So Much Reform, So Little Change: The Persistence of Failure in Urban Schools??
May 28, 2008
Charles M. Payne
Harvard Education Press
This generally depressing, but also candid and gutsy, book by University of Chicago (social work school) professor Charles Payne is perceptive in its explanations of why so many reform theories and schemes have left so little lasting impact on America's urban schools. Though Rick Hess and David Tyack and Larry Cuban (among many others) have trod similar ground in the past, Payne does a good job with his mostly-sociological look at much of what's been tried and why its effects have been so evanescent. Chicago is his primary case in point. Especially worthwhile is his final chapter on the blindspots and follies of both conservative and progressive school-reform ideologies--and the very last paragraph of his epilogue, evoking how little about the core of education has changed since the lessons his own father learned in the classrooms of a great African-American eighth-grade teacher named William J. Moore. You can find out more here.