The Practice of School Reform

Lessons from Two Centuries

By James Nehring
Foreword by Larry Cuban

Subjects: Education Policy And Leadership, Education
Paperback : 9781438428468, 152 pages, October 2009
Hardcover : 9781438428451, 152 pages, October 2009

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Table of contents

Introduction: A Conspiracy Theory

1. The Manufacturing Metaphor
2. The Fear Factor
3. The View from the Top
4. The Grand Interlock
5. The Politics of Appeasement
6. The Failure of Generosity and Justice
7. The Mindful Practitioner

Provides practical advice for educators struggling for change.


Former high school teacher, school leader, activist, consultant, and now professor of education James Nehring combines vivid case studies with practical suggestions to describe how the system works to thwart good schools and what educators can do to improve them. In this book he paints the big picture of school reform in the United States, deftly distilling broad cultural patterns into useful advice for reform-minded educators. Bringing history alive through the carefully rendered stories of five schools past and present that have successfully swum against the mainstream, Nehring shows how educators can overcome the lie of the quick fix through mindful adaptation. The Practice of School Reform is a highly readable diagnosis of some of education's deepest ills and provides practical prescriptions that can empower educators to remedy them.

James Nehring is Assistant Professor in the Leadership in Schooling Program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is the author of The School within Us: The Creation of an Innovative Public School, also published by SUNY Press, and Upstart Startup: Creating and Sustaining a Public Charter School.


"…an important contribution to the body of knowledge in the history of school reform." β€” H-Net Reviews (H-Education)

"This is a welcome and timely addition to the growing body of research exposing the ills of the so-called back-to-basics, standardization, and No Child Left Behind movements." β€” Tony L. Talbert, Baylor University

"This book is for the newly tenured teacher who is ready to challenge her- or himself and make teaching a true vocation." β€” Douglas McKnight, author of Schooling, the Puritan Imperative, and the Molding of an American National Identity: Education's "Errand into the Wilderness"