With evidence mounting that market-based education reforms that emphasize threats of sanctions against schools and teachers are failing to improve student outcomes, it’s time to focus on new ideas for improving American education that draw from approaches that have actually work. Those fundamentally different ideas are the focus of my new book, Beyond the Education Wars: Evidence That Collaboration Build Effective Schools.

Download the first chapter of Beyond the Education Wars for free.

On April 24, The Century Foundation convened a panel discussion on the book that included AFT President Randi Weingarten, former Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville, NEA Foundation President Harriet Sanford, and New American Foundation fellow and author Dana Goldstein.

Both the book and event focused on mounting research showing that the most successful schools in the United States have pursued intensively collaborative strategies in which:

  1. school administrators work closely with teachers to develop curricula, choose instructional and assessment materials, and employ research-supported pedagogical approaches;
  2. teachers devote substantial time sharing ideas with each other for continually improving their classroom effectiveness;
  3. administrators and teachers closely monitor test results to diagnose difficulties students are having so they can receive additional support; and
  4. school personnel engage in extensive outreach with parents and community support groups.

You can view the entire event below.

All of these practices, which have proven to be effective in low-income school districts like Cincinnati and Union City, New Jersey, as well as many schools across the country identified by research, deviate from the norm in U.S. public schools, which still generally adheres to the outdated hierarchical model that has held back American public education. By exacerbating that top-down approach, the kinds of reforms that have dominated in recent years have actually made it more difficult to pursue the collaborative practices that have proven to be more effective.

How can a truce be declared in the unproductive education wars and followed by an entirely new approach drawing from extensive research? My book and the discussion of it provide some ideas.