Reforming Schools

Working within a Progressive Tradition during Conservative Times

By Jesse Goodman

Subjects: Curriculum
Paperback : 9780791467961, 170 pages, July 2006
Hardcover : 9780791467954, 170 pages, July 2006

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Table of contents

Andrew Gitlin

1. The Times in Which We Work: The Conservative Restoration

2. Creating a Progressive Educational Organization: Harmony Education Center in Its Historical Context

3. The Local Politics of Educational Reform: Issues of School Autonomy

4. Constructing a Democratic Foundation for School-Based Reform Discourse

5. Addressing the Conservative Agenda: Discourses of School-Based Reform

6. Conclusion: Reflections from the Field


Portrays the progressive school reform work of the Harmony Education Center over a 12-year period.


In Reforming Schools, Jesse Goodman discusses the possibilities, struggles, and complexities involved in reforming today's schools. Drawing from his own experiences at the Harmony Education Center—a progressive educational center he helped establish in 1990—Goodman offers a vision of how to persevere at a time when many progressive educators are feeling discouraged. He focuses on practical ideas for reform, such as establishing school autonomy; creating democratic structures, rituals, and values upon which school reform discourse can be generated; and by addressing the current conservative agenda, how to influence what happens in our nation's public schools. By situating school reform within a progressive history of Western society, the author offers valuable insights and ideas that are alternatives to both the conservative and the radical left analyses of schools and society.

Jesse Goodman is Professor of Education and American Studies at Indiana University at Bloomington and the author of Elementary Schooling for Critical Democracy, also published by SUNY Press.