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The Coalition of Essential Schools Common Principles


"Theodore Sizer captured the national imagination when he compassionately, carefully, and forcefully conveyed that there was little value in "tinkering around the edges" of the institution of schooling. Instead, he believed we needed to invent, create, and re-imagine what school should be according to a set of principles. These principles, the CES Common Principles, inspire, guide, and challenge us to be bold. Ted urged us to remake schools and their systems to allow sustained and deliberate focus on every individual student, to honor the professional lives of educators, to structure schools with fundamental commitments to democracy and equity, and to teach and learn essential content with more depth and mastery. His vision of the Common Principles requires us to liberate intellectual pursuit from the bonds of "disciplines" and senseless schedules, and to assess student learning and school effectiveness based on first-hand, detailed understandings of what students know and can do. And he made it clear that the culture of a school and its academic endeavors are, quite simply, one."