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50 Different Ways to Run a School:
The Good, The Bad AND The Ugly

    The history of education is replete with school designs that were hailed as breakthrough innovations. Some of these school "models" lived up to their designers' hopes, others did not. Even today, numerous "models" are offered by various organizations. Fortunately, there is an emerging body of research to help sift through claims.

    This table shows some of these "whole school reform models", and is keyed to show which models are discussed in which of the following reports:

    Model Type Personality A B C D E F G Ilinois
    Accelerated Schools Whole school Levin     C D E F G  
    America's Choice Whole school       C   E      
    ATLAS Communities Whole school         D E F G  
    Audrey Cohen College Whole school           E F    
    Bensenville (IL) New American School Whole school             F    
    Breakthrough to Literacy Literacy               G  
    Carbo Reading Styles Program Whole school         D        
    Center for Effective Schools Whole school           E      
    Child Development Program Whole school           E      
    Classical / Trivium Whole school                 Click!
    Coalition of Essential Schools Whole school Sizer     C   E   G  
    Community for Learning Whole school         D E   G  
    Community Learning Centers Whole school           E F    
    Comprehensive Early Literacy Training Literacy               G  
    Co-nect Whole school         D E F G  
    Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline Whole school     B            
    Constructivism / Progressivism (in general) Whole school                 Click!
    Core Knowledge Whole school Hirsch A B C D E   G Click!
    Different Ways of Knowing Whole school         D E   G  
    Direct Instruction Whole school Engelmann   B C D E   G Click!
    Edison Project Whole school       C   E      
    Exemplary Center for Reading Instruction Whole school         D        
    Expeditionary Learning / Outward Bound (ELOB) Whole school       C   E F G  
    First Steps Whole school               G  
    First Things First Whole school         D        
    High Schools that Work Whole school     B   D E      
    High/Scope Primary Grades Whole school         D E      
    Hillsdale Academy Whole school   A             Click!
    Integrated Thematic Instruction Whole school           E   G  
    K - 12 Whole school Bennett A              
    Learning Network Whole school           E      
    Literacy Collaborative Whole school         D     G  
    MicroSociety Whole school           E      
    Middle Start Whole school         D        
    Modern Red SchoolHouse Whole school         D E F G  
    Montessori Whole school           E      
    More Effective Schools Whole school         D        
    Multiple Intelligences Whole school Gardner     C         Click!
    National Alliance for Restructuring Education Whole school             F    
    National Heritage Academies Whole school   A             Click!
    National Writing Project Writing               G  
    New American Schools Whole school             F    
    Odyssey Project Whole school             F    
    Onward to Excellence Whole school         D E   G  
    Paideia Whole school Adler         E      
    Progress in Mathematics Math   A              
    Quantum Learning Whole school         D        
    QuESt Whole school         D        
    Riggs Institute Reading   A              
    Roots & Wings Whole school           E F    
    Saxon Math Math Saxon A             Click!
    Saxon Phonics Reading   A              
    School Development Program Whole school Comer   B C D E   G  
    School Renaissance Whole school         D     G  
    Singapore Math Math   A             Click!
    SRA Direct Instruction Reading   A              
    SRA Open Court Reading Reading   A             Click!
    Success For All Whole school Slavin   B C D E   G  
    Talent Development High Schools Whole school         D E      
    Talent Development Middle Schools Whole school         D        
    Turning Points Whole school         D        
    Urban Learning Centers / L.A. Learning Ctrs Whole school         D E F    
    Ventures Initiative and Focus System Whole school               G  

  • A: How to improve a school? Start here!
    "Best Bets: Education Curricula That Work", Center for Education Reform: This report shines a spotlight on some of the best available math, history, reading, and multi-subject curricula around. In addition, the compilation explores what makes a curriculum great. It spells out the basic building blocks of effective curricula, provides descriptions, contact information and other details about numerous highly recommended curricula and their providers, as well as information about a few outstanding textbooks. Highly recommended!

  • B: What Works: Six Promising Schoolwide Reform Programs (PDF doc), American Federation of Teachers. In this powerful report, the AFT commends a handful of "whole-school" reform models that have compelling evidence of success. Included among the six featured programs are Core Knowledge and Direct Instruction.

  • C: Better by Design? A Consumer's Guide to Schoolwide Reform, Fordham Foundation, December 01, 1998. This report includes richly detailed personal accounts of visits to schools that have implemented ten different models, and a table of basic facts about each.

  • D: Here is a reasonable collection of descriptions of a couple dozen "whole school reform models": Catalog of School Reform Models, Northwest Regional Education Laboratory.

  • E: Comprehensive School Reform and Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis, Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR), November 2002. There are separate links for the report's Appendix A and Appendix B, and its summary Tables of the descriptions and evaluations of the models.

  • F: The Evolution of the New American Schools, by Jeffrey Mirel, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, October 2001. In July 1991, President George H. Bush and Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander and a number of business leaders announced the launch of the New American Schools Development Corporation charged with encouraging innovative ideas for a new generation of schools. In this vivid report, Jeffrey Mirel charts how the good intent of the NAS became bogged down in bureaucracy. Far from encouraging breakthrough ideas, NAS wound up doing little more than repeating progressivist axioms, as it dispensed contracts mostly to mainstream established educationists with predictable philosophies.

  • G: CSRQ Center Report on Elementary School CSR Models (PDF), American Institutes for Research (AIR) / Comprehensive School Reform Quality (CSRQ) Center, November 29, 2005.

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