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July 6, 2005

"small schools" meeting

Today is CIRCLE's event at the National Press Club on the civic potential of the "small schools" movement. In all, thousands of new high schools are being created in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other big cities. In addition to being small, they tend to have a strong sense of internal community, connections to outside organizations, and coherent curricular "themes," so that a whole school may be devoted to science and technology, or community service, or Asian studies. (This means that students have more choice among schools but less choice once they enroll in a particular building). We're going to hear from former Gov. Bob Wise, various experts, educators, and students about the potential civic advantages of these schools. C-SPAN is planning to cover the whole day, but I don't know when their tape will air (and they have a tendency to change plans if breaking news develops elsewhere). Click below for more details about the day.

Alternatives to Large, Traditional High Schools:
Can They Enhance Students’ Preparation for Work, College, and Democracy?

A public event organized by CIRCLE and funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York


The National Governors Association recently found that “America’s high schools are failing to prepare too many of our students for work and higher education.” Even though a diploma is seen as a minimum requirement for entry into the workforce, one third of all adolescents (and half of all African American and Latino students) do not complete high school at all. Many who do graduate are not prepared for the 21st-century economy. Various fundamental reforms are being considered to increase students’ academic success and economic potential.

The discussion about high school reform often overlooks schools’ civic mission: to prepare young people to become active citizens in our democracy. However, research tells us a great deal about how schools should be organized to achieve civic outcomes.

Some people believe that one stream of reform has both economic and democratic promise. They want to transform traditional, large, omni-purpose, relatively anonymous high schools into institutions of smaller size, with more coherent focus, more student participation, and more connections to the surrounding community.

To what extent would this kind of reform enhance or interfere with students’ academic success and their education for democracy?

Panel I: 9:30 am-11:00 am

Can the small schools movement increase graduation rates and academic preparation for work and college?

  • Michelle Cahill, Senior Counselor to the Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

  • Susan Sclafani, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

  • Thomas Toch, Education Sector

  • Gene Bottoms, Senior Vice President, Southern Regional Education Board
  • Moderator: Peter Levine, Deputy Director, CIRCLE

    Panel II: 11:15-12:30
    What does the research say about effective civic education at the high school level?

  • David Campbell, Professor of Political Science, Notre Dame University

  • Diana Hess, Professor of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Joseph Kahne, Professor of Education and Director of the Institute for Civic Leadership, Mills College

  • J. Celeste Lay, Professor of Political Science, Tulane University
  • Moderator: Mark Hugo Lopez, Research Director, CIRCLE

    Lunch: 12:30-1:30

    Lunchtime speaker: The Honorable Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education; Former Governor of West Virginia

    Panel III: 1:30-3:00
    Schools that work: perspectives of educators and students in reformed schools that prepare students for work, college, and citizenship

  • Shelley Berman, Superintendent, Hudson Public Schools, Hudson, Massachusetts

  • Sarah Kass, founder, City on a Hill, Boston

  • Luke Kashman, student, Arsenal Technical High School, Indianapolis

  • Toya Cosby, student, Northwest High School, Indianapolis
  • Moderator: Carrie Donovan, Youth Director, CIRCLE

    Moderated Discussion: 3:15-4:15
    The economic and democratic potential of the small school movement

    Moderated by Bill Galston, Director, CIRCLE, with additional thoughts by Daniel Fallon, Chair, Education Division, Carnegie Corporation of New York

    July 6, 2005 6:43 AM | category: education policy | Comments


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