Essays in Education


This paper uses the metaphor of "grafting" to describe the relationship of comprehensive school reform designs to the work culture of schools. One school reform model that has widespread implementation is the Success for All (SFA) reading program. The new practice provided in the SFA reading program offered a compatible "graft" onto the existing culture found in low achieving schools. The grafting on of a new program can only occur as long as its requirements do not stray from the existing traditions of the system. Schools adopt reform programs that offer procedural or curricular changes that fit within their existing systems. However, in schools, as in gardening, the graft cannot repair a damaged root. Rather, the growth of a successful graft is strengthened by a hearty rootstock, and the best "rootstock" is a healthy and supportive culture.

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