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New Book Discusses Urban Public Education

By Pamela Batson (April 2008)

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - William Lowe Boyd, Batschelet Chair Professor of Educational Leadership at Penn State and editor of the American Journal of Education, has collaborated with two other scholars on a new book to be released by the Harvard Education Press. The Transformation of Great American School Districts: How Big Cities are Reshaping Public Education will be published in June.  Boyd co-edited the book with Charles Taylor Kerchner, research professor at Claremont Graduate University and Mark Blyth, associate professor of political science at the Johns Hopkins University.

boyd.smlThe editors examine the changes in urban education reform by analyzing five case studies of urban school districts and how particular trends in those districts have a larger effect on the public education system throughout the United States. The five case study sites are: Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Among the developments in those cities contributing to changes in urban public education are: federal and state involvement, mayoral control, privatization, and standards-based accountability.

As described by the press release from the Harvard Education Press the authors, “argue that urban education reform can best be understood as a long process of institutional change, rather than a series of failed projects. They examine the core assumptions that underlay the Progressive Era model of public education – apolitical governance, local control, professional hierarchy, and the logic of confidence – and show that recent developments in school governance have challenged virtually all of these assumptions.”

Boyd is a specialist in education policy and politics and educational administration. He has published more than 140 articles and has co-edited sixteen books. He has served as president of the Politics of Education Association and as an officer of the American Educational Research Association; has been a Fulbright Scholar in Australia and England; and has been a Visiting Scholar at ten universities abroad. 

As a practitioner, Boyd has served as an elementary and high school teacher; as assistant to the principal of the University of Chicago High School; as assistant to the dean of the Graduate School of Education and liaison to the Chicago Public Schools at the University of Chicago; as professor-in-charge of graduate programs in educational administration at Penn State; and in a variety of leadership capacities in the summer educational programs at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.