Campus Units

Education, School of

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Encyclopedia of educational leadership and administration



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Last Page



The call to reform K- 12 public schools has been an enduring movement in the United States since the 1850s, when Horace Mann helped establish common schools in Massachusetts. School reform is characterized by cycles of what educational historians have termed progress and regress. One day schools are the best vehicle for the nation's overall progress toward a well-educated citizenry. In the next period, their failure is predicating the downfall of the nation's future. Reform tends to occur when the public is convinced that schools are regressing and something must be done to fix them, but at the heart of such pessimism is an inherent progressive ideal that schools can be fixed and that fixing them will indeed lead to a better nation.


This is a chapter from Marshall, J. M. (2006). Reform, of Schools. In F. English (Ed.), Encyclopedia of educational leadership and administration (Vol. 2, pp. 856-860). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. For more information, click here. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Sage Publications, Inc.



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