Theodore “Ted” Sizer, founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools and the first director of Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform, was one of the twentieth century's leading educational visionaries and reformers. His death five years ago today, at age 77, marked the end of his life but not his significant influence on public education in America.
In this video, AISR Executive Director Warren Simmons, who succeeded Sizer, comments on his predecessor’s contributions, and in particular, his critique of longstanding practices and assumptions about how American secondary schools function.
More on Ted Sizer
Sizer earned a B.A. from Yale and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. After a career that included U.S. Army service, classroom teaching, serving as the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and leading Phillips Academy Andover as its headmaster, Sizer was appointed chair of Brown University’s Education Department.
While at Brown, Sizer founded the Coalition of Essential Schools (1984), which merged examples of the radical school restructuring that was the focus of “Horace’s Compromise,” his book about the state of American high schools. Sizer served as executive director of the Coalition of Essential Schools until 1996; during that time, he also led the Brown University-based Annenberg Institute for School Reform, established by philanthropist Walter Annenberg with a $50-million endowment in 1993.
He retired from Brown as Professor Emeritus in 1996, returning to Massachusetts to accept an appointment as visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education until 2006.