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Learning from L.A.: Institutional Change in American Public Education


reviewed by Tricia Niesz - May 14, 2009

coverTitle: Learning from L.A.: Institutional Change in American Public Education
Author(s): Charles Taylor Kerchner, David J. Menefee-Libey, Laura Steen Mulfinger, and Stephanie E. Clayton
Publisher: Harvard University Press, Cambridge
ISBN: 1934742023, Pages: 290, Year: 2008
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Reading about educational reform efforts usually means reading about the intractability of school practice and the “predictable failure” of school reform (Sarason, 1993). Learning From L.A.: Institutional Change in American Public Education tells a story of 1990s reform efforts in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that, in some ways, fits this pattern. The book provides yet another example of how big ideas, political coalitions, school district manifestos—even public support and funding in this case—ultimately fail to create the change envisioned by reformers. Yet, although the book features an interesting, often-dramatic account of failed reform, it is not a book about failed reform. Authors Kerchner, Menefee-Libey, Mulfinger, and Clayton do something unique in their study; they step back from the “reform projects” to view them in light of a century of institutional history. This longer view allows them to make a counterintuitive but persuasive argument: despite reform failure, significant institutional... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: May 14, 2009
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15628, Date Accessed: 10/16/2019 8:47:43 AM

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About the Author
  • Tricia Niesz
    Kent State University
    E-mail Author
    TRICIA NIESZ is an assistant professor of qualitative research and cultural foundations of education at Kent State University. She is interested in the ethnographic study of progressive movements in the field of education. Recent publications, including articles in Phi Delta Kappan and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, explore how teacher networks influence educatorsí professional identities and practice.
 
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