508 Slices
Medium 9781475815894

Legal

International Journal of Educational Ref R&L Education ePub

Todd A. DeMitcbell

Teachers stand at the crossroads of education. It is chiefly through their efforts that the goals of education are achieved or thwarted. As Susan Moore Johnson writes: “Who teaches matters” (1990, XIII). The teacher is the core of our highly bureaucratized system of education. Teachers perform their duty within their classroom both isolated and protected from other educators and outside forces. It is a “division of labor that assigns individual teachers considerable discretion in decisions whose effects are confined to their individual classrooms but affords them little voice in the larger decisions made outside those classrooms” (Shedd and Bacharach, 1991, XII). Once inside their classroom, teachers ostensibly have a lot of freedom to do their work. “When the classroom door closes the teacher typically has enormous latitude in deciding how to teach a lesson” (Maeroff, 1988, 3). One teacher remarked; “When I’m in my classroom, I know I’m in control. I can teach the way I want to teach, do what I want to do” (Lieberman and Miller, 1984, 14). The linchpin, then, of our system of education is the teacher in his or her classroom exercising a large amount of discretion as to how that classroom is run and how knowledge is imparted and skills taught. And, the discretion that teachers exercise in their classrooms predominantly takes the form of speech. “Classroom activities are carried out in large part by verbal interaction between students and teachers” (Ornstein, 1990, 537) and teachers monopolize that communication (Good and Brophy, 1987). Thus, teachers’ autonomy in the classroom is directly linked to their ability to control their speech. But, is that autonomy threatened?

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Medium 9781475815894

Significant Trends in Educational Finance 1980–85

International Journal of Educational Ref R&L Education ePub

JACK FLANIGAN,1 MIKE RICHARDSON1 and R. A. FLANIGAN2

Educational Administration

Clemson University

Clemson, SC 29634

Efforts to define educational reform have been largely unsatisfactory (see Sergiovanni & Moore, 1989). Educational reform in one state could be considered a trend or common practice in other states (Jordan & McKeown, 1990). Sarason (1990, 13) stated that most reform was couched “in terms of improving schools or the quality of education” but omitted the fundamental systems of education. In order to avoid confusion or controversy, educational reform in this paper is defined as reform that is being funded specifically by monies allocated for this purpose as specified by the state. No local initiatives at reform are considered.

Financing Reform

The fiscal year 1979–80 was a significant one in the financing of public elementary and secondary schools. According to Charles S. Benson (1985, 11), “state government for the first time became the primary supplier of revenue to support and maintain public elementary and secondary education.” For the first time in the nation’s history, state government replaced local school districts as the primary financial agent for public school (Odden & Picus, 1992). Benson (1985) specified that over $50.2 billion was spent by state governments on education, or 21 percent of the total revenues appropriated from state coffers.

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Medium 9781475816402

Changing Perspectives on the No Child Left Behind Act

International Journal of Educational Ref Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Bude Su

Education reform, as a change process in daily teaching and learning activity, has never been easy (Cuban, 1986; Fullan, 2001; Sandholtz, Ringstaff, & Dwyer, 1997). The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), a recent nationwide education reform initiative, demonstrates again that change is never easy and not always successful. As a matter of fact, “many innovations in education are either total or partial failures” (Van den Akker, 1994, p. 1491). Why is education reform so difficult to implement successfully? What are we doing wrong? Is there a way to facilitate education reform so that it can be implemented successfully? There are no quick and easy answers to these difficult questions. In this article, using NCLB as an example, change-related theories and principles will be applied to addressing these questions in order to provide insight into facilitating education reform in the future.

The intent of the NCLB initiative, which was first announced in January 2001 and signed into law on January 8, 2002, was to improve elementary and secondary school performance and to ensure every child in America has the opportunity to get an equal education. The four core components of the act are increasing accountability for results, more flexibility for states and communities, greater choices for parents, and promotion of proven education methods (U.S. Department of Education, 2001). Numerous measures in the act are designed to drive student achievement and accountability of schools, including annual testing of students in various grade levels, school-level academic progress evaluation, district- and state-level report cards, high teacher qualifications, and so forth (Rebora, 2004). If a student is left behind three years in a row, he or she should be offered “supplemental education services, including private tutoring” (Rebora, 2004). Schools will be labeled as succeeding or failing based on student average test scores. The act also says that if a school fails to meet the criteria two years in a row, parents can transfer their kids to other public schools. Since its implementation, the act has received mixed responses from education professionals and the general public(Archer, 2003; National Education Association [NEA], 2004; Farkas, Johnson, & Duffett, 2003). Are these responses surprising? In the next section, I consider these responses in the context of change-related literature.

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Medium 9781475816563

Approaches to Teacher Development in China: Hong Kong and Shanghai

International Journal of Educational Ref Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Manhong K. Lai

ABSTRACT: In the late 1990s, Hong Kong and Shanghai began placed increasing emphasis on teacher development to raise the overall quality of education. As such, this research is guided by three questions: First, what approaches to teacher development have Hong Kong and Shanghai used? Second, in the views of teachers in the two cities, how have the different approaches to teacher development contributed to their professional growth? Third, how have reflection and collegiality helped teachers’ professional development in the two cities? This study used a qualitative approach based on in-depth interviews, with a sample of four schools in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Among the four schools studied, only the renowned Shanghai school had a strong teacher development system in place. The other three schools lacked systematic approaches to teacher development. Teacher reflection differed among the two cities: Hong Kong teachers tended to exhibit individual reflection, whereas Shanghai teachers tended to show imposed reflection, a method that had been set into place by the school’s teaching research unit. Collegiality in the Hong Kong ordinary school could be identified as sharing, whereas collegiality in the Shanghai renowned school could be categorized as contrived collegiality. Teacher development in the Hong Kong’s renowned school and Shanghai’s ordinary school mainly relied on individualism.

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Medium 9781475815887

Legal

International Journal of Educational Ref R&L Education 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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