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Harvard EdCast: Community Ed Reform

In 2007, when Kaya Henderson, current chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools, was deputy chancellor, the struggling school system came under mayoral control. At the time, it was one of the lowest performing school districts in the United States. But, now, a short eight years later, D.C. Public Schools is one of the fastest improving urban districts in the country, having four straight years of enrollment growth, increasing graduation rates, and high satisfaction among teachers and students. So, what changed? A lot, says Henderson, at HGSE in November to participate in the Askwith Forum, "If You Want to Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want to Go Far, Go Together." A combination of top teachers, improved curriculum, policy changes, and an increase in family and community engagement and political support is what helped to turn D.C. schools around.

"It's been the complex cocktail of an organization getting better at teaching and learning, and a community, a city, that has really aligned itself to support that work," says Henderson.

In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Henderson reflects on the complexity of education reform and examines successes and challenges during her time as chancellor of D.C. public schools.

About the Harvard EdCast EdCast RSS FeediTunes one-click subscription

The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.