Teachers College Press

What School Boards Can Do:
Reform Governance for Urban Schools

Donald R. McAdams

Foreword by Rod Paige
Pub Date: January 2006, 192 pages

Paperback: $34.95, ISBN: 0807746487
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“Based on rich experience and deep thought, this book offers a governance theory that is more than best practices on how effective boards work; it is also a guide to what boards should be doing.”
—From the Foreword by Rod Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education

“Excellent…this book is a must read not only for urban school board members and superintendents, but for every governor, legislator, and staff member who wants to make a difference for the children of America.”
Anne L. Bryant, Executive Director, National School Boards Association

To provide essential guidance to urban school board members committed to high achievement for all children, Don McAdams presents a comprehensive approach to board leadership he calls reform governance. This accessible framework brings together all the work of an urban school board, including everything from big ideas about core beliefs and theories of action for change, to the fundamental relationships and processes through which boards and superintendents work together, and the leadership role boards have in building community support for sustained change. Taking into account the hot political arena of urban education, reform governance:

  • Helps school board members understand why it is necessary to redesign urban districts and what their role in the process should be.
  • Sets forth principles that boards can use as guides to action, and gives real-life examples of how they work.
  • Shows how a strong board and superintendent team can work together to be agents for change.

1. Why Boards Must Lead
2. Reform Governance: An Overview
3. Core Beliefs and Commitments
4. Theories of Action for Change
5. Roles, Responsibilities, and Relationships
6. Building Blocks of Reform Governance
7. Policy Development and Oversight
8. Policies to Transform Urban Districts
9. Building Civic Capacity and Transition Planning
10. Board Leadership

Donald R. McAdams is president of the Center for Reform of School Systems. He is the author of Fighting to Save Our Urban Schools…and Winning! Lessons from Houston.

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