Education Reformer Theodore Sizer

by NYC Firm Schools on October 24, 2009

Theodore Ryland Sizer, who passed way on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, was an important advocate in education circles and the founder of the Essential School movement. A leader of educational reform in the United States, he worked with many schools, both public and private, in an effort to study the development and design of the American educational system. In 1984 he published Horace’s Compromise and in the same year founded the Coalition of Essential Schools based on the principles he developed in that book.

The Coalition of Essential Schools was founded on nine common principles developed in Horace’s Compromise:

Learning to use one’s mind well
Less is More, depth over coverage
Goals apply to all students
Personalization
Student-as-worker, teacher-as-coach
Demonstration of mastery
A tone of decency and trust
Commitment to the entire school
Resources dedicated to teaching and learning
Democracy and equity

Other works by Theodore Ryland Sizer include:

  • Secondary Schools at the Turn of the Century (1964)
  • Places for Learning, Places for Joy (1973)
  • Horace’s Compromise: The Dilemma of the American High School (1984)
  • Horace’s School: Redesigning the American High School (1992)
  • Horace’s Hope: What Works for the American High School (1997)
  • The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract (1999, co-authored with Nancy Sizer)
  • The Red Pencil: Convictions From Experience in Education (2004)

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