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Ultimately, the validity of the model described in this book depends on the extent to which schools can and do use it to enhance student achievement. This is in keeping with the long tradition of school effectiveness research. As David Reynolds and his colleagues (Reynolds, Teddlie, Hopkins, & Stringfield, 2000) explain: “The ‘founding fathers’ of effective schools research in the United States, Edmonds and Brookover . . . had an explicit commitment to the work being utilized to improve schools” (p. 206). In this last section, I lay out specific steps for schools to identify those elements of the model that are most applicable to them, identify specific actions to take, implement those actions, and determine their effects. This section is about the process of school reform.
The Changing Nature of School Reform
Anyone familiar with the history of education in the United States is well aware that it is replete with reform efforts. The particular type of reform addressed in this book has historical roots in the 1960s. As described by Reynolds and colleagues (2000), this was the time of the first phase of the school improvement movement. The emphasis in this phase was on the adoption of curriculum materials. The materials were generally high quality, presumably because they were well funded and produced by teams of psychologists and subject matter specialists.