Reimagining the Public High School in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Part 1)

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Since 2016, the XQ Institute has awarded almost $140 million to 19 schools across the country to “reimagine” the American high school. They have had five years to do so. Backed by philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, these high schools are in the midst of putting into practice the major changes they proposed for their schools.

Then the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. Except for essential services, businesses, schools, and public services closed in March 2020. Of the 24,000 secondary schools in the U.S. (2018), nearly all shifted from in-person classroom interactions to remote instruction. Such an immediate and fundamental shift in the medium of instruction had never occurred before in the history of American public schools.

In effect, schooling, under the shadow of Covid-19, was forcibly reimagined by school boards and superintendents. Historically, reformers have talked about fundamental change for decades and have sought such planned changes in…

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