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The Center for Public School Renewal

What Is a Teacher-Led School?
by Barry McGhan, CPSR President
9/7/99

In theory, a teacher-led school is one where teachers have a significant voice in things that matter–who works there (teachers and non-teachers); how much they are paid; what and who (with some restrictions) is taught, and other details (e.g., curricular materials, scheduling, school calendar, etc.). More details on these topics can be found in A Professional Perspective on Teacher-Led Schools. CPSR expects a professional dialogue to develop that will refine and elaborate this concept.

There are few examples of teacher-led schools in existence. The CPSR will provide information on actual schools as they become identified. See Examples of Teacher-Led Schools. In the public sector–the primary interest area of the CPSR--such schools are more likely to be found among public charter, alternative, and magnet schools.

Also, the attributes that make a school seem to be teacher-led will vary from observer to observer. Some schools will be considered "teacher-led" even though not all of the components identified as part of an archetypal teacher-led school are present. The CPSR will not "certify" a school as meeting a set of standards that make it teacher-led. However, we reserve the right to study and report on the nature and variety of schools that may describe themselves as teacher-led. A well-defined concept of teacher-led schools, complete with actual examples, is probably several years in the future.

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