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Learning from L.A.: Institutional Change in American Public Education
Authors: Charles Kerchner
Contact: charles.kerchner@cgu



The first sentences in The Transformation of Great American School Districts lays out the conclusion of the research of my colleagues and I undertook over the last five years:


This book argues that urban education reform can best been understood as a process of institutional change rather than a series of failed projects. More specifically, we argue that to understand such changes one needs to pay attention to the basic ideas and assumptions that underpin these institutions.  Indeed, we argue that virtually all the Progressive Era assumptions that provided the underpinning for urban education have now been violated, and that a set of new underlying ideas is being “auditioned,” and in some cases “rehearsed,” as we transition to a new and more hybrid set of institutions.



The institutional argument is developed in the pages of The Transformation… and in its companion book, Learning from L.A.: Institutional Change in American Public Education, both published by Harvard Education Press, and available from their web site.


·        For a short summary of the book and why it matters.

·        For a video interviewexplaining the difference between a project and institutional viewpoint.

·        For background papers about Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School district that contain data beyond the capacity of Learning from L.A.


In June, we introduced the ideas in Learning from L.A. to an audience of reformers who had led the LEARN and LAAMP reforms in the 1990s and reformers active today in the District, in charter schools, and in community based organizations. For videos of the conference including the opening speech by Virgil Roberts, my PowerPoint presentation, and videos of the panels of education reformers.

A discussion of what Learning from L.A. means for schools and educators outside of central cities is contained in this current issue of the Claremont Graduate University Education Letter.
Click here to read.

Your comments are welcome below; we will respond.





Date submitted: 02/18/2010
Date approved: