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PATTERNS IN MAKING GOVERNMENT WORK
The success of the reforms for the Denver School District, specifically Manual High
School, were not only dependent upon the execution of the planned reform, but also the
expectations of various actors as well. These expectations created difficulty for the reforms
proposed by Michael Bennet to be accepted and implemented. However, expectations of others
were found in numerous places.
Michael Bennet himself had the expectation that students wanted to learn and desired
more for themselves, with a strong desire to receive their high school diploma, which was
evidenced based upon his aggressive changes in curriculum and decision to close Manual High
School. These expectations proved to be false for the most part, and thus contributed to the
decline in enrollment and increase in absenteeism. Likewise, students held the expectation that
Mr. Bennet simply wanted to close their school and did not care for their well-being or
education. This expectation was evidenced in their protests. Community members also held the
same expectations of students, adding racism and lack of concern for minority groups into the
mix (Boo, 2007). These expectations created an immense amount of resistance to Mr. Bennet’s
plan, causing implementation to move slowly, requiring creative thinking to overcome these
expectations and be successful.
The reforms seen in the Denver School District is one example of many administrative
reforms. However, like the Denver School District reform, there are general advantages and
disadvantages of administrative reforms. Advantages can be that successful reforms work to
better the community and the quality of life for community members. In the case of Denver, the
advantage was minority students gaining an education (Stillman, 2010). However, disadvantages
PATTERNS IN MAKING GOVERNMENT WORK
can be the disconnect from society or the community that is being reformed, which can result in
the reform causing more damage than good. A prime example of this is the No Child Left
Behind Act that was intended to improve the quality of teaching, but instead left schools like
Manual High School worse off than before its implementation.

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