Curricular/Instructional Reforms

Head Start, which serves nearly 1 million low-income children, is the nation’s largest federally sponsored early childhood education program. Designed to narrow the gap between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers, Head Start provides comprehensive programming during the preschool period to improve children’s social competence and academic readiness for...

A postsecondary credential has become increasingly important in the labor market, and college attendance has grown. Unfortunately, college completion remains less common, particularly in community colleges, which serve many low-income and academically underprepared students who often need remedial (developmental) courses. Finding ways to increase the rates of...

Large, comprehensive high schools in urban areas are often troubled environments for teaching and learning. Research strongly indicates that, in such schools, ninth grade is a year in which many students start on the path to low achievement and dropping out. Leaving the more protected environment of middle school, many ninth-graders feel lost and anonymous, unsupported...

Developed by the Institute for Research and Reform in Education ( IRRE ), First Things First is an ambitious comprehensive school reform model that seeks to address the impersonal nature and poor performance of many secondary schools serving disadvantaged students. Calling for changes in structure, instruction, governance, and accountability in low-performing middle...

The problems of urban middle and high schools are rooted in the inadequate preparation that too many students receive in elementary schools, and these problems become most visible in the ninth grade, when students encounter more demanding coursework and tougher requirements for grade-level promotion. In troubled high schools, a large percentage of ninth-grade students...

Elementary schools that educate children at risk of academic failure have traditionally responded by offering remedial instruction that slows the pace of learning. Research suggests, however, that remediation makes it harder for students to catch up and join the educational mainstream. Accelerated Schools offer a different approach: accelerating learning for all...

Community colleges, which tend to be accessible and affordable, serve as a critical resource for low-income individuals striving to improve their prospects in the labor market and life. However, a variety of factors, ranging from a lack of financial aid to inadequate student services and poor developmental classes, can impede students’ progress. Many students stop...

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