Reaching For a Better Standard
English School Inspection and the Dilemma of Accountability for American Public Schools

Teachers College Press, New York, NY

Thomas A. Wilson
series on school reform
Pub Date: 1995, 288 pages


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Thomas A. Wilson uses the tradition of English school inspection as a mirror for reflecting on the dilemma in American School accountability. Reaching for a Better Standard ranks as one of the most authoritative description of inspection to date, but its focus on American issues is what makes it compelling and controversial. This book will be indispensable to all that are interested in teaching, educational assessment, administration, leadership, policy, and reform.

Praise for this Book:

"…Suppose you could take [a] step back and see the whole inspection process through other eyes? That is what Thomas A. Wilson's Reaching for a Better Standard [Teachers College Press] allows. This American book sets out to examine the English school inspection system with a view to finding out whether there are lessons to be learned for American schools.

Well written and lively, it makes absorbing reading – one of the few education books you could read for pleasure. … It is beautifully done, and entirely convincing."

-Times Educational Supplement (London, November 15, 1996. Section 2, p.7.)


"This is a book which strikes at the cultural center of how we define good work in schools Wilson speaks like an elder of the tribe, and we all need to hear his wise words."
–Journal of Curriculum Studies


"Much of what Tom Wilson so thoughtfully describes will hopefully be adapted to our local school communities. He's given us tools of immense value for tackling our own school crises."

Deborah Meier, Founder, Central Park East Schools


"We should pay attention to what Wilson tells us in this thorough and important book. American education needs the fresh and humane eye that the best of inspection can provide us."

Theodore R. Sizer, Director, Annenberg Institute for School Reform


"This book could not be more timely or significant. We need basic change in our thought and practice of accountability. Wilson points us on the way."
Frederick Erickson , University of Pennsylvania


"Destined to provoke controversy as it challenges us to rethink how we evaluate schools."
Anthony S. Bryk, University of Chicago


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