The conditions and quality of schooling can be improved, but they cannot be improved on a large scale simply by raising standards, aligning policies, changing curricula, implementing improvement programs, mandating new tests and demanding schools become more “accountable.” Policymakers cannot make all policies “coherent” or supply each school with all the resources those schools need. Instead, schools have to help create the conditions they need to be successful. In short, schools that demonstrate the capacity to make improvements are neither totally dependent nor completely independent of the demands, pressures, resources, and opportunities that exist around them. They are intimately tied to their environments, and they can shape as well as respond to external demands and pressures.
In order to address what it takes for schools to shape and respond to constantly changing external demands and pressures, this book describes a small number of key organizational practices that can serve as the focus for improvement efforts:
In preparing this book, I have drawn on a wide range of ideas and research that I hope readers will explore further. This website was designed both to introduce the key ideas and implications of the book and to make it easier for readers to locate relevant resources. To that end, the key practices of the website briefly describes each practice along with links to overviews of related resources or research mentioned in the text.