Since 1997, Uncle Sam has given U.S. public schools over $480 million to put schoolwide reform designs in place through the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program (also known as Obey-Porter). Billions of dollars in additional federal funds flow through the Title I program for disadvantaged children to implement these models, which are in use today in thousands of schools. The Bush administration’s emphasis on accountability for results may encourage even more schools and districts to experiment with this approach to education reform.
Is this a good and efficacious use of federal dollars? How well does whole school reform actually work? Where did it come from and just how different are those schools? With new amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act encouraging further movement down this policy track, it’s time for an appraisal.
Panelists at this forum, convened by the Brookings Brown Center on Education Policy and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, will discuss the costs and benefits of whole school reform, assess how it compares with other strategies for raising student achievement, and evaluate the role in this effort of New American Schools, a private organization that has supported the creation and dissemination of whole school reform models.