Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1995-1996 index

Distributed May 29, 1996
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

Education reformer is retiring from faculty

Theodore R. Sizer receives President's Medal at Commencement

Theodore R. Sizer, University Professor and professor of education, received the President's Medal - the highest honor a Brown president may bestow - for his commitment to education reform. Sizer is retiring from Brown and stepping down as director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform on June 30, but will remain chairman of the Coalition of Essential Schools, which he founded in 1983.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University President Vartan Gregorian has awarded a President's Medal, the highest honor a Brown president may bestow, to Theodore R. Sizer, who will be retiring as University Professor and professor of education at Brown University effective June 30, 1996. The presentation was made during Commencement ceremonies on The College Green Monday, May 27.

Sizer, arguably the nation's leading educational reformer, is retiring from Brown to work exclusively on education reform projects. He will step down as director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, but will continue to serve as chair of the national Coalition of Essential Schools, founded by Sizer in 1983 and headquartered at Brown. His work with the Coalition will center around an extensive schedule of school visits that will give him an opportunity to assess the state of the Coalition and its future agenda. The Coalition, which now includes more than 1,000 affiliated schools, currently is restructuring to vest authority in a dozen or more regional centers. Representatives of these centers will form a national governing body, which will elect an executive committee that will oversee the work of a small national staff to be based at Brown.

The Annenberg Institute for Education Reform was founded in October 1993 as the National Institute for School Reform. It was renamed in recognition of a $50-million gift from Ambassador Walter Annenberg in conjunction with his half-billion-dollar Challenge to the Nation. The Institute promotes and advocates the serious redesign of American schools through research, professional development and collaboration with educators to reshape teaching, learning, school structure and culture. It also strives to engage the public to become advocates for and participants in the redesign of schools within their communities. Approximately one-third of the Institute's work in school redesign occurs with and in Coalition schools.

Since the late 1970s, Sizer has worked with hundreds of high schools, studying the development and design of the American education system. His research was first published in 1984 in the acclaimed Horace's Compromise: The Dilemma of the American High School. The book was followed in 1992 by Horace's School: Redesigning the American High School. The third of the series, Horace's Hope, is due to be published later this year.

Sizer received his B.A. from Yale University, and his M.A.T. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He held several teaching positions before becoming dean of the School of Education at Harvard and subsequently headmaster of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. He joined the faculty at Brown in 1984.

The President's Medal honors a person who has achieved distinction in a particular field, including education, scholarship, public service, the arts or philanthropy. Awarded at the president's discretion, the medal recognizes individuals for their achievements without regard to their service or relationship to Brown. It has been awarded three times before.