The Disadvantaged Schools Program (D.S.P.) has been an important and integral part of education for many students in Australia for over a decade. The original goals and philosophy of the program still hold true today. However, we suggest that perhaps it is time to build on the foundation which has been developed by adding a much stronger academic strand as part of the overall D.S.P. mission. Recent school effectiveness findings offer a powerful and compatible opportunity for the D.S.P. to provide a more complete education for their students. The adoption of the school effectiveness characteristics by D.S.P. schools would not interfere with, but rather would enhance an already valuable program. The eight most important school effectiveness variables are reviewed in this article. We then argue that by combining the current focus of the D.S.P. with the focus of effective schools research, the overall quality of education received by students in Program schools can be enhanced. We argue that critical elements of the effective schools movement, such as emphasis on academic success and cognitive skills, can help create D.S.P. projects that produce a wider array of important student outcomes. By making effective school variables an important aspect of the D.S.P., we believe that both equity and quality will be emphasized to a greater extent than they are currently.
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