A visionary’s final ideas on fixing high schools

Jul 25, 2013 by

Theodore Sizer

Theodore Sizer

By Jay Mathews –

When Theodore Sizer, known to friends and admirers as Ted, died of colon cancer at 77 in 2009, we lost the nation’s leading scholar on high schools and one of the best education writers ever.

So I was glad to get his just-published book, “The New American High School,” which explains his vision for the future of educating our teenagers.

The school reform organization he founded, the Coalition of Essential Schools, has only three listed members in this region: Arlington County public schools, the New School of Northern Virginia and the National Education Association. But many area parents and educators have read Sizer’s works, including his 1984 masterpiece, “Horace’s Compromise.” Because this area has some of the most ambitious high schools in the country, I looked for ideas in Sizer’s new book that might help us.


Sizer taught high school after leaving the Army, then got a doctorate in education and eventually became dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. That big job was followed by nine years as headmaster of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and many years as a professor and chairman of the education department at Brown University.

My recollection is that he was always temperate in his views. But it is still startling to see him display in his book so little of the hostility toward one side or another that is common in our national education debates.

via A visionary’s final ideas on fixing high schools – Class Struggle – The Washington Post.

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