Long-standing critiques of large “factory model” high schools and growing evidence for the beneﬁts of small schools, especially for the achievement of low-income and minority students, have stimulated initiatives in many cities to redesign secondary education. This seven-year study of the Coalition Campus Schools Project in New York City documented a unique “birthing” process for new, small schools that were created as part of a network of reform-oriented schools in a context of systemwide reform. The study found that five new schools that were created to replace a failing comprehensive high school produced, as a group, substantially better attendance, lower incident rates, better performance on reading and writing assessments, higher graduation rates, and higher college-going rates than the previous school, despite serving a more educationally disadvantaged population of students. The schools shared a number of design features, detailed in this study, that appeared to contribute to these outcomes. The study also describes successful system-level efforts to leverage these innovations and continuing policy dilemmas inﬂuencing the long-term fate of reforms.
A new book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, provides a powerful analysis of these different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education.