Theory of Action: Public Engagement for Sustained Reform

May 14, 2001
For schools to sustain improvement -- and, ultimately, for the public to take back responsibility for the quality of public schools -- the Public Education Network (PEN) believes that the public must be more fully engaged in deciding on the right policies for its public schools and must be vigilant in ensuring that these policies are appropriately applied. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT + SPECIFIC SCHOOL REFORM GOALS = SUSTAINED POLICY AND PRACTICE and THE PUBLIC TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS PEN proposes this "theory of action" to describe public engagement efforts that can help accomplish these goals. We define public to include three distinct audiences: the public at large, organized stakeholder groups, and policymakers. And we define engagement to include three distinct strategies: community organizing, community-wide strategic planning, and advocacy. Local Education Funds (LEFs) will facilitate these efforts and test this theory by employing these strategies to address three school reform issues: Standards and Accountability, Teacher Quality, and Schools and Community.
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