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IJER Vol 1-N2

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The mission of the International Journal of Educational Reform (IJER) is to keep readers up-to-date with worldwide developments in education reform by providing scholarly information and practical analysis from recognized international authorities. As the only peer-reviewed scholarly publication that combines authors’ voices without regard for the political affiliations perspectives, or research methodologies, IJER provides readers with a balanced view of all sides of the political and educational mainstream. To this end, IJER includes, but is not limited to, inquiry based and opinion pieces on developments in such areas as policy, administration, curriculum, instruction, law, and research.
IJER should thus be of interest to professional educators with decision-making roles and policymakers at all levels turn since it provides a broad-based conversation between and among policymakers, practitioners, and academicians about reform goals, objectives, and methods for success throughout the world.
Readers can call on IJER to learn from an international group of reform implementers by discovering what they can do that has actually worked. IJER can also help readers to understand the pitfalls of current reforms in order to avoid making similar mistakes. Finally, it is the mission of IJER to help readers to learn about key issues in school reform from movers and shakers who help to study and shape the power base directing educational reform in the U.S. and the world.

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10 Chapters

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America 2000 and the Politics of Erasure: Democracy and Cultural Difference under Siege

ePub

HENRY A. GIROUX and PETER McLAREN

Miami University

Department of Educational Leadership

School of Education and Allied Professions

350 McGuffey Hall

Oxford, OH 45056

President George Bush and Education Secretary Lamar Alexander have boldly intervened in the educational debates of the last decade with the launching of America 2000. Simply put, the reform proposal incorporates six primary goals and a number of strategies. The goals are of a highly generalized nature and state that by the year 2000: every child will start school ready to learn; the high school graduation rate will increase to 90 percent; competency will be demonstrated in five core subjects in grades 4, 8, and 12; American students will be ranked first in the world in both math and science; every American adult will be a literate and responsible citizen; and every school will be liberated from drugs and violence.1 The strategies that inform the document include calls for new national tests and standards, choice based educational policies, creation of a new generation of American schools, initiatives to privatize research and funding for the new American schools, and a limited number of proposals for Presidential awards to both individuals or groups as an incentive for improving academic performance. Unlike any other reform initiative produced during the Reagan era, America 2000 is a daring attempt on the part of the Bush administration to structure the meaning and purpose of educational policy around a set of values and practices that take as their paradigmatic model the laws and ideology of the marketplace.2

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Which America 2000 Will Be Taught in Your Class, Teacher?

ePub

LESLEY H. BROWDER, JR.

College of Education

HQstra University

Hempstead, NY 11550

In April of 1991, President George Bush and Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander unveiled the Republican administration’s new education plan, America 2000: An Education Strategy–a strategy designed to “jump-start” our nation’s schools toward “educational excellence.” Initially, reports Denis Doyle (1991), there was an enthusiastic reception toward the plan nationwide, especially “beyond the beltway of Washington, D.C.,” where “education policy analysts in exile” since Democrat Jimmy Carter’s administration “heaped (disdain) on it”–a plan, Doyle describes, as “vigorous, optimistic and upbeat” using the federal role to mobilize public opinion and to focus national energy.

But the exiled Educational Establishment, particularly the National Education Association with a history of staking its political bets on liberal Democratic presidential candidates and groups that support what Gilbert Sewall (1991) calls “older education agendas” of “interests . . . jealously guarded” as well as the eternal cry for “more money for everyone, thank you,” hastily mounted a campaign to undermine the proposed plan. An example of this opposition appears in Voices from the Field (1991), a publication of thirty collected “expert” responses to America 2000. The “experts” produce two token supportive “voices” and twenty-eight, say, “other voices,” ranging in tone from skeptical to outright hostility (like Gary Orfield’s comment that “America 2000 is not a plan for American education, but a plan for re-electing the President”).

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Corporate America’s Prescription for Public Education – An Interview with Robert Wehling of Procter and Gamble

ePub

FENWICK W. ENGLISH

Professor

Educational Administration

College of Education

University of Kentucky

Lexington, KY 40506

English: How did you end up in education and what is your interest in it?

Wehling: I got interested in education by having six children, which is what gets many of us involved in education, sooner or later. My six girls went to school in Wyoming, Ohio. As a parent, I tried to be supportive. That got me involved in going to the school. I tried to spend at least one day a year with each kid going to their classes. That got me involved in school activities. I chaired a few levy and bond issue campaigns. Once you get involved, one thing leads to another and you never get out.

I then became a member of a citizens advisory committee that worked with the school board on a number of issues. That led to running for the board of education. I spent eight years on the Wyoming Board of Education including a couple of years as President. During that time I also spent two years on the Great Oaks Vocational Board, and a couple of years on the Southwest Ohio Regional School Boards Association Executive Committee.

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Political Realities in Setting State Educational Standards

ePub

ROGER S. PANKRATZ

College of Education

Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, KY 42101

Jesse Stuart, the renowned Kentucky author and school teacher, wrote in his book The Thread That Runs So True (1958), that he dreamed of a day when Kentucky children would no longer have to “grow up like uncultivated plants.” He recounted the days of the 1920s and 1930s when as a teacher he observed hundreds of farmers who had better barns for their cattle, pigs, and horses than schoolrooms for their children. Poverty, illiteracy, and unequal educational opportunities were the realities of the day, but powerful politicians often blocked school reforms. Stuart, however, refused to accept the idea that children born in the city or town should have a better education than children born in rural areas.

The dream of an adequate and equitable education for all children, to a large degree, remained unfulfilled as Kentucky approached the last decade of the twentieth century. Statistics that were gathered during the 1980s showed that Kentucky ranked near the bottom among the states in per pupil expenditures on education, high school graduation rates, and adult literacy. Many of the poorer districts spent less than half as much as the wealthier districts on each child’s education, they held classes in run down buildings, and they could not provide students with advanced courses in science, mathematics, foreign languages, the arts, or humanities. Differences in achievement test scores and dropout rates between poor and wealthy districts clearly reflected those inequities (Dove, 1991).

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The Challenge of Total Quality Management in Education

ePub

ROGER KAUFMAN

Center for Needs Assessment and Planning

The Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL 32306-2022

The quest to achieve “total quality” is prudent and timely. Based on Japanese industrial successes resulting in impressive domination of many world markets, there are still cries for education to help make the U.S. once again competitive. While businesses are pursuing quality management programs, attention is now turning to do likewise in our schools.

Total Quality Management (1QM) is a continuous process which intends to deliver to clients what they want, when they should have it. When 1QM is successful, the client will be satisfied with what is delivered. Quality may be defined as providing what is required as judged by the client. It is accomplished through (a) everyone in the organization committing to achieve useful results; (b) a shared passion for quality; and (c) decisions based on performance data.

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Towards a New Prototype of Southern School Leadership

ePub

ALTON C. CREWS

Director

The Leadership Academy

Southern Regional Education Board

592 Tenth Street, N. W.

Atlanta, GA 30318-5790

Recently an Atlanta corporate CEO and I were discussing, over breakfast, the educational reform efforts of the 1980s. We conversed about the strategies that had been used and the results that had accrued. Sadly, we concluded that a decade of fermentative effort had not produced marked improvement in the public schools. Schools in 1991 are virtually the same as they were in 1980. Student performance had notched up only minimally.

As we finished our final cup of morning coffee and prepared to leave, my friend tried to inject a parting shot of encouragement. He stated, “It does appear that we are gradually getting our schools in order. Some good things have come out of the 1980s. We have the herd headed to Abilene. But do we have the trail bosses to get us there?”–ACC

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Legal

ePub

Todd A. DeMitchell

Education Week (9/25/91) reported that at least one dozen principals ousted by the newly elected Local School Councils in Chicago have filed complaints with the federal Equal Opportunity Commission regarding their dismissal. The principals allege that the Local School Councils made up of parents, community members, and teachers have violated their rights guaranteed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.1 The principals believe that they were discriminated against when they lost their positions. The Local School Council (LSC) is an elected body with the power to hire a principal. The Chicago Board of Education, although, still retains many of its general powers. Given this split in authority-the LSC hires and adopts a budget, but the Board has the power to tax, issue bonds, and to enter into contracts–whom do the principals sue? Do they sue the LSC who made the employment decision and allegedly violated the principals’ rights? Do they sue the Board who was not a party to the employment decision but controls the purse strings? If the principals sue the LSC and win, who pays? If the Board is sued and they lose, should the Board have the right to monitor the decisions of the LSC if those decisions carry a potential financial burden to the Board of Education? These thorny but important questions will occupy our attention as we explore the legal challenges of restructuring; the often forgotten part of the dialogue regarding our reform efforts.

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Instruction

ePub

John M. Jenkins

The word quality is a confusing one. It defies clear definition, yet, it is a word that we see and hear a great deal lately. Television commercials and newspaper advertisements claim quality for everything from watches to grocery stores.

A recent book, The Man Who Discovered Quality by Andrea Gabor describes the work of W. Edwards Deming, the consultant who brought the notion of quality to the Japanese and more recently to American industry. Deming says that “quality has no meaning except as defined by the desires and the needs of the customers.” In describing the relationship of the end product to the process, he contends that “the enemy of quality is variation.” In his view, if the manufacturing process tolerates wide variation, then the products of that process will also contain wide variety. Some products will be quality, and some won’t. He criticizes the American practice of placing too much emphasis on the outcomes at the expense of the process. Weeding out faulty products at the end of the process is costly, inefficient, and not conducive to quality.

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Potomac Panorama

ePub

Fenwick W. English

As the Presidential race heads for the backstretch, it seems abundantly clear that the initiative to create “new American schools,” is tied directly to the election outcome. Congress has put the skids to funding the Bush America “model schools,” but business and the private corporation (created to support the design teams) are prepared to pour about $40 million into seeding 30-40 contracts from $500,000 to $1 million apiece. The winners are expected to be announced near mid-May.

Seasoned educational beltway pundits believe that should the Bush presidential election fail, the design teams would be left to die on the vine. In effect, the life sustaining line for them will have been unplugged by the electoral ballot sweepstakes.

The Bush America 2000 plan is a $767 million gamble that a simplistic plan of choice for parents will be the “cure all” for the ills of American public education. Five hundred million dollars has been earmarked for so-called “mini Pell grants.” These grants are named after a successful venture to fund collegiate students and would be extended to include elementary/secondary education pupils in a 50-50 matching venture, $500 from the feds and $500 from state/local sources. The remaining $267 million would be earmarked for merit schools, alternative teacher and administrator certification programs, new American schools, and parental choice.

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College

ePub

Richard P. Manatt

How do you improve, reform, or restructure a public college of education from outside? How do you reduce unnecessary duplication, downsize or, to use the jargon of business, right size a state-wide system of university-based colleges of education? The recent attempt in Iowa to “carve up” the higher education pie using the services of a big eight auditing firm provides an informative, and in some ways, surprising set of answers.

Iowa is a relatively small state in terms of people (2,925,665, according to the census of 1980 when this story begins). Throughout the decade of the 1980s, the state lost population, in part because of a devastating farm depression and in part because the west and southwest have better conditons in terms of both climate and job opportunities. The state has lots of elbow room; it ranks 25th among the states in size with 56,290 square miles. Iowa has mostly white people; it is 96.6 percent white according to the 1990 census.

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