Making Schools Work, William G. Ouchi
I’ve read Making Schools Work before, but as I began applying to graduate school, it became relevant for me to re-read. I’m interested in how to more effectively design and operate successful schools, and this book offers a very readable, well-researched, and passionate introduction to these questions.
Dr. Ouchi, an organizational studies and business professor at UCLA, studied over 200 schools in six large districts and identified what he calls his “Seven Keys to Success” for managing effective schools. Chief among them is a focus on decentralizing the district, allowing principals considerable autonomy to manage their schools according to local needs. He advocates for principal staffing and budgetary control, coupled with increased accountability for performance to make sure the principals deliver. He also emphasizes the importance of prioritizing student achievement above all other goals, and of making the school a community of learners. The final element of Ouchi’s plan is real school choice options, to ensure that no student is trapped in an unsuccessful neighborhood school.
He concludes with a guide for parents on how to evaluate their child’s school, and suggestions for both parents and educators to incorporate elements of success. Though you may disagree with some of Ouchi’s assertions, he raises important ideas, and I highly recommend taking a look.
2 days until 2013!