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Making Schools Work with Hederick Smith lessons learned
 
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In the course of producing the PBS documentary, Making Schools Work, some common themes emerged that are fundamental to successful school reform. We share the lessons we learned, all vital issues to consider if our nation wants to improve education for all its children.

WHY REFORM

Principal Lamont Jackson

Principal Lamont Jackson works with students at Montgomery Middle School.

Education reform has taken on a new dimension and a broader challenge in recent years. From World War II into the mid-1980s, America was focused on preparing roughly 25% of its children for college and putting the rest on a general education track that served a mass production economy. But the new global, high tech economy demands much higher performance in all sectors of the workplace. So reform has to jack up the quality of education for everyone. (By Hedrick Smith)
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ALL KIDS CAN LEARN?

Some people believe not all children can learn; others vehemently disagree. From eight months of study and reporting in school systems across the country, Producer Rick Young shares his observations in a Producer's Notebook.
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COMMON INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESSFUL REFORM

Dina Rignet reads with some students

Daria Rigney, former principal of PS 126 in New York City, reads with some students.

Educational reforms attack the problems of American schools with often widely divergent strategies. But whether it's district-wide reform with a focus on improving instruction or it's school-by-school reform concentrating on the development of the whole child, underneath the differences there are some fundamental ingredients common to most successful strategies. (By Hedrick Smith)
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COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

An important part of raising achievement is community and parental involvement. In order to achieve success, reform must move beyond the four walls of the classroom. Producer Sarah Colt describes how successful schools reach out to their communities for support and build links for learning between the school and community.
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A NEW CONCEPT OF ACCOUNTABILITY

Accountability has become the mantra of school reform. Since the emergence of the so-called standards movement, states and the federal government are holding districts, principals and teachers accountable for better student performance. But reformers say accountability should be a two-way street. In return for demanding better results from schools, political and district leaders must take responsibility too.
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YES, WE WANT REFORM, BUT…

With any change comes skepticism; education reform is no different. Common skeptical comments are addressed by educators and nationally recognized education experts.
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