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Designs for Change (DFC) is a 30-year-old, multi-racial, educational research and reform organization. Our basic mission is to serve as a catalyst for major improvements in the public schools serving the 50 largest cities in the country, with a particular emphasis on Chicago.
Designs for Change is unique in the nation in combining high-quality applied research and policy analysis with direct involvement in aiding reform.
Since its founding in 1977, Designs for Change has conducted a series of national research studies focused on analyzing the implementation and impact of a range of strategies for improving urban public schools. These studies have been funded by The Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Spencer Foundation.
From 1982 through 1988, DFC carried out a coordinated program of training, research, organizing, and advocacy that built on our past research and was aimed at restructuring the Chicago Public Schools. A watershed event in this effort occurred in December 1988, when the Illinois General Assembly passed the Chicago School Reform Act, which historian Michael Katz has called the most extensive restructuring of an urban school system in the last 100 years.
For more than sixteen years, DFC has been immersed in supporting the implementation of Chicago school reform in a manner that has improved educational quality and student achievement.
- Semay Johnston
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