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IJER Vol 5-N1

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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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ROBERT H. BEACH

Professor and Assistant Dean, College of Education, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152

RONALD A. LINDAHL

Professor and Chairperson, College of Education, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614

This article discusses current efforts by the world community to establish and define a human right to education, and the potential influence that these efforts might have on U.S. educational reform. This is an important discussion in that it has implications for changing the Constitutional status of U.S. education. Education is not universally recognized as a fundamental right in the United States. Even in those areas where education is established as a fundamental right under a state constitution, the absence of a clear and accepted definition as to what constitutes an educational right thwarts efforts to determine if that right is being guaranteed. It is the authors’ contention that in the current context, which finds over fifty different independent state school systems and six outlying school systems, each devoid of a federal oversight which accepts and defines education as a fundamental human right, major systemic improvements in the quality of education throughout the United States may not be feasible.

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Barry Kanpol and Peter McLaren

Associate Professor of Education

University of California, Los Angeles

College of Education

Los Angeles, CA 90024-1521

Peter: I’m glad I have this opportunity to interview you, Barry. I have been interested in your work for some time. You are part of an important body of young intellectuals within the “critical” tradition of the educational Left. Could you let readers know a little about you?

Barry: Like you Peter, I am not an American born. In fact, I was born in Australia, lived ten years in Israel, and have also lived in four different states in the U.S. Presently, I reside in Harrisburg, PA. I consider myself what Giroux has described as a Border Crosser. My history has allowed me to move between cultures, religious traditions, and for our purposes, educational systems. Probably due to some oppressive experiences in my Australian school upbringing, I am where I am and doing what I am doing today. As a student, I resisted all aspects of imposition–be it authoritarianism or a curriculum that made no sense to my “jock” self. Sexism was rampant in the Australian way of living. So, I was also hegemonically inducted into being oppressive as well. We moved to Israel (against my will) when I was barely seventeen. I couldn’t speak or read Hebrew. I was functionally illiterate . . . and angry! I’ll cut a long story short by saying that that Israeli experience, feeling like the “other” despite certain social privileges, served me well in Joing what I do today. I became an English teacher, mainly because I spoke English. I eventually married and applied to Ohio State because I had a friend from Israel there. Twelve years later, and I am here with you today.

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