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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Don't Wait for the Policymakers!

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Don't Wait for the Policymakers!

The debate about education in America comes down to the all-important question: how can we effect meaningful, lasting, positive changes in our schools?       
For TC Associate Professor of Education Thomas Hatch, there is no simple recipe for making such changes; rather, he believes passionately that the answers should come first and foremost from the stakeholders whose lives most hang in the balance: principals, teachers, parents and students at individual schools.       
 
In his latest book Managing to Change: How Schools Can Survive (and Sometimes Thrive) in Turbulent Times, Hatch, who is also Co-Director (with Jacqueline Ancess) of the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools and Teaching (NCREST), argues that school communities would do well to seize the initiative rather than relying solely on policymakers to raise standards, change curricula and mandate improvement programs.       
 
In Managing to Change, Hatch looks at the power that schools have to create the conditions they need to be successful and how this approach can work in concert with larger-scale school improvement efforts. Through the case studies of six diverse schools—including a charter school, a bilingual school, and public schools in both high-poverty and wealthier communities—Managing to Change examines different strategies for increasing overall performance.       
 
Ultimately, Hatch identifies four key practices that can be employed to build the capacity for change, including developing a shared understanding of missions and goals; and building relationships between school staff and parents, community members, district administrators, reform organizations and others.
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