For more than two generations, the traditional urban school system-the district-has utterly failed to do its job: prepare its students for a lifetime of success. Millions and millions of boys and girls have suffered the grievous consequences. The district is irreparably broken. For the sake of today's and tomorrow's inner-city kids, it must be replaced. The Urban School System of the Future argues that vastly better results can be realized through the creation of a new type of organization that properly manages a city's portfolio of schools using the revolutionary principles of chartering.
It will ensure that new schools are regularly created, that great schools are expanded and replicated, that persistently failing schools are closed, and that families have access to an array of high-quality options. This new entity will focus exclusively on school performance, meaning, among other things, our cities can thoughtfully integrate their traditional public, charter public, and private schools into a single, high-functioning k-12 system. For decades, the district has produced the most heartbreaking results for already at-risk kids. The Urban School System of the Future explains how we can finally turn the tide and create dynamic, responsive, high-performing, self-improving urban school systems that fulfill the promise of public education.
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.
Introduction The District as The System Government Services Through Multiple Providers Chartering as The System Managing the Portfolio of Schools Section I: The Traditional Urban School District Chapter 1: The Failure of Urban Districts The Role of Public Education in America's Cities Contemporary Results Longstanding Under-performance Explanation for the Crisis Chapter 2: The Failure of Reform Increases in Funding Standards and Accountability Choice and Competition So What Went Wrong? Chapter 3: The Quality Curve Data Chapter 4: The Failure of Fixing Why Do Failing Schools Survive? Yesterday's and Today's Schools The Stickiness of Failure Defining Turnaround Down NCLB and Failing Schools Owning Up to Failed Improvement Efforts Flailing in the Dark Still in its Infancy? Keep Digging Misunderstanding the Lessons of High-Performing, High-Poverty Schools Beyond Education Section II: Urban Charter Schooling Chapter 5: The Charter Revolution A New Type of School The Evolution of Chartering Chartering and America's Cities The Purposes and Potential of Chartering Chapter 6: The Charter Quality Curve Off on the Wrong Track Variations in Charter Performance Charter Performance Data Charter-District Distribution Comparisons Conclusion Chapter 7: The Systemic Innovations of Chartering Starting New Diversification: Removing Exclusive Authority Authorizing Operators Replications and Expansions Closures Section III: Urban Private Schooling Chapter 8: Private Schooling and the Public System The Development of American Private Education Separating the Sectors Religion and Public Schools Private Schools and Public Policy International Comparisons of Private Education The Disappearance of Inner-City Private Schools Toward a Solution Chapter 9: The Private Quality Curve The Quality Distribution of Urban Private Schools Private Schools in Milwaukee Additional Evidence Conclusion Section IV: The Urban School System of the Future Chapter 10: Characteristics of the New System Closer Than We Think A Word about the District Pillars of the New System Chancellor of the City School System Authorizers School Operators Private Schools Additional Issues to Consider Conclusion Chapter 11: Finishing the Job From District-centered to School-centered The Proliferation of Choice Churning the Schools Portfolio Integrating the Three Sectors