Despite widespread conviction that adequateknowledge exists for improving schools, weargue that the knowledge needed for successfulschool reform goes far beyond what is currentlyavailable and accessible. Drawing on theexample of ATLAS, a collaboration among fourexperienced reform organizations in the UnitedStates – the Coalition of Essential Schools,the School Development Program, EducationDevelopment Center, and Harvard Project Zero –we argue that four significant ``problems ofknowledge'' made it difficult to collect,integrate, and use what the members of theseorganizations had learned about schoolimprovement. First, the ATLAS partners quicklyfound that, while they had substantialknowledge and resources in many areas ofschooling, there were many other aspects ofschooling, school change, and organizationaldevelopment where further knowledge wasrequired. Second, even in areas where thepartner organizations had considerableexperience, they often found that it was hardto articulate and share that knowledge in atimely and efficient way. Third, in someinstances, the lessons that members of thepartner organizations took away from theirprevious experiences were either inconsistentwith one another or downright contradictory.Fourth, the difficulties of creating andmaintaining a new collaborative organizationmay have discouraged the development andsharing of knowledge across the partnerorganizations.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
ATLAS Communities Project (1992). ATLAS Communities: Authentic Teaching, Learning, and Assessment for All Students. Grant proposal submitted to New American Schools Development Corporation,.
Bodilly, S., Purnell, S., Ramsey, K. & Smith, C. (1995). Designing New American Schools: Baseline Observations on Nine Design Teams. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.
Bodilly, S. (1996). Lessons from New American Schools Development Corporation's Demonstration Phase. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.
Cochran-Smith, M., and S. Lytle, (eds) (1993). Inside/Outside: Teacher research and knowledge. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Hargreaves, A. (1996). Transforming knowledge: Blurring the boundaries between research, policy, and practice. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (18), 105–122.
Hatch, T. (in press). What happens when improvement programs collide? Phi Delta Kappan.
Hatch, T. (2000). What does it take to break the mold? Rhetoric and reality in new American schools. Teachers College Record 102(3), 561–589.
Hatch, T. (1998a). Differences in theory that matter in the practice of school improvement. American Educational Research Journal 35(1), 3–31.
Hatch, T. (1998b). How comprehensive can comprehensive reform be? Phi Delta Kappan 79(7), 518–523.
Kearns, D. & Anderson, J. (1996). Sharing the vision: Creating new American schools. In S. Stringfield, S. Ross & L. Smith (eds), Bold Plans for School Restructuring: The New American Schools Development Corporation Designs. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Lehming, R. & Kane, M. (1981). Improving Schools: Using What We Know. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.
Leventhal, D. & March, J. (1993). The myopia of learning. Strategic Management Journal 14, 95–112.
Lieberman, A. & McLaughlin, M. (1992). Networks for educational change: Powerful and problematic. Phi Delta Kappan 73, 673–677.
Lieberman, A. & Miller, L. (eds) (2001). Caught in the Act. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Louis, K.S. (1998). Reconnecting knowledge utilization and school improvement: Two steps forward, one step back. In A. Hargreaves, A. Lieberman, M. Fullan & D. Hopkins (eds), International Handbook of Educational Change (p. #1074). The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
March, J. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization Science 2(1), 71–87.
McDonald, J. (1989). When outsiders try to change schools from the inside. Phi Delta Kappan 71, 206–212.
McDonald, J., Hatch, T., Kirby, E., Ames, N., Haynes, N. & Joyner, E. (1999). School Reform Behind the Scenes. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Mohrman, S., Cohen, S. & Mohrman, A. (1995). Designing Team-Based Organizations: New Forms for Knowledge-Work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
National Commission on Excellence in Education. (1983). A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
Nonaka, I. (1995). The Knowledge-Creating Company. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Resnick, L., Levine, J. & Teasley, S. (eds) (1991). Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Salomon, G. (ed) (1993). Distributed Cognitions: Psychological and Educational Considerations. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Scheffler, I. (1965). Conditions of Knowledge: An Introduction to Epistemology and Education. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Seely Brown, J. & Duguid, P. (2000). The Social Life of Information. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Shulman, L. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review 57(1), 1–22.
Squires, D. & Kranyik, R. (1999). Connecting school-based management and instructional improvement: A case study of two ATLAS schools. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk 4, 241–258.
White, N., Muncey, D. & Fanning, K. (2000). Final Report of the ATLAS Seminar Ethnography Project. Cambridge, MA: ATLAS Seminar.
About this article
Cite this article
Hatch, T., White, N. The Raw Materials of Reform: Rethinking the Knowledge of School Improvement. Journal of Educational Change 3, 117–134 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016516212204
- Development Program
- Education Research
- Educational Change
- School Improvement
- Curriculum Study