Educators can build better schools by knowing, trusting, empowering, connecting, and honoring all their students.
At the Ohio Center for Essential School Reform, our vision of good schooling calls for attention to both academic challenge and the personalization of the school environment for each student. During the past decade, as we have worked with schools across the state that adhere to the Principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools (Sizer, 1984), we have learned that both of these forces are essential to improve student achievement.
In recent years, the education pendulum has swung so far in the direction of academic challenge—as defined by success on state-mandated, high-stakes tests—that educators may be blinding themselves to issues of personalization. This inattention to personalizing education for students has contributed to devastating dropout rates, mounting special education designations, and growing student alienation.