In this brilliant book, Andy Smarick pulls together three education reform movements -- charter schools, vouchers, and school district transformation -- and shows how they can combine into a dramatically more effective way to provide public education. Mayors, governors, superintendents, and educators will all find powerful new ideas about how to build a public education system that serves all children effectively and can respond as student populations and the demands of the economy change.
(Paul Hill, Founder, Center for Reinventing Public Education, Research Professor, University of Washington Bothell, Author, It Takes A City: Getting Serious About Urban School Reform)Smarick shows us the way for the public education of our American dreams, and why our current school districts can’t get us there despite great effort.
(Reed Hastings, CEO Netflix, former President State Board of Education, California)Smarick’s thesis is powerful, clear, and tragically out of the mainstream. He argues that our obsession with the structure of schools – be they traditional, charter, or private – prevents us from effectively using public dollars to provide an excellent education for all citizens. He’s right. And he points a way forward: let educators run their own schools, let families choose schools that best fit their needs, and let government execute accountability systems that support the best schools and close the worst. Our nation’s century old educational policy regime is limiting the intellectual and economic growth of our nation. And, in the end, Smarick’s plan is the only way out.
(Neerav Kingsland, CEO, New Schools for New Orleans)Every school a charter school? In a bold, well-argued call for the redesign of urban school districts, Smarick proposes that all schools—even those previously run by a district--would have to pass muster with an authorizer--and also with parents able to choose among them.
(Paul E. Peterson, Harvard University, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, Director, Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance)Andy Smarick has written a new book about urban education and reform. Urban School Systems of the Future is a provocative analysis; Smarick argues not that urban districts have problems, something most people would agree with, but rather that when it comes to urban education policy and practice they are the problem. Drawing on both the history and status quo of urban education and the more recent experience with charter schooling, Smarick picks up the David Osborne, Paul Hill et al. mantle and carries it forward with a call not to just evolve urban districts into portfolio providers of educational services, but rather that a suite of options should replace them.
)The Urban School System of the Future with a depressing realization; 'The traditional urban school system is broken, and it cannot be fixed.' Over the next 170 pages, he outlines exactly how the system has failed and what we can do to transform it. His solution: dissolve the urban school district as we know it and replace it with a system of chartered schools. His analysis of the problems facing all sectors of urban schools is incisive, smart, and thoughtful and he brings to bear data (especially regarding Catholic schools) that sheds new light on these familiar topics….The Urban School System of the Future offers a compelling vision that school reformers should take seriously. Only through understanding the opportunities and limitations inherent our nation’s urban school systems can we endeavor to develop the next generation of school management strategies.
(Education Next: Journal Of Opinion And Research
About the Author
Andy Smarick has worked on k-12 education at the white house, the US Department of Education, the US Congress, a state legislature, and most recently as the deputy commissioner of a state department of education. He co-founded a college-preparatory charter school for disadvantaged students, served as a white house fellow, and earned a Bachelors degree, summa cum laude and with honors, and a Masters degree from the University of Maryland.