How Top Performers Build-and-Support
Ground Efforts in Unassailable Research

by Bill Honig

The failure of the reform movement could have been easily predicted. Reformers’ solutions are inconsistent with research findings on the best ways to build high-performing schools, and fly in the face of modern management theory. Unfortunately, policymakers continue to ignore what the most successful schools, districts, states, and nations have actually done. In becoming world-class institutions, none of the top performers used a fire-the-worst-teachers-and-reward-the-best strategy. Nor did they rely on the pressure of test-driven, high-stakes accountability, competition, privatization, and choice as the centerpiece of their improvement initiatives.

A Blueprint for Success

Over the past 30 years, a widespread consensus has emerged in the educational community on the best ways to improve school quality and student performance. These educators do not deny that large numbers of schools and classrooms need to greatly upgrade learning, but they believe that with the proper leadership, social and educational resources, and organizational support, most failing schools have the potential to succeed. The advocates of this Build-and-Support approach base their efforts on an overwhelming body of impeccable scholarship, indisputable evidence, and compelling experience.

This powerful consensus supports placing instruction at the center of improvement efforts, with a rigorous and active liberal arts curriculum. It recognizes the need to build teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge and to provide effective instructional materials and tools. It emphasizes strategic long-term efforts aimed at building capacity and continuous improvement systems to support enriching instruction and focuses on the interaction of all these elements.

These measures also aim to improve working conditions by developing school, district, parent, and community social capital and teamwork. They base accountability on respect for the professionals at the school, and they connect school and district improvement efforts to usable information about best practice. This Build-and-Support approach recognizes the need for districts and states to reorient from a top-down command-and-control compliance mentality to a field-facing support approach based on dialogue and discussion of needed improvements.

Prominent Experts and Authors

An enormous and powerful cadre of respected researchers, educators, and practitioners has forcefully advocated and implemented the positive Build-and-Support strategy. The following pages present a few of those whose work has deeply influenced the positions and policies promoted on this Building Better Schools site. We will begin with Michael Fullan and Linda Darling-Hammond.

Michael Fullan is professor emeritus of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. He is one of the prominent researchers and policy experts who promote building continuous improvement capacities around powerful instruction. He has been the intellectual godfather of Ontario, Canada’s successful rise from mediocre to world-class education. Fullan is currently advising many districts and states, including California, as well as other countries. For an example of his thinking, see Choosing the Wrong Drivers for Whole System Reform. He recently coauthored Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems (2015) with Joanne Quinn.

A seminal thinker of the Build-and-Support approach, Fullan examines policy and strategy levers that drive reform. He has found that the four “drivers” now in favor in the US are inadequate and often counterproductive. He offers an alternative four that have proved to be more effective at improving student performance and closing the gap for lower-performing groups relative to higher-order skills and competencies. Fullan says these successful drivers foster intrinsic motivation of teachers and students, engage educators and students in continuous improvement of instruction and learning, inspire collective or team work, and affect all teachers and students 100%.

In Fullan’s view, the key to systemwide success is to appeal to the energy and dedication of educators and students, aligning the goals of reform with the intrinsic motivation of participants. Though superficially compelling, the prevailing drivers do not work. According to Fullan, these are the four “wrong” drivers:

  • accountability—using test results and teacher appraisal to reward or punish teachers and schools (vs. capacity building and continuous improvement)
  • individual teacher and leadership quality—promoting individuals (vs. collaboration and group solutions)
  • technology—investing in computer systems and digital media assuming they will be a quick fix to low performance (vs. using the best of a blended learning approach with a variety of educational media)
  • piecemeal reform measures (vs. integrated or systemic strategies)

Although each of these “wrong” components may be useful at times, they can never be successful drivers. In fact, Fullan notes that none of the top-performing countries in the world led their reforms with the four drivers that are the current favorites in the US.

Another way to describe Fullan’s more positive effort is “building a teaching profession around effective instruction.” A 2010 McKinsey report, How the World’s Most Improved School Systems Keep Getting Better, supports his position. The report concludes that improving system performance “ultimately comes down to improving the learning experience of students in their classroom” and that systems achieve the best results when they “change their processes by modifying curriculum and improving the way that teachers instruct and principals lead.”

Linda Darling-Hammond is faculty director of Stanford University’s Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCORE). She is one of the most respected school improvement researchers in the country and a true national treasure. Darling-Hammond has been a tireless advocate of the Build-and-Support approach and an outspoken critic of the dangers of Test-and-Punish strategies. She has published hundreds of books and articles on these issues. Her book The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future received the coveted Grawemeyer Award in 2012. Among her most recent books are Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: What Really Matters for Effectiveness and Improvement and Beyond the Bubble Test: How Performance Assessments Support 21st Century Learning. She also wrote an article that appeared in American Educator (2010, Winter) about what it takes to build an effective teaching profession, citing examples from this country and abroad.

In 2012, California superintendent of public instruction Tom Torlakson created a prestigious commission chaired by Darling-Hammond and Chris Steinhauser, superintendent of Long Beach, which was designated one of the top districts in the world. The commission produced Greatness by Design: Supporting Outstanding Teaching to Sustain a Golden State, a superb road map for the Build-and-Support strategy, as it applies to supporting and improving teachers. California has used it to guide statewide improvement efforts. This document should greatly assist other states as they shape educational policy under the new powers given them in the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Greatness by Design delineates many of the key components of the Build-and-Support strategy:

  • a strong liberal arts curriculum and active instruction envisioned by the Common Core standards as the driver of improvement efforts
  • a focus on team building and capacity for continuous improvement with the structures to support those efforts
  • attracting, training, induction, effective individual and team professional development, evaluation geared to program improvement, and career opportunities for our best teachers to remain in the classroom but also to become master teachers with additional responsibilities as peer mentors

Professor Darling-Hammond also coauthored an excellent guide pertaining to professional learning, the Learning Policy Institute’s publication Maximizing the Use of New State Professional Learning Investments to Support Student, Educator, and School System Growth. This topic will be further explored in the companion article Build Teams and Focus on Continuous Improvement.

Lee Shulman, also of Stanford University, is president emeritus of the respected Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching, an organization that champions the Build-and-Support strategy. Throughout his career, he has championed the importance of craft knowledge and pedagogical practice in improving schools.

Michael Kirst, whose authorship has bolstered the Build-and-Support position, is president of the California State Board of Education and has led the charge for a more supportive strategy in California. Kirst was coauthor of an EdSource report that examined middle school math programs. It found that what distinguished high-performers from laggards was the extent to which the schools organized and collaborated around how best to teach a strong instructional program with district support.

Edward Haertel is professor emeritus of education at Stanford University and one of the top psychometricians in the country. He has persistently warned of the dangers of misusing tests for evaluation schemes.

Richard F. Elmore has also written extensively on the Build-and-Support approach. For example, he authored the chapter “Leadership as the Practice of Improvement” in Improving School Leadership, Volume 2.

Jal Mehta, a strong advocate for instruction-driven reform and capacity building, edited The Futures of School Reform. Mehta coauthors Learning Deeply, an influential blog, with Richard Rothman, a perceptive opinion leader.

Andy Hargreaves, of Boston College, is a policy expert who has supported and consulted on the positive Build-and-Support approach. Like Mehta and Rothman, he has written extensively about the importance of building social and professional capital and teacher engagement aimed at deeper learning for students. He coauthored Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School with Michael Fullan.

David Cohen is an important researcher who with coauthor Susan L. Moffitt wrote about the missing ingredient in federal policy—building capacity—in The Ordeal of Equality: Did Federal Regulation Fix the Schools?

Marshall Smith is the former dean of the Stanford School of Education and was undersecretary at the federal Department of Education during the Clinton years and program officer at the Hewlett Foundation. He has ceaselessly lobbied for a course correction of federal policy along the lines I have discussed. Smith was one of the first policy experts to encourage the feds to look at Massachusetts as a model rather than to pursue the Test-and-Punish approach.

Anthony Bryk is the president of the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In 2010, it published a study examining the reform efforts that actually worked in the Chicago schools, which were in stark contrast to those undertaken by Arne Duncan when he was Chicago’s superintendent. Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago stresses school collaboration, along with strong curricular and instructional focus, principal leadership, community involvement, and student service support as the critical elements that characterized successful schools. Bryk’s team recently authored the superb book Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better.

Marc Tucker is president of the National Center for Education and the Economy. He authored Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An American Agenda for Education Reform and an EdWeek article, “Creating Education Success at Home.” In 2011, Tucker published Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems, which advocated the Build-and-Support approach. Tucker’s extremely informative blog Top Performers is an excellent source of information about positive strategies being used worldwide.

In one of his blog posts, Tucker pointed readers to Is School Reform Working?, a must-read document bolstering the more constructive and effective measures. The author is Geoff Masters, chief executive officer of the Australian Council for Educational Research and one of the brightest educational theorists. Masters was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, the highest honor the Australian government can bestow on its citizens. No slouch.

In his paper, Masters contrasts two improvement strategies. The first is incentive driven, using rewards, punishments, and competition—the familiar Test-and-Punish strategy. The second strategy focuses on building the capacity of teachers and educators to deliver high-quality instruction for all students and to continuously improve—the Build-and-Support approach. He found that the countries with falling scores on international assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) are those that adopted the Test-and-Punish approach, including Australia, New Zealand, England, and the United States. The countries that experienced improved results are those that followed the Build-and-Support strategy.

Master’s paper also provides one of the best descriptions of what successful nations do to support school improvement, specifically:

  • attracting and retaining high-quality teachers
  • ensuring that teachers know subject matter content and pedagogy
  • developing and supporting the capacity of teachers and leaders to work together toward improving teaching and instruction; and
  • guaranteeing that talent is widely distributed

Is School Reform Working? has a detailed description of the measures that school leaders should follow if they want results—measures that are completely aligned with the Build-and-Support approach proposed on this website.

Diane Ravitch has written extensively about the failures of the reform strategies, the widespread collateral damage to public schools, and the threat to the existence of public education by the “privatization” movement. Diane is the author of two recent books sounding the alarm about the punitive and privatization approaches being foisted on schools: Reign of Terror: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools and The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. She also edits one of the most influential blogs in the country, mentioned below.

Greg Anrig Jr. from the Century Foundation wrote Beyond the Education Wars, an important book about the importance of building social capital.

E. D. Hirsch, the founder of Core Knowledge, has advocated tirelessly for building students’ content knowledge and content’s role in comprehension. Core Knowledge promotes the steady buildup of knowledge. Schools using Core Knowledge materials have done spectacularly well.

Lisa Hansel is a perceptive commentator on the Core Knowledge blog.

David C. Berliner and Gene V. Glass cowrote 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education.

Pedro Noguera is the author of excellent books and articles. He contributes to the Bridging Differences blog, focusing on the dangers of the “reform agenda” and the importance of funding student support efforts and involving communities.

Two experts from management science have also made important contributions to our understanding of schools as complex, dynamic institutions:

Carrie Leana is George H. Love Professor of Organizations and Management at the University of Pittsburgh. She argues that collaboration at the school site is the most powerful strategy for improving instruction. Her research found that instructional conversation and help from fellow teachers outweigh all other improvement initiatives. Professor Leana calls into question reforms that pursue test-driven rewards and punishments. Since, according to her estimates, only about five percent of US schools are actually managed this way, the unrealized potential in expanding this approach far outweighs other strategies. Team building around powerful instruction and curriculum should be one of our major priorities.

Professor Leana emphasizes that this approach requires the following:

  • training principals how to promote collaboration and holding them accountable for it
  • building the infrastructure to support instructional improvement and team building
  • striving to get more talented people into our schools
  • avoiding rhetoric and policies that make collaboration more difficult

Writing for the Albert Shanker Institute blog, Esther Quintero has published a series of articles on the crucial importance of building social capital.

Content and Pedagogy Advocates

To build teacher’s content knowledge and pedagogy in mathematics, we can turn to several expert content specialists:

Deborah Ball from the University of Michigan is one of the foremost authorities on teacher knowledge necessary to teach mathematics and ascertain what students actually know. There are also Phil Daro, Jason Zimba from Student Achievement Partners, and Bill McCallum, who has developed the progressions tools and the fantastically helpful, illustrative math blog, Tools for the Common Core Standards. Daro, Zimba, and McCallum were primary authors of the Common Core Mathematics Standards that call for a more active classroom combining procedural, conceptual, and application instructional practices. Each is extremely active in Common Core implementation.

Other content experts include Karen Fuson from Northwestern University, one of the top researchers and experts on elementary mathematics, and Jo Boaler from Stanford, author of What’s Math Got to Do With It?, a book every teacher of math should read. Boaler is a strong advocate for the shift to more active and engaging instruction and a leading proponent of problem-driven and project-based instruction. She taught a widely popular MOOC course on the subject, and thousands of followers visit her website, Youcubed.

Also of note is Alan Schoenfeld from the University of California, Berkeley, whose writings on conceptual understanding, problem solving, and performance assessments have been very influential.

Professor Boaler has been an effective disciple of Carol Dweck, who wrote Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. The breakthrough book demonstrated the power of teacher attitude and active instruction in persuading all students that they can be proficient at math if they work at it. This is very different from the prevailing view of most teachers, students, and US citizens that math ability is fixed—you’re either good at it or not. Finally, there are the contributors to the Second Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning whose writings address necessary teacher knowledge in math. Ensuring that their ideas, which are incorporated in the Common Core Standards, become standard practice should drive improvement efforts.

To build teacher’s content knowledge and pedagogy in language arts, we can turn to the work of these authorities:

Timothy Shanahan, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Illinois; Linnea Ehri of the City University of New York (CUNY), one of the most respected theoreticians of beginning reading; Louisa Moats, contributing writer of the Common Core State Standards, Foundational Reading Skills; Louise Spear-Swerling, whose 2015 book The Power of RTI and Reading Profiles: A Blueprint for Solving Reading Problems is one of the best summaries of how best to teach children to read; Kenji Hakuta of Stanford University and one of the architects of the English Language Development Standards adopted in California that are now incorporated in a powerful ELA/ELD Framework; the writers of the California ELA/ELD Framework, Hallie Yopp Slowik, Nancy Brynelson, and Pam Spycher; Susan Pimentel and David and Meredith Liben from Student Achievement Partners; and Linda Diamond from the Consortium for Reaching Excellence in language arts.

In other disciplines, outstanding educational leaders include the following:

In science—Helen Quinn, a world-famous physicist from Stanford, wrote the national science framework on which the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was based and co-chaired the California Science Curriculum Framework Committee.

In history/social sciences—Michelle Herzog is president of the National Council for the Social Studies, which produced the C3 Framework for Social Studies, and Nancy McTygue, from the University of California, Davis, directed the writing of the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools.

In music, the arts and humanities, and physical education—Kristine Alexander is from the California Arts Project, and Diane Wilson-Graham is from the Physical Education-Health Project. Lynne Munson leads Great Minds, which brings schoolteachers together in collaboration with scholars to craft exemplary instructional materials and share them with the field.

Finally, under the leadership of Michael Cohen, the Achieve organization has been a major force for implementing the deeper learning envisioned by the CCSS.

Website Contributors and Bloggers

A number of influential bloggers and authors promote the Build-and-Support approach and caution against relying on more punitive measures:

Diane Ravitch, mentioned above, is one of the country’s most prominent educational historians. Her blog has a huge number of followers. A great deal of the content of Building Better Schools has relied on the extensive articles and authors she has published.

In addition to Marc Tucker, also mentioned above, there is Matthew Di Carlo a capable and fair researcher who writes on Albert Shanker Institute’s blog. He has written many pieces on the issues raised in this article. He also authored and sponsored a series on the importance of social capital, featuring Esther Quintero whom I have also mentioned previously.

Carrie Leana and Frits Pit contribute to the excellent Albert Shanker Institute blog. See, for example, “A New Focus on Social Capital in School Reform Efforts.”

For another preeminent authority, see Stephanie Hirsh’s website Learning Forward. It is one of the best sources of advice and protocols for building collaborative efforts at school sites.

Since 2012, Jennifer Berkshire has relentlessly and with great humor unmasked deceptive reform claims and practices on her blog, EduShyster.

Jeff Bryant writes for Salon and the Education Opportunity Network about the benefits of the more supportive option.

On his blog, Living in Dialogue, Anthony Cody writes about punitive reform measures and corporate overreach in schools.

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley critiques VAMs on her blog VAMboozled.

Lisa Hansel writes for the Core Knowledge blog. Her post “Seeking Confirmation” explains the complex nature of school improvement and investigative pitfalls.

On his blog, Dan Willingham gives commonsense advice and published a powerful series of articles on instruction.

David Kirp, of the University of California, Berkeley, wrote the recent book Improbable Scholars. It chronicles how Union City, New Jersey, and two other districts rose to excellence by following a supportive approach to reform.

Charles Kerchner writes an Education Week blog about California’s exceptional path.

Robert Pondiscio writes for Flypaper at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Educational Excellence Network.

Julian Vasquez Heilig is a professor of educational leadership and policy studies at California State University, Sacramento. His Cloaking Inequity blog examines the inequities of the reform agenda.

Mercedes Schneider is a Louisiana-based researcher who brilliantly refutes many of the reformers’ excessive claims on her blog, deutsch29.

Bruce Baker is professor of education finance and policy at Rutgers University. His website, School Finance 101, debunks many of the “reformers” arguments.

John Thompson is a historian who became an award-winning inner-city teacher. Writing for the Huffington Post, he deflates reform rhetoric.

The blogger Jersey Jazzman (Mark Weber) provides in-depth analysis of reform nostrums and the value of the alternative Build-and-Support approach.

KQED, a public TV station in the San Francisco Bay Area, has an excellent blog, MindShift, which is a fount of valuable educational ideas.

One of the best places to find theoretical support and practical advice related to the Build-and-Support philosophy is American Educator, the American Federation of Teachers magazine available online. Issued quarterly, it has been a consistent vehicle for top-notch scholarship in this area.

State and Local Leaders

As commissioner of education in the 2000s, David P. Driscoll helped lead Massachusetts to greatness. Tom Torlakson, California’s current superintendent of public instruction, has been a strong voice for the more collaborative approach centered on improving instruction.

Local leaders of exemplary California school districts successfully translated these supportive ideas into practice. Among them are Chris Steinhauser and Carl Cohn from Long Beach, Ronald Johnson from Sanger, Gabriela Mafi and Laura Shwalm from Garden Grove, Sandra Thorstenson from the Whittier High School District, Michael Hanson from Fresno whose attention to the potentially college bound has almost doubled the number of students who actually enroll in college, Dave Gordon and Sue Stickel from the Sacramento County Office of Education, Tom Adams from the California Department of Education, Joshua Starr and Jerry Weast from Montgomery County in Maryland, and Donald Shalvey, who previously ran the Aspire Public Schools, a charter school network. I must also acknowledge the many extremely capable administrators and teachers who work for and with these educational leaders. (Be sure to look at Turning Around a High-Poverty District: Learning from Sanger by Joan Talbert from Stanford and Jane David, a fascinating description of Sanger’s success story published by S. H. Cowell Foundation.

Successful districts have enjoyed the support of networks such as Jennifer O’Day’s California Collaborative on District Reform, which has sponsored scores of meetings between large districts and researchers in California to advance a Build-and-Support strategy and provides reports on major issues discussed. Rick Miller from the California Office to Reform Education (CORE), which comprises some of the largest districts in the state, is examining broader assessment alternatives, and the New York City Collaborative on Performance-Based Assessment is offering replacements for fill-in-the-bubble tests. Also see the list of networks compiled by the Carnegie Foundation.

In addition, David Plank from Policy Analysis for California Education has provided very helpful reports on implementation of Common Core issues. Three advocacy group leaders—Ted Lempert from Children Now, Ryan Smith from Education Trust West, and Arun Ramanathan from Pivot Learning—have supported Common Core because of the potential of those standards to improve the performance of low-income students and students of color.

The expert advocates I have named in these pages make up an impressive list of Build-and-Support proponents. I offer my apologies to the countless others who have also contributed to redirecting reform on a positive path but are not included here. The list could go on, but the main point is that there is extensive and unassailable backing for a supportive approach and validation of the dangers of the punitive strategies that are being promoted and implemented throughout our country.

In summary, the experts cited have found that all successful schools, districts, states, and nations have framed their initiatives around respect and trust. They eschewed short-term “silver bullet” approaches. Instead, they focused on long-term, comprehensive measures and adequate resources to encourage engagement, cooperative effort, relational trust, and continuous improvement. All efforts were aimed at improving the quality of instruction of individual teachers centered on a broad, liberal arts curriculum as well as developing the capacities of the whole school staff—the building of social capital. These strategies are emphasized in business and management schools, are widely used in industry, and are especially appropriate for high-performing professional enterprises. Such organizations are staffed by professionals who deal with complicated and difficult problems on a daily basis and require skilled practitioners to repeatedly adapt craft knowledge to complex situations.

Highly productive schools and districts understand that the secret to top performance is participation and teamwork. Only by unleashing their power can institutions improve and enhance the performance of each individual. To that end, they devote significant efforts to helping teachers trapped in isolated classrooms learn how to work together in becoming better at what they do. These exemplary districts understand that punitive, high-stakes schemes often undermine engagement and cooperative effort.

BBS Companion Articles

How Top Performers Build-and-Support
Build Teams and Focus on Continuous Improvement

Reference Notes

A Blueprint for Success
Tucker, M. (2016, Mar 3). Why the Common Core Will Be Declared a Failure. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2016/03/why_the_common_core_will_be_declared_a_failure_and_why_that_will_be_dead_wrong.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=top_performers

Prominent Experts and Authors
Fullan, M. (2011, May). Choosing the Wrong Drivers for Whole System Reform. Centre for Strategic Education. www.janhylen.se/wp-content/uploads/…/Fullan-Wrong-Drivers-Paper.pdf

Fullan, M., & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Mourshed, M., Chijioke, C., & Barber, M. (2010, Nov). How the World’s Most Improved School Systems Keep Getting Better. http://mckinseyonsociety.com/how-the-worlds-most-improved-school-systems-keep-getting-better/ See also Paine, S. L., & Schleicher, A. (2011, Mar). What the U.S. Can Learn from the World’s Most Successful Education Reform Efforts. McGraw-Hill Research Foundation. http://hub.mspnet.org/index.cfm/22436

Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Linda Darling-Hammond. https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/node/46

Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future. New York: Teachers College Press.

Darling-Hammond, L. (2013). Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: What Really Matters for Effectiveness and Improvement. New York: Teachers College Press.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Adamson, F. (2014). Beyond the Bubble Test: How Performance Assessments Support 21st Century Learning. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass.

Tom Torlakson’s Task Force on Educator Excellence. (2012, Sep 17). Greatness by Design: Supporting Outstanding Teaching to Sustain a Golden State. California Department of Education. http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/ee.asp

Bishop, J., Darling-Hammond, L., & Jaquith, A. (2015, Nov). Maximizing the Use of New State Professional Learning Investments to Support Student, Educator, and School System Growth. https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/publications/pubs/1394

Williams, T., Haertel, E., Kirst, M. W., Rosin, M., & Perry, M. (2011, Feb). Preparation, Placement, Proficiency: Improving Middle Grades Math Performance. EdSource. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED516660

Haertel, E. (2013, Oct 21). The Flaws of Using Value-Added Models for Teacher Assessment. https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/multimedia/video/1033

Elmore, R. F. (2008, Jul 31). Leadership as the Practice of Improvement. OECD. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/improving-school-leadership/leadership-as-the-practice-of-improvement_9789264039551-4-en

Learning Deeply. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_deeply

Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School. New York: Teachers College Press.

Cohen, D. K., & Moffitt, S. L. (2009). The Ordeal of Equality: Did Federal Regulation Fix the Schools? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bryk, A. S., Sebring, P. B., Allensworth, E., Luppescu, S., & Easton, J. Q. (2010). Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Bryk, A. S., Gomez, L. M., Grunow, A., & LeMahieu, P. G. (2015). Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Tucker, M. S. (2011, May 24). Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An American Agenda for Education Reform. National Center for Education and the Economy. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED522108

Tucker, M. (2011, Oct 17). Creating Education Success at Home. Education Week. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/10/19/08tucker_ep.h31.html

Tucker, M. Top Performers. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/

Tucker, M. (2015, Mar 19). Why Is Achievement Rising in Some Countries, Going Down in Others? http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2015/03/why_is_achievement_rising_in_some_countries_going_down_in_others.html

Masters, G. N. (2014, Dec). Is School Reform Working? Policy Insights, Issue 1. ACER. http://research.acer.edu.au/policyinsights/1/

Ravitch, D. (2014). Reign of Terror: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. New York: Vintage Books.

Ravitch, D. (2011). The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. New York: Basic Books.

Diane Ravitch’s Blog. https://dianeravitch.net/

Anrig, G. (2013). Beyond the Education Wars: Evidence That Collaboration Builds Effective Schools. New York: The Century Foundation Press.

Core Knowledge. http://www.coreknowledge.org

Berliner D. C., Glass, G. V., & Associates. (2014). 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Noguera, P. (2012, Sep 25). The Origins of My Views on Education. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2012/09/i_have_been_in_the.html

Leana, C. R. (2011, Fall). The Missing Link in School Reform. Stanford Social Innovation Review. http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_missing_link_in_school_reform/

Quintero, E. (2015, May 21). Trust: The Foundation of Student Achievement. http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/trust-foundation-student-achievement

Content and Pedagogy Advocates
Tools for the Common Core Standards. http://commoncoretools.me/author/wgmccallum/

Boaler, J. (2015). What’s Math Got to Do with It? New York: Penguin Books.

Youcubed. https://www.youcubed.org/

Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House.

Lester, F. K., Jr., (Ed.). (2007). Second Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Shanahan on Literacy. http://www.shanahanonliteracy.com/

Spear-Swerling, L. (2015). The Power of RTI and Reading Profiles: A Blueprint for Solving Reading Problems. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brooks.

California Department of Education. (2014, Jul 9). English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework for California Public Schools: K–12. http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/rl/cf/elaeldfrmwrksbeadopted.asp

Consortium for Reaching Excellence. www.corelearn.com

Great Minds. (2015). Lynne Munson. http://greatminds.net/board-of-trustees/lynne-munson

Achieve. http://www.achieve.org/

Website Contributors and Bloggers
Diane Ravitch’s Blog. www.dianeravitch.net

Albert Shanker Institute. Matthew Di Carlo. http://www.shankerinstitute.org/author/matthew-di-carlo

Quintero, E. (2015, May 21). Trust: The Foundation of Student Achievement. http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/trust-foundation-student-achievement See also Quintero, E. (2014, Jul 17). Do Students Learn More When Their Teachers Work Together? http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/do-students-learn-more-when-their-teachers-work-together

Leana, C. R. & Pil, F. K. (2014, Oct 14). A New Focus on Social Capital in School Reform Efforts. http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/new-focus-social-capital-school-reform-efforts

Learning Forward. www.learningforward.org

EduShyster. www.edushyster.com

Education Opportunity Network. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org

Living in Dialogue. http://www.livingindialogue.com/

VAMboozled. http://vamboozled.com/

Hansel, L. (2015, Jul 9). Seeking Confirmation. http://blog.coreknowledge.org/2015/07/09/seeking-confirmation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheCoreKnowledgeBlog+%28The+Core+Knowledge+Blog%29

Daniel Willingham. http://www.danielwillingham.com/articles.html

Kirp, D. L. (2013). Improbable Scholars. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kerchner, C.T. (2016, May 24). On California: Analyzing K-12 Politics and Policies in the Golden State. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_california/

Thomas Fordham Institute. Robert Pondiscio. http://edexcellence.net/about-us/fordham-staff/robert-pondiscio

Cloaking Inequity. http://cloakinginequity.com/

deutsch29. https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/

School Finance 101. https://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/

The Huffington Post. John Thompson. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-thompson/

Jersey Jazzman. http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/

MindShift. http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/

American Educator. http://www.aft.org/our-news/periodicals/american-educator

State and Local Leaders
David, J. L., & Talbert, J. E. (2012). Turning Around a High-Poverty District: Learning from Sanger. S.H. Cowell Foundation. http://www.smcoe.org/assets/files/about-smcoe/superintendents-office/Sanger%20Turnaround%20.pdf

California Collaborative on District Reform. www.cacollaborative.org

California Office to Reform Education. www.coredistricts.org

New York City Collaborative on Performance Based Assessment. http://performanceassessment.org/

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. (2016, Feb 4). Organizing a Network for Collective Action. http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/blog/organizing-a-network-for-collective-action/

Policy Analysis for California Education. www.edpolicyinca.org

Children Now. www.childrennow.org

The Education Trust West. https://west.edtrust.org/

Pivot Learning. http://www.pivotlearning.org/

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