Ted Sizer was an innovative thinker about high school education but his premise was simple -- respect students. That didn't mean coddling them; it meant having high expectations for them. It meant acknowledging that these young people have talents and abilities and want and need guidance and direction, but they also want to be respected. He felt that when teachers approached students more as mentors then positive learning could take place. Read more about this remarkable and dedicated educator at the NY Times.
It should also be noted that Ted Sizer had a learning disability and when he was a student he was told by his teacher that he should not plan on going to college. Thankfully, Sizer did not listen to that teacher and went on to become one of the nation's most influential educational leaders, and in particular was Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Headmaster of Phillips Academy, Andover.