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One of the major domestic policy issues of our time is whether our nation can provide a more effective educational experience for our children. Economists have stressed that the quality of our educational system eventually defines the ability of our workforce, which in turn affects our competitive position in the world market. This issue has earned increasing attention in light of recent reports that students in many nations perform at higher levels of educational competence than children in America's schools.
Inspiring Greatness in Education describes the 21st Century Schools program (21C), a whole-school reform model developed by Edward Zigler over 20 years ago and since then has been in a constant state of testing, implementation, and scaling up. The goal of 21C is to promote optimal child development, which should become manifest in sound educational performance. In practice, 21C provides preschool education as well as good-quality child care before and during the school years, in combination with a number of other family supports. This book will provide an in-depth case study examination of the experience of the Independence School District in Independence, Missouri. The Independence School District embraced School of the 21st Century concepts in 1988, becoming the first urban school district in the nation to do so. This book reveals and documents Independence School District's success as a national model for 21C programming, as well as the experiences, testimonials and opinions of parents, students, teachers, administrators and community officials. By focusing on the impetus and history of the 21C concept, its organic evolution and its applications at the Independence School District, this book is designed to inform, educate, and inspire all who read it and to serve as a model for other school districts that want to achieve similar successes.
Edward Zigler is Director Emeritus at the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, Yale University.
Jim Hinson is Superintendent of the Independence School District, Independence, Missouri.
Jennifer Walker is Director of Youth Development at the Independence School District, Independence, Missouri.