Remaking Americas Schools for the Twenty-First Century

By (author) Harold Kwalwasser

Publication date:

15 March 2012

Length of book:

340 pages


R&L Education

ISBN-13: 9781610486873

Harold Kwalwasser has put together a call to action for education reform that makes a clear case for what has to be done in order to educate all children to their full potential. He visited forty high-performing and transforming school districts, charters, parochial, and private schools to understand why they have succeeded where others have failed. The analysis in Renewal: Remaking America's Schools for the Twenty-First Century brings together all of the necessary changes in one dynamic strategy. Many schools, even though facing seemingly impossible odds, have succeeded brilliantly. But their histories also reflect that there are neither silver bullets or demons. The heart of successful reform is systemic change, which requires the patience, understanding, and commitment of every adult who has a role in the process, from parents and taxpayers, to the school board members, superintendents, and teachers, and on to state legislators and members of Congress.

Renewal offers a clear picture of how to move away from the mass-production style of education that most schools offered throughout the twentieth century to a new, more innovative, and flexible model that can meet this country's promise of truly educating every child and preparing each of them for the challenges ahead.

Hear from the author in this 5-minute video on YouTube.
This is probably one of the best books on education reform that this reviewer has read over the last decade. Instead of making grandiose claims about what will work and what will not mainly in terms of gut feelings and intuitions, Kwalwasser (formerly, general counsel, Los Angeles Unified School District) assembled a series of reflections gleaned from conversations with actual practitioners, from superintendents and principals to teachers, students, and parents--conversations with people who embody success in public education. The research is very good, encompassing pertinent literature from leading authorities in education. Reading the book is remarkably like sitting down with the author over a cup of coffee and discussing "common sense in education." He makes specific recommendations about how school districts should hire leaders and teachers, interact with school boards, and motivate students and teachers to do their best at all times. Politics, finance, legal issues, and accountability are covered in a most readable manner. The book is organized into manageable segments, so readers will not get bored quickly with any one subject. This is recommended reading for anyone involved in making decisions for the good of schools and children. Summing Up: Highly recommended.