By William G. Ouchi
Brief Review by Alagi Yorro Jallow.
Fatoumatta: An excellent book. Dr. William Ouchi describes a revolutionary approach to creating successful public schools by introducing a bold, persuasive new argument into the national debate over education. Making Schools Work shows how the same system can be adapted to public schools. The book also provides guidelines for parents on evaluating a school and making sure their child is getting the best education possible. Revolutionary yet practical, Making Schools Work shows that positive educational reform is within reach and already happening in schools across America. I have read this excellent book before, but it became relevant to re-read as I applied to graduate school. I was interested in how to design and operate successful schools more effectively, and this book offers a very readable, well-researched, and passionate introduction to these questions. Dr. Ouchi, organizational studies and business professor at UCLA, studied over 200 schools in six large districts and identified his “Seven Keys to Success” for managing effective schools. Chief among them focus on decentralizing the district, allowing principals considerable autonomy to manage their schools according to local needs. In addition, he advocates for principal staffing and budgetary control, coupled with increased accountability for performance to make sure the principals deliver. He also emphasizes prioritizing student achievement above all other goals and making the school a community of learners. The final element of Ouchi’s plan is real school choice options to ensure that no student is trapped in an unsuccessful neighborhood school.
Fatoumatta: He concludes with a guide for parents on evaluating their child’s school and suggestions for both parents and educators to incorporate elements of success. Though you may disagree with some of Ouchi’s assertions, he raises essential ideas. I highly recommend this book to both parents and teachers.