instruction and support services. Other corporations have donated computers and software. Health services are provided on-site by the Minneapolis Children's Medical Center and the Health Department. A fully equipped day care center is located next door and staffed by County Community Services, and a social worker is supported by the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.

School Reorganization

Many of the examples discussed so far are aimed at categorical problems: that is, they are single-component programs that attempt to prevent substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, or school dropout, or they are multicomponent programs that put together packages of health and social services. Yet many authorities believe that these separate programs serve only to "patch up" a few of a child's and a family's problems, and that what young people need in order to succeed requires making more sweeping changes in the way children are educated. In the educational domain, this means altering the ways in which children are taught and designing schools that are responsive to the needs of contemporary families and students. School quality is perceived as the ultimate intervention to ensure the long-term "health" of the child.

Several major authorities have emerged, each with a different view of what has to be done to change the environment in schools. None of these educational leaders is currently attached to a school system, but all of them are heavily involved in shaping school systems of the future through their academic centers. Henry Levin, of Stanford University, has proposed "accelerated schools" in reaction to the continuing failure of the schools to educate high-risk children. "The premises of the remediation approach are demonstrably false," according to Levin, "and the consequences are debilitating" (Colvin, 1988). Levin's group has initiated elementary school demonstration projects that are rich in curriculum content relevant to students' lives. The goal is to accelerate learning prior to sixth grade so that disadvantaged students catch up while they still can. Children are exposed to literature, problem-solving, and a range of cultural experiences, rather than simply being exposed to drill lessons. Techniques such as cooperative learning, peer tutoring, and community outreach are incorporated. Parents, staff, and students enter into contractual relationships that define the obligations of each party.

The School Development Program, a school-based management approach to making school a more productive environment for poor minority children, is an important example of how outside expertise can be utilized to influence the total school environment (Comer, 1984). This process, developed by James Comer from the Yale University Child Study



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement