, led by Xerox Corporation.
The National Alliance of Business, with assistance from the National Center on Education and the Economy, is currently engaged in a major project to work with Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipients to adapt quality management techniques to education.
Over the last three years, a team of executives loaned by Xerox to the National Center on Education and the Economy has been working intensively with the Rochester City School District and other districts in New York State to adapt the principles of Leadership Through Quality, Xerox's quality initiative. Over the last year, this work has been expanded to include assistance to the Vermont State Department of Education, the Arkansas State Department of Education and other Alliance Partners. The knowledge gained from this work and the National Alliance of Business project will be distilled into a variety of products that will serve as the basis of a technical assistance program to the schools, districts and states in our consortium.
Our strategy is to involve a growing number of industrial corporations with a strong reputation in the quality management field in direct technical assistance relationships with the schools, districts and states - first those in our Alliance and then others all over the country. Xerox has agreed to take on one state - probably New York - and one district - probably Rochester - within that state. We are actively engaged in conversations with potential partners for other states.
Public Support for High Performance. What we are proposing is unique in two ways. We are putting in motion a process that will yield new, world-class standards; new assessment systems; management techniques and systems that are rare in corporate America and almost non-existent in education America; curriculum and technology that will make our classrooms look quite unlike any that we went to school in, and so on. Then we are proposing to put all those parts together, to create the pedagogical analog to a chemical reaction which yields a product wholly different from any of its parts. To provoke and sustain this change will require a measure of public support and understanding that does not presently exist.
Most people think schools are in bad shape but not their own school; most people believe someone's child needs to know math and science but not their own since they do not and have gotten along just fine; few people believe that all kids can learn. Most Americans have a vision of good schooling that corresponds to what they experienced themselves and would be satisfied with that. If we are to succeed in radically transforming schools, we must alter attitudes outside the schoolhouse door.
Our design problem is to identify those strategies that will foster sustained public support for world-class student performance standards and the revolutionary changes in
policy and practice that will be needed to meet them. To accomplish this, we will put together a comprehensive package that includes all the techniques of the modern media strategist as well as the proven methods of community organizing. We intend to build on very effective strategies developed by some of our state Partners and to bring in other partners who have established national reputations for effective work in this arena.
Vermont's strategies for grassroots public engagement have attracted national attention. The state has, for example, initiated School Report Nights as an expected feature of local town meetings. Their statewide plan of action, A Green Mountain Challenge: Very High Skills for Every Student; No Exceptions, No Excuses, was developed through the active participation of hundreds of citizens. New York's plan, A New Compact for Learning, was developed in response to open hearings held all over the state. In Kentucky, there are a number of public engagement efforts underway including the Kentucky Partnership, which is comprised of nearly sixty members led by The Business Roundtable companies. The Partnership has launched a statewide $1.3 million media campaign in support of a reform agenda virtually identical to ours. The Prichard Committee, a statewide citizens group, has launched a community organizing effort in 50 school districts in support of the same agenda.
Another of our Partners, The Public Agenda Foundation, will conduct campaigns in several of our states and districts to help citizens better understand the connections between education and America's ability to be globally competitive. Public Agenda has already been successful in designing and orchestrating citizen education campaigns for five American communities in the past year. It will work with our Partner sites to bring leaders from all parts of these communities into a planning process that will also include the active participation of the local media. Six-week media campaigns that include daily newspaper and prime time television coverage on many aspects of education will be launched by media partners recruited by Public Agenda. Town meetings are an integral component of the campaigns for increasing public discussion and the focus of daily news coverage for the media.
Public support will come only with real public involvement, in schools, neighborhoods and communities. Parents must have an expanded role in school decision making. They must see themselves as collaborators in their children's education. But more than parents must be involved. The Industrial Areas Foundation, perhaps the most experienced agency in the United States in the arena of community organizing, will help us think through the parent engagement and organizing issues.
The Design Challenge: Transformed Schools, The Transformed Education System
And The Conversion Process
We just described what we believe are the indispensable elements of a systemic approach to the transformation of American education. All of these elements must come together in transformed schools. They must also come together in the transformed systems of which these schools will be a part - school systems on the one hand and the world of state policy and agencies on the other. In this section we present our views of the design challenge in building new schools, revamping state policies and reorganizing districts and state agencies. But imagining the world we want to create is not the only challenge. We must get from the old to the new. So we also need a way to think about the conversion process; that must be designed, too.
Transformed Schools. If the performance of our students is to be radically improved, the nature of their immediate learning environment must be very different. We have in mind schools in which students move beyond accumulating facts to real understanding of the core subjects in the curriculum, combining a conceptual grasp of the material with much more than a surface knowledge of the content. This concern with the intellectual content of student work will be a hallmark of our schools, as will creation of a learning environment in which that intellectual mastery is both employed in and produced by the constant application of new skills and information to the solution of real world, complex problems.
Teachers must be seen as students' collaborators in this process. And they must be the designers of students' educational programs, not just implementers of others' designs. The principal's role must be reconceived, too, no longer to be the enforcer of rules made elsewhere or as a renegade absorbed in fighting off the system, but rather as the leader and facilitator of the teacher's efforts. Parents, now largely shut out of the school, need to become active partners of the staff and the primary educators of their children.
Our schools will be ones to which children come ready to learn because our communities will be organized to make families strong and youngsters healthy and whole. Both the community and school professionals will have high expectations for students and students will have the same expectations for themselves. Students will no longer be tracked into different roles in life. Instead, tracking will be abandoned in favor of an explicit commitment to bringing all students to a world-class standard of achievement. There will be a real commitment by staff in our schools to do whatever is needed for students and there will be strong incentives for students to learn and for staff to help them to achieve at high levels. The sense of consequence attached to both success and failure will be palpable and dynamic. Students and staff will craft their work themselves - and have the help they need when they need it. The school will have a lot of
freedom to set its own course and will be fully accountable for the results. Designing
schools that answer to this specification is, of course, one of the two central design challenges for the Alliance.
The Transformed System. There are world-class students now. There are even 'break-the-mold' schools now. We will produce more of each. However, we propose to go beyond that, to address the other central challenge, designing what has never existed before in the United States, systems crafted to make 'break-the-mold' schools the rule rather than the exception. To accomplish this, both state and district educational systems must change radically. Our schools are now driven by a policy system and administrative processes that specify inputs and hold the schools accountable for following the rules set by others.
That's got to change. Creating a system in which school people can function at a high level of effectiveness is the business of states and school districts. It will be up to both to set student performance standards, decide on examinations to be used, create incentives for students to study hard and for school professionals to perform at high levels, create massive new professional development systems that will be required, define the policy framework for the integration of health and human services with education services, reform financing systems to provide all students with a fair shot at reaching the new standards, make sure that students' civil rights and safety needs are met, mobilize public support for the new system, and get rid of all the current laws, rules and regulations not required to serve these ends.
Changing the district and state systems from rule-driven, input-oriented systems to output-driven, performance-oriented systems will be as hard to achieve as the changes we described for schools and just as necessary. It is one of the most difficult design challenges we face.
The Conversion Process. The third and easily the most difficult design challenge the Alliance has taken on is the design of a method for moving from a few transformed schools, districts and states to many - a design for conversion from the old systems to the transformed systems that will yield transformed schools on a large scale. We believe that, at its core, this is best thought of as a problem in the design of a very large staff development effort, an effort to enable thousands of people to develop the skills, attitudes and values to transform schools and communities all over the United States.
Years of research and practice have taught us a lot about how to meet this design challenge. For years, most staff development has been based on learning from theory that is divorced from practice. We envision learning by participation in a community of practitioners, a community that includes people at every level of mastery.
How can we create such a system for the teachers and others in our sites? In the
classic model of learning through practice, the newcomer joins the work environment of a master, learning by participating in all of the activities of that environment. This works when newcomers are to be socialized into established and well-functioning communities of practice. But our problem is how simultaneously to create a new system and socialize educators to function within it. There are few, if any, schools that are already effectively carrying out an integrated program of transformed learning and teaching meeting world-class standards, joined with a social service program and engaging parents and the community in the process. Nevertheless, we believe it is possible to design a continuing professional development program that includes the essential elements. There are five such elements:
* Observation and modeling. Newcomers spend a significant amount of time observing mentors at work. From this observation, they learn to discriminate good from poor practice and acceptable from unacceptable outcomes. Observation is not haphazard. It is mediated by conversations in which critical features of the work are pointed out and processes are analyzed. Our development program must provide opportunities for this kind of supported observation and analysis of the work of 'masters.'
* Active practice. This is the heart of it; those who are developing their skills work at the job they are learning, rather than learning about the job. Either in their own schools or in those in which their mentors teach, teachers will actively practice the new kinds of teaching for which we aim.
* Scaffolding. But by definition, they don't yet know how to do these tasks - they are still learning. How can they manage this practice then? The answer is scaffolding. They learn by working side-by-side with an expert. But beginners can also scaffold one another by sharing a difficult task that neither might be able to do alone. Within our professional development design, we will need to provide scaffolding for our teachers' early efforts in new forms of teaching, either from expert teachers or from others going through the same skill development process.
* Coaching. Success also depends on the availability of coaching by a supportive expert who observes and comments on the learner's efforts. Coaching is not a one-time affair, but continuous, spread out over the many months or years that it takes to become a full-fledged expert. We will have to provide for extended coaching for our teachers, both in the sites in which they are interning, which we call master sites, and in their own schools.
* Guided Reflection. We will need to provide for reflection by those developing their skills. Just practicing the new forms of teaching, just doing it, even well, will not prepare teachers for the flexibility that will be necessary as they continue working over the years with new groups of students, with new aspects of curriculum. Successful teaching must be a reflective practice, one in which individuals are continually
considering, evaluating and improving on their own work. This capacity and disposition needs to be cultivated during the development period, and supported indefinitely. It is not just a matter of time for reflection - although that is crucial - but also a community of others to engage with in a reflective process.
Our design problem is to build a development program that will contain each of the above elements within the constraints of a situation in which the teachers engaging in this development process remain part of a team responsible for educating children at their home school. Furthermore, we must find a way to quickly scale up the number of schools and teachers participating.
What are our resources? Fundamentally, people, school practice environments, information and educational materials, time and communication resources.
People: We need master practitioners, teachers already teaching well in the new ways we are hoping will spread through our system. We need expert consultants who can connect our teachers to the best research and other knowledge about instruction and learning. We need people who can function as on-site coaches - who are master practitioners of teaching, but who have enough freedom from daily teaching responsibility that they can travel to the schools in which our teacher-apprentices are working to observe, support and critique.
At the outset, we are, by definition, short on master practitioners. But there are teachers, both within our Partner sites and elsewhere, who are doing superb work on some part of the curriculum. Our plan draws in some of these people as master practitioners. Working through LRDC, we will be able to put our school professionals in touch with the best research knowledge in the world on questions of curriculum and instruction.
In our projected cascade design, described below, teachers and other practitioners who become experts will serve in subsequent years as master practitioners. A system of certification for master practitioners will be designed to insure against the loss of fidelity that characteristically plagues cascade designs. It will also serve as an incentive (through recognition and, possible, additional pay) for the extra work that teachers will need to do to become master practitioners. We will work with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards on designing this certification process.
Because there are not enough schools now to serve as master sites, and because, even if there were, our teachers could not leave their home schools for the time required for a full internship, we are going to have to develop an alternative to the classic approach. After the first year, the initial schools in our consortium will be ready to serve as short-term sites for working visits, but even then we will need to improve practice in the home school environment - even as that school is in transformation. For this to work,
we need time and visiting experts. Each school-in-transformation will have to organize itself so that teachers have significant amounts of time for planning, joint work and reflection built into their regular schedules. Visiting experts ('circuit riders') will provide the external support necessary. They will have at their disposal a variety of tools including videos and case materials from master sites and customized research reports on instruction.
Making this happen will be a major challenge, but there is good reason to believe that it can work. Much of our design effort during the first year will be focused on how to support this mutual scaffolding, using circuit riders and various information and educational materials. In addition we will put in place a telecommunications system that eases our burdens of time, distance and informational resources.
We have illustrated our strategy with a focus on teachers. But it applies with equal force to all the other participants we have named, from district central office staff to state agency people, from health and human service professionals to community members. The model we just laid out forms the backbone of our operational plan. It is the key to breaking the mold set in the 1920's.
The Alliance Design Team
No one organization has within itself the experience and expertise to build a program that answers to the specification we have just described. But we believe we have assembled a group of Partners who have what it will take to design and implement the changed systems we envision.
The design team for this proposal is essentially an expanded version of the National Alliance for Restructuring Education. This Alliance is a coalition of states and school districts that came together 18 months ago through a commitment to vastly improved student learning. Though working on many of the same tasks - assessment, accountability, integrated services, etc. - they had been working in virtual isolation. The Alliance connected them to each other and to exemplary work around the nation and the world in our own effort to 'break the mold.' One of our great strengths is the fact that these states and districts have not only been working on our agenda individually, but they have been working on it together. The collaboration called for in this proposal is well underway.
The original Alliance members - the states of Arkansas, New York, Vermont and Washington, and the school districts in Pittsburgh, Rochester (NY) White Plains (NY) and San Diego - have been joined by Kentucky for this proposal. Each of the Alliance members already has taken major strides toward creating performance-oriented systems. For some, this involved policy changes enacted through legislation or state or local board
policy. For others, it involved supporting substantial experimentation in selected schools. For most, it involved investments in developing the tools needed to transform schools, tools such as curriculum frameworks, performance assessments and new professional development efforts. For all, it involved building the visions, understanding and problem-solving cultures needed to support the transformation process.
The clear strength of this partnership is a demonstrated commitment to the quality and massive nature of the change required. There is another strength to this partnership: It represents the great American diversity of approach, of region, of students and of resources. The range is quite wide, from the seven-school suburban district of White Plains, where minority students now comprise the majority, to the 155 schools and 122,046 students in San Diego. From rural Arkansas, which has passed a new outcome-based restructuring law, to inner-city Pittsburgh, which has internationally recognized schools and is moving through a city-wide restructuring effort. These Partners represent approximately 12 percent of American school children.
To illustrate what these states and districts are doing already to restructure their schools for high performance, we have included the chart on the following page.
All of these states and districts will be deeply involved in our design effort from day one. As will be seen from our operating plan, however, we plan in the first year to concentrate some of our resources on assembling all of the components of our systemic plan in a few lead schools in each of three states, rolling out to all the others in year two and beyond. Those three states are:
* Kentucky, which presents us with a unique opportunity. The state's 1990 sweeping education reform act demands just the kinds of changes in schools and school systems contemplated by NASDC. That law is outcome-based, requiring new performance assessment measures of student performance and rewards and sanctions for schools based on those assessments. It required all 176 school districts in the state to move to school-based shared decision-making. It increased aid to education by about one-third, money that in part will pay for higher teacher salaries, technology in Kentucky's classrooms and much more staff development for teachers.
* New York. In adopting A New compact for Learning, that state's Board of Regents moved to radically restructure New York's relationship with its 3,953 schools. The state has shifted from a highly regulatory approach to one in which it sets clear goals for student performance and measures by which to assess those outcomes, then lets the schools determine how to produce those outcomes and holds them accountable for doing so. We will be concentrating our initial efforts in Rochester, which New York has designated as one of the state's laboratories for restructuring.
* Vermont. The citizens of Vermont are engaged deeply in a restructuring
revolution. They have produced a new education vision that calls for very high skills for all Vermont students, 'no exceptions, no excuses.' Vermont teachers have crafted a state-of-the-art portfolio assessment system. The state education department is restructuring itself and moving to high performance management. The 'signature' of Vermont's efforts has been a combination of strong state and local leadership, the insistence on listening to the public before acting, and a willingness to look for good ideas anywhere and adapt them to Vermont's needs. Vermont has learned to manage, and even to promote, large scale change.
The members of the National Alliance for Restructuring Education have learned to work together. We already are a team. But we also knew we needed a more powerful force to accomplish the design and implementation of the NASDC notion of truly 'break-the-mold' school systems. We sought 'best-of-breed' partners who could greatly enhance our work.
We have introduced these organizations in the preceding sections. Here we provide a listing of our Partners that make up our design team.
David W. Hornbeck, Co-Chair Michael Cohen
Senior Advisor, Co-Director, National Alliance for
The Business Roundtable and Restructuring Education
Co-Director, National Alliance for National Center on Education
Restructuring Education and the Economy
National Center on Education 1341 G Street, NW, Suite 1020
and the Economy Washington, DC 20005
111 South Calvert Street, 16th Floor 202-783-3668
Baltimore, MD 21202
301-659-2752 Ernesto J. Cortes, Jr.
Southwest Regional Director
Marc S. Tucker, Co-Chair Industrial Areas Foundation
President 1106 Clayton Lane, Rm 120 West
National Center on Education Austin, TX 78723
and the Economy 512-459-6551
39 State Street, Suite 500
Rochester, NY 14614 Norman Deets
716-546-7620 Loaned Executive, Xerox Corporation
National Center on Education
Brian L. Benzel and the Economy
Chair, Governor's Task Force on 39 State Street, Suite 500
Schools for the 21st Century Rochester, NY 14614
Edmonds School District
20420 68th Avenue West David Dwyer
Lynnwood, WA 98036-5789 Principal Scientist & Project
206-670-7003 Manager, Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow
Apple Computer, Inc.
Thomas C. Boysen Mail Stop 76-2A
Commissioner of Education 20450 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Kentucky Department of Education Cupertino, CA 95014
1725 Capital Plaza Tower 408-974-4574
500 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40601 Burton Elliott
502-564-4770 Director, General Education Division
Arkansas Department of Education
Betsy Brown Ruzzi 4 State Capitol Mall, Room 304A
Assistant Director, Commission on the Little Rock, AR 72201-1071
Skills of the American Workforce 501-682-4204
National Center on Education
and the Economy Frank Farrow
1341 G Street, NW, Suite 1020 Director, Children's Services Policy
Washington, DC 20005 The Center for the Study of Social Policy
1250 Eye Street, NW, Suite 503
Gloria Cabe Washington, DC 20005
Legislative Assistant 202-371-1565
Office of the Governor
State Capitol Building Richard P. Mills
Little Rock, AR 72201 Commissioner
501-682-2345 Vermont Department of Education
State Office Building
Richard R. Flanagan 120 State Street
Member Montpelier, VT 05602-2501
Pittsburgh Board of Education 802-828-3135
341 South Bellefield Avenue, Rm 245
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 Andy Plattner
412-622-3770 Director of Communications
National Center on Education
and the Economy
John Foley 1341 G Street, NW, Suite 1020
Senior Associate Washington, DC 20005
National Center on Education 202-783-3668
and the Economy
39 State Street, Suite 500 Thomas W. Payzant
Rochester, NY 14614 Superintendent
716-546-7629 San Diego Unified School District
4100 Normal Street, Room 2219
San Diego, CA 92103-2682
Gloria Frazier Edward C. Porter
Associate Director, Director, Rochester Program
National Alliance for National Center on Education
Restructuring Education and the Economy
National Center on Education 39 State Street, Suite 500
and the Economy Rochester, NY 14614
4001 Gulf Shore Blvd., North #804 716-546-7620
Naples, FL 33940
813-434-2214 Lauren B. Resnick
Director, Learning Research and
Lawrence J. Geiger Development Center
Member University of Pittsburgh
White Plains Board of Education 3939 O'Hara St., Room 824
93 Greenridge Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15260
White Plains, NY 10605 412-624-7485
Robert Glaser Manuel Rivera
Director, Learning Research and Superintendent
Development Center Rochester City School District
University of Pittsburgh 131 West Broad Street
3939 O'Hara Street, Room 833 Rochester, NY 14614
Pittsburgh, PA 15260 716-262-8378
David Mandel Douglas I. Tudhope
Vice President for Policy Development Chair
National Board for Professional Vermont State Board of Education
Teaching Standards 120 State Street
1320 18th Street Montpelier, VT 05602
Washington, DC 20036 802-372-5320
Leslie Salmon-Cox Adam Urbanski
Assistant Director, President,
Learning Research and Rochester Teachers Association and
Development Center Vice President,
University of Pittsburgh American Federation of Teachers
3939 O'Hara Street, Room 824 277 Alexander Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260 Rochester, NY 14607
Esther F. Schaeffer Deborah Wadsworth
Senior Vice President of Operations Executive Director
National Alliance of Business The Public Agenda Foundation
1201 New York Avenue, NW 6 East 39th Street
Washington, DC 20005-3917 New York, NY 10016
Lisbeth B. Schorr Richard C. Wallace, Jr.
Harvard University Project Pittsburgh Public Schools
on Effective Services 341 South Bellefield Avenue
3113 Woodley Road, NW Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Washington, DC 20008 412-622-3600
Terry Ann Schwartz Shirley Weber
Associate Commissioner, Policy, Member, Board of Education
Instruction & Assessment San Diego Unified School District
New York State Education Department 4100 Normal Street
89 Washington Avenue San Diego, CA 92103
Albany, NY 12234 619-293-8562
Thomas Sobol Saul M. Yanofsky
Commissioner of Education and Superintendent of Schools
President of the University of White Plains Public Schools
the State of New York 5 Homeside Lane
New York State Education Department White Plains, NY 10605
89 Washington Ave., Room 111EB 914-422-2019
Albany, NY 12234
H. Braughn Taylor
Director, Fiscal and
Kentucky Department of Education
500 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
How We Plan To Do It
Our objective is to make schools of the kind we have described the norm, not the exception, first in the cities and states that are Alliance members, and later elsewhere. Getting there will require more than new policies and different practices. It will require a change in the prevailing culture - the attitudes, values, norms and accepted ways of doing things - that defines the environment that determines whether individual schools succeed or fail in the transformation process. We will know that we have succeeded when there are enough transformed sc