Reporting from the front lines of America’s most important education reform effort-the movement for small schools
The basic blueprint of American high schools hasn’t changed in a century, and we are paying a heavy price. Anonymous, enormous, and resistant to change, huge American high schools are incapable of educating all children to high levels today, as dropout rates and remedial courses in college make increasingly clear.
High Schools on a Human Scale shows the huge power of small schools, perhaps the nation’s fastest- growing reform idea. Tom Toch takes us inside four very different small schools around the country-from an entrepreneur’s high-tech charter school in San Diego to a school formed out the of the breakup of a huge public high school in Manhattan. All are small enough so that every student is known well by adults, and the results are remarkable. Together they show the proven virtues of small schools-safety, community, and high achievement.
This book is sponsored in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s $40 million effort to support small schools nationwide.
“Imagine a high school where every student knows every teacher and most other students. Where security comes not from metal detectors but from everyone’s knowing who doesn’t belong. Where community replaces bureaucracy and no one is lost in the crowd—because there is no crowd. With his portraits of five small high schools that break the mold, Tom Toch makes an engaging and often provocative case for a less industrial, and more personal, brand of education.” —-Jonathan Rauch, The Brookings Institution, author of Government’s End: Why Washington Stopped Working
“Toch has written a compelling account of the promise and challenges of smaller more personalized schools. High Schools on a Human Scale is required reading for educators, policymakers, and anyone else seeking to modernize public education to better serve all students.” —-Andrew Rotherham, Director, 21st Century Schools Project, Progressive Policy Institute