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Barbara Taylor

Dr. Barbara O. Taylor, Ph.D.

       Dr. Barbara O. Taylor (A. B., Smith College; M. B. A., Kellogg Graduate School of Management; Ph. D., Northwestern University) was politically active in Connecticut at the state and local (New Haven county) levels in the fields of day care, housing, and human development.  She turned her interests in the field of K-12 public school reform in Connecticut to nationally focused programs, especially the Effective Schools Movement (1985) and the Chicago Reform Act (1986-87).  She and Dr. Larry Lezotte founded the National Center for Effective Schools Research and Development in 1986 at Michigan State University.  In 1989 this center moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was housed for six years in the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research (WCER), before moving to Phi Delta Kappa for dissemination of the training modules (professional development).

      Dr. Taylor pioneered with others the formulation of the Effective Schools ProcessSM (ESP) and served to develop the conceptual base and field application of the method for school change, first conceptualized by Ronald Edmonds (1935-1983) in the state of Michigan and in New York City. 

      The Effective Schools ProcessSM (ESP) has been implemented successfully in over 300 school districts (Phi Delta Kappa Survey, 1995) in the United States and in over thirty countries throughout the world.  

      This reform and renewal effort primarily is defined by the “Correlates of Effective Schools”  first articulated by Edmonds in the late seventies.  The ESP research and implementation continues to be developed today, both academic and applied formulations, and practitioners and citizens find it useful at the school level, as well as district and state levels. 

      History, theory and implementation accomplishments are articulated and synthesized nicely in the book Keepers of the Dream: The Triumph of Effective Schools (Excelsior!, 1995), an update of the textbook originally published by Allyn and Bacon, 1994, with the title Making School Reform Happen.  Both books were co-authored by Pamela Bullard and Barbara O. Taylor. 

      The ESP is based on learning and management theory, and finds its home in the application theory from organizational behavior, management, leadership, and curriculum design, alignment, and teacher education.  Training for all stakeholders in school reform is fundamental to change and the process is taught in courses of professional development available throughout the world.  (Link to Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy; Janet H. Crispeels and TIDES education; Dr. Larry Lezotte ; and Birdsall Group.)  

Professional development is key to this process for change, and it was necessary to bring together educators from all levels of the field to assemble the early “modules” for the training of trainers and training for practitioners, citizens (including parents of students) and school and district support staff. 

      The result of this early work, built on the foundation of theory by the late Ronald Edmonds (1935-1983), was named the Effective Schools ProcessSM.  Dr. Taylor contributed significantly to both the content and contextual conceptions of the Effective Schools ProcessSM, and became an advocate at local, state and federal levels for the training and dissemination of the resulting modules of professional development. 

      Dr. Taylor was a policy consultant to Congressman Augustus F. Hawkins (1983-1991), author of the Hawkins-Stafford Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Act of 1988.  When the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was passed Title I of that measure, “Improving Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged,” was derived from the 1988 statute for which, in turn, the Effective School ProcessSM  provided the theoretical basis.  The statement of Purpose for Title I of the 2001 Act (20 USC 6301) reflects the correlates as outlined by Edmonds in the 1970s and refined by Dr. Taylor and her colleagues in the 1980s and 1990s: 

     ‘‘The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments. ….”

For Dr. Taylor, her colleagues, and a new generation of educational reformers striving to fulfill this purpose in the second decade of the 21st C., the Effective Schools ProcessSM remains the proven key tool for implementation of lasting school improvement. 

 August 22, 2011

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