Lessons from a Reformer

Glazer, Nathan. "Lessons from a Reformer." Review of As Good As It Gets by Larry Cuban, Education Next, Fall 2010.

Excerpt: Larry Cuban is a prolific and insightful chronicler and analyst of our efforts at urban school reform and improvement over the last few decades. In As Good As It Gets he adds the case of a successful school superintendency, that of Pat Forgione in Austin, Texas, from 1999 to 2009. When Forgione arrived the district was in turmoil, marked by micromanagement by the school board. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) had just rated the Austin Independent School District (AISD) “unacceptable” because the dropout data it had submitted were deemed “unreliable.” TEA was investigating charges of cheating on state tests, and national bond-rating agencies had placed AISD on a “negative watch” because of these troubles. When Forgione left, Cuban writes, “his performance matched that of big-city superintendents who have received national awards for their district’s improvements, such as Carl Cohn in Long Beach, Calif., Beverly Hall in Atlanta, and Tom Payzant in Boston.”

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