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Making Schools Work: A Revolutionary Plan to Get Your Children the Educ Paperback – November 18, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since the 1983 publication of A Nation at Risk, readers have been deluged with proposals for school reform. This work by UCLA management school "corporate renewal" professor Ouchi takes its place among them. Ouchi bases his theory on sound principles derived from his research into a variety of successful schools. Educational management systems should be entrepreneurial rather than bureaucratic, he says. Give principals real control over their budgets, empower parents as genuine participants in school decisions, and student achievement will soar, even in communities beset by poverty and high immigration rates, two usual indicators of school failure. Any useful management book must reduce complex issues to bullets, and this one is no exception: Ouchi's arguments, encapsulated in his "Seven Keys to Success," claim to "revolutionize" schools and lead to vastly improved student academic achievement. "Revolutionary" may be too strong a word here, and in fact, some of the pedagogical practices Ouchi highlights are dubiously retrograde (e.g., third graders "reciting the days of the week, the months of the year, and the number of days in a week, month, and year"). However, Ouchi doesn't prescribe any of these rituals; he merely advocates for the empowerment of school communities to choose what's best for their particular students. Of interest to school leaders and policy makers, the book also has a section devoted to what parents and community members can do to improve not just their school but their school district, where fundamental change is essential.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Ouchi, a professor of management, studied 223 schools in nine school systems to develop a theory on how to manage schools successfully. He focuses on public and Catholic schools in the three largest school districts (New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) and compares them with three successful school districts (Edmonton, Canada; Seattle; and Houston). Ouchi boils down the successful elements to seven factors: entrepreneurial principals, budgetary control, accountability for performance and budget, delegating authority, focus on student achievement, community of learners, and real choice for families. Ouchi devotes an entire chapter to each key to success, drawing on his observations at the successful schools and comparisons with the nation's largest school systems. He concludes with a guide for parents to evaluate their children's school and practical recommendations on how parents and educators can adopt the key elements of success to their own schools and districts. This detailed and compelling look at effective school management will appeal to parents and educators alike. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439150451
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439150450
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I live in Seattle and have children in the public schools here (also, I'm an education activitist here). Dr. Ouchi has written quite a revisionist history of Seattle education and used some cunning tricks to do so. For example, on page 37 he states that it was reported by a local newspaper that our last superintendent, Joseph Olchefske,was to resign at the end of the school year. Immediately following that sentence he gives a reason why (making it look as though that is what the newspaper, the Seattle Times, reported). The reason, as Dr. Ouchi, states, was that the superintendent "had been criticized for moving too slowly to close small schools and reduce central office expenses". Nothing is further from the truth and if Dr. Ouchi had bothered to actually read either of our two local newspapers, he would know this. Our superintendent was ousted for mismanaging $34 million dollars (he was an investment banker and possibly could have done more but hey, it's only money). Dr. Ouchi tries to hide this information in another section of the book by calling them accounting errors. If only they had been simple errors!
He also tries to make it seem as if Seattle teachers, by voting more than 85% a no-confidence vote, were trying to get back at the superintendent for his work in changing the procedure for teacher removal. Again, untrue. Teachers voted against him because of his lack of ability in running the district. They were joined by the principals executive board and by so many parents that he was forced to resign. The only supporters he had left sat on the school board which promptly saw the majority overturned in the last election.
Couple this disinct penchant for fudging the truth to support his theories with the recent revelations in print and on television about the so-called Houston miracle makes this entire book suspect.
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Format: Hardcover
As a member of the Hawaii State Board of Education I found Dr. Ouchi's book to be insightful and filled with practical solutions to common systemic problems.
The many examples of successful schools filled with traditionally under-achieving students really break the stereotype that certain kids can't learn. And the sympathetic explanation of the systemic impediments facing teachers clearly show that we don't have a problem with our educators -- it is the system.
I highly recommend this book to all education policy makers, legislators, educators and parents. Making Schools Work is a realistic and optimistic vision of our future.
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Format: Hardcover
This book explains how the organization of a school system can affect student performance. It is filled with stories and data that are interesting, uplifting and compelling. I especially like Professor Ouchi's response to the question, "What makes a school great?" His Seven Keys to Success are "right on," in my opinion. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding why some schools and school systems work while others do not.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book that I fervently hope will start a revolution in America's schools. It's message, one that calls for leadership by empowered principals rather than a conformist bureaucracy, is based on impeccable research and is delivered with fluid, engaging prose. I recommend it to anyone who cares about our children and their future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who complains about public schools should read this book. It is going to be VERY important to the national dialog about how we pull up our socks and get busy making things better.
I know you are busy, so I encourage you to do a good old college-style "gut the book" exercise on this one. It reads well and is only as long as it needs to be (262 uncrowded pages). Speed-devour 100 pages a night and you can get the essence in 2 stints.
I've been voraciously consuming education reform literature, and this one is by far the best of the lot. It gives me a considerable sense of hope that Governor Schwartzenegger has read it and reportedly gave it to some people as a Christmas present. I suspect that this will be a book that many, many people read and talk about.
Prof. Ouchi worked with a team of researchers to analyze the organizations of hundreds of schools and districts, documenting trends in function and dysfunction and examples of turnarounds. He took the findings and synthesized them into seven "keys." He does a great, sensitive job of explaining how none of these alone is the magic answer -- rather, progress is made by working on all seven together. One of the super things about this book: it is very grounded in the reality that education is about people. He speaks to the reader as a potential reformer, and never gets highfalutin or pessimistic. He reminds the reader often that the people involved almost never WANT bad things to happen. Things just seem to work out that way when the organization is busted.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
our nations schools are failing and quite frankly, i don't understand why more districts change their approach to teaching and managing. i'm mesmerized by the fact that we, the tax payers, tolerate this kind of ineptitude. we are living in a different time from when i went to public schools. our world is becoming smaller and more competitive every year. we better start incorporating these types of entrepreneuring philosophies within our school systems or we might not be the all mightly USA we once knew.
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