Built to Fail: Structural Deficiencies and Student Failure
This book argues that American schools are marked by fundamental structural deficiencies that get in the way of student achievement. The structural deficiencies are pervasive. They include the emphasis on grade level, building large schools and districts, and insistence on building comprehensive high schools. These structural deficiencies negatively impact achievement for all kids, but they are particularly detrimental to at-risk populations. In fact, at-risk populations are negatively impacted to such a disproportionate degree that to continue to maintain these structural deficiencies borders on racism at the worst or pure negligence at the least. After identifying the structural problems, the authors consider what the best schools in the U.S. and other countries do to promote excellence. Based on what works, the authors offer suggestions for fixing the broken structure and promoting educational excellence. The book ends with a self-diagnostic tool to help schools and districts identify their structural deficiencies and prioritize an action plan for eliminating those deficiencies.
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