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This monograph brings together what has been learned over the past few decades about children at risk, as it analyzes current strategies designed to improve student and school performance and proposes ways of achieving academic excellence with high reliability. Section 1, "Becoming at Risk of Failure in America's Schools," integrates research on students at risk into a conceptual framework for addressing the societal, home, and school-related factors that influence academic success. Historically, children of color and the poor have been disproportionately at risk in U.S. schools, but they are not the only children at risk. Risk factors are best conceptualized in terms of aspects of societal, home, or school dysfunction, rather than as qualities inherent in the child. Section 2 analyzes traditional and innovative school responses to the challenge of educating students at risk. In Section 3, obstacles to the implementation of reforms are examined and steps are suggested toward developing school organizational structures that may help ensure higher student success rates. Schools must make major organizational changes if they are to produce academic success with the same sort of high reliability that characterizes other areas critical to the public interest. (Contains 599 references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Failure, Disadvantaged Youth, Economically Disadvantaged, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Educational Research, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, High Risk Students, Low Income Groups, Minority Group Children, Organizational Change, Poverty, Program Implementation, School Restructuring, Urban Youth

Autor: Montgomery, Alesia; And Others


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