Common Principles for Uncommon Schools

Horace Ted Sizer

A Quiet Voice

One afternoon years and years ago, when I taught at Watkinson School in Hartford, Connecticut, I showed my students slides of contemporary paintings. Jackson Pollacks, Piet Mondriens, Gustav Klimts and Picassos. I was trying to help them see the importance of the work. The students were restless, frustrated, growing more annoyed with me with each passing image. I realized too

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: Teri Schrader Topics: Common Principles, Ted Sizer

Always There

Everybody seems to have a short memory, which is why we keep making mistakes in this country. This is supposed to be why we study history. The history of the education reform movement from the 1960s through the 1990s seems to elude 21st century attempts at reform—tremendously sad, because there is so much to learn from the successes and failures

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: Dennis Littky Topics: Ted Sizer

CES at 25: The Transformative Power of Principle-Based Education

As this issue of Horace goes to press and with great sadness, we share the news that CES’s founder, Theodore R. Sizer, passed away on October 21, 2009 at home in Harvard, Massachusetts. Ted leaves his wife Nancy Faust Sizer, four children, 10 grandchildren, and a wide circle of loving family and friends. Please visit to learn more about

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: Jill Davidson Topics: Common Principles, Ted Sizer

Horace Talks with Ted Sizer: The History, Limitations, and Possibilities of School Districts

Ted Sizer, founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools and now its Chair Emeritus, discussed his frustrations with school districts as they typically operate with Jill Davidson, Horace‘s editor. Horace: Do you believe that schools work better within systems than as islands? Ted Sizer: Schools came before districts. Formal education in this country started in somebody’s kitchen, then somebody’s church,

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: September 9, 2005 By: Theodore Sizer Topics: Decision Making Processes, Democratic Practice, Ted Sizer

How Changing a Life Can Help Change Schools

Changing lives, changing schools, indeed—any impact I have had on changing schools in any way is because Ted and Nancy Sizer changed my life and growth as an educator. In the summer of 1986, I was living temporarily in New York City and thinking about the ways that the big, traditional high school I was working at outside of Boston

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: Bil Johnson Topics: Horace's Compromise, Ted Sizer

How Right He Had It

I began my professional life as a bilingual high school teacher in Boston before there was actually much formal “bilingual education” to be had. A small group of great teachers and a hundred willing students new to the United States, we made the best of our city, its people, and its places to help understand the world’s big ideas, and

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: Larry Myatt Topics: Horace's Compromise, Ted Sizer

In the Company of Teachers

Every one of us in the Coalition remembers the first time we met Ted Sizer. For me, it was at a small meeting of teachers in Georgia where Ted had shown up to see what they were doing in their classrooms. As usual, Ted stayed in the background, yielding the floor to, as he would say, “The people doing the

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: George Wood Topics: Ted Sizer

Loud and Clear

It’s been over 25 years since I first I ran across Ted Sizer’s name. Harvard and Andover? Not in my “set.” Despite those affiliations, some friends of mine said I shouldn’t write him off, and my reverse snobbery was permanently disarmed when I read a piece he wrote for Education Week. My heart sang. Here was someone talking about secondary

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: Deborah Meier Topics: Ted Sizer

Ted Sizer’s Opening Remarks, Fall Forum 2000, Providence, Rhode Island

Note from the editor: Most Coalition of Essential Schools Fall Forums have opened with remarks from CES’s founder, Ted Size. Ted’s observations reconnected us with our purpose and reminded us that our network is unique, precious, practical, and immeasurably valuable. The thought that Ted shared to launch Fall Forum in 2000, which took place in Providence, Rhode Island, stand as

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: Theodore Sizer Topics: Common Principles, Ted Sizer

Ted, Expecting Us

In a roomful of people, Ted Sizer always went right to the kids. I have seen it countless times: With merry eyes and delighted smile, he would adjust his tall frame so he could speak directly with the young one. And then he would ask just the right question about what this interesting person was thinking and doing. You could

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: Kathleen Cushman Topics: Ted Sizer

Working with Ted

I never worked “with” a boss before working with Ted at Brown University. I had always known of Ted—he was Dean at Harvard Graduate School of Education when I was a student there, just beginning my teaching career. Ted arrived at Brown University in September 1984. I was working at Brown in President Howard Swearer’s office, creating seminars led by

Horace: Ted Sizer Published: December 2, 2009 By: Paula Evans Topics: Common Principles, Ted Sizer