CPRE : Consortium for Policy Research in Education


Breaking Through: Transforming Urban School Districts

Is it possible to fundamentally improve the daily workings of the urban classroom in less than seven years? According to John Simmons, it will take a revolution in the way that leaders of urban school systems think and operate, from the classroom to the boardroom.

 In this ambitious volume, Simmons and a stellar group of contributors, including Linda Darling-Hammond, Richard Elmore, Michael Fullan, Charlotte Danielson, Susan Moore Johnson, Adam Urbanski, Allan Odden (CPRE Senior Researcher, University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Valerie Lee, bring the best current research to bear on a range of critical topics, creating a practical framework that superintendents and their teams can use to transform their big-city school systems into true learning communities. As it integrates many voices into a larger vision, this book:

  • Demonstrates convincingly how current, cutting-edge thinking about system change in business has been used to successfully transform schools and close the achievement gap among diverse students.
  • Provides an overview and assessment of the reform efforts of current large-district superintendents, including Alan Bersin, Tom Payzant, Arne Duncan, and Kaye Stripling.
  • Directs the reader towards a larger understanding of issues and priorities with three principles and four key strategies.
  • Applies current research to illuminate what has succeeded and what has not worked in cities such as Boston, San Diego, Houston, and especially Chicago.
  • Features the perspectives and experiences of notable experts who have been working in the trenches of school reform for decades.

Publication Date

November 2007