Redesigning High Schools
The Unfinished Agenda in State Education Reform
Redesigning High Schools focuses on the issues that states need to address if they are to promote changes in high schools and communities that enable all youth to achieve at a high level.
Over the past decade, school reform has been driven by the development of state systems of standards, assessment, and accountability and the high-stakes consequences of failure to meet state standards. However, high schools have been slowest to improve student achievement and outcomes. Now, with many high-stakes systems coming on line, the need for a redesign of high school is critical.
To help all young people achieve high standards will require combining an inflexible commitment to high standards with flexibility in the amount of time young people can take to meet them. This means nurturing and institutionalizing multiple pathways to readiness for postsecondary learning, including options designed to serve students with different achievement levels, different learning abilities, and different learning styles.
What are the implications for state education policy, from kindergarten through the Bachelor's degree? This project will examine state policy challenges and strategies and will work with selected states to implement high-leverage policy innovations.
This two-year project focuses on the issues that states need to address if they are to promote changes in high schools and communities that enable all youth to achieve at a high level. The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Achieve, and the National Conference of State Legislatures are JFF's partners in this effort. NGA manages the project. JFF is helping identify key policy issues and preparing an issues paper for governors and their policy advisors. In the second year, JFF will work intensively in one of the three to five states the project will select for assistance in implementing specific policy changes.
- Increase awareness among governors and state legislators of the need to transform high schools in order to prepare every student to succeed in postsecondary education without remediation and to continue learning in the workplace;
- Identify models that promote effective learning environments for high school-age youth, whether or not they are presently in school; and
- Develop and support governors' task forces or commissions in three to five states, with the mission of developing statewide plans for redesigning high school.