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IJER Vol 7-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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9 Articles

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Should Quality School Education be a Kaizen (Improvement) or an Innovation?

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NICHOLAS SUN-KEUNG PANG

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong, China

In March 1991 in Hong Kong, the Education and Manpower Branch and the Education Department published the School Management Initiative: Setting the Framework for Quality in Hong Kong Schools (SMI) to reform schools on a school-based management model. Its concern is improvement of the quality of education. In November 1996, the Education Commission in Hong Kong published a consultation document, Education Commission Report No. 7: Quality School Education (ECR7). Its major concern is again the quality of school education. If the SMI has already set the framework for quality for Hong Kong schools in the last five years, why do Hong Kong schools need the ECR7? What have been the problems with the SMI? Will there be another policy document stressing that school should be the center for quality improvement in 2001?

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What Can Business Learn from Education? Who Should Be Benchmarking Whom?

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ROGER KAUFMAN

Professor and Director, Office for Needs Assessment and Planning, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2022

Educational agencies are constantly encouraged to benchmark the private sector to find ways to “be like a business” and get “hard-nosed” and “practical.” We are being pushed to improve both our effectiveness and efficiency and thus are among many public and private-sector organizations seeking ways to improve. Benchmarking of other public and private-sector operations, including educational systems, is a popular approach intended to identify ways to improve.

While benchmarking others might be a useful process, it is not without potential pitfalls. In order to avoid common errors, one should: (1) be certain you are benchmarking a useful educational performance model, (2) assure that the processes and procedures being benchmarked will be appropriate for your educational organization, (3) have full confidence that your benchmarking performance model as well as your own organization are headed in the right direction in the first place.

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Private and Decentralized Public Schools: Do They Speak the Same Language?

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JEAN MADSEN

Assistant Professor of Education, Department of Administrative Leadership, School of Education, Enderis Hall, P.O. Box 413, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI53201-0413

School decentralization represents an attempt to dissolve the educational bureaucracy and to allow individual schools to compete in the marketplace. The charter school movement was designed to encourage innovation because these schools, like their private school counterparts, would have the freedom to develop their own missions and recruit students. Consider the following questions: Can these schools capture the essence of market focus as private schools have done? Can these schools respond to their clients as private schools have had to do? These are a few of the many issues we need to contend with as the privatization of public schools becomes more inevitable. This article presents the findings of a study examining the exchanges between private and decentralized public school leaders and their possible implications for school decentralization.

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Life Cycle and Legacy of the Educational Reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean

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BENJAMIN ALVAREZ

Academy for Educational Development, 1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009-1202

Education is a dominant theme in social policy rhetoric and a new hope for the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The educational reforms of this decade have been born with great expectations. However, history suggests that many reforms either die before they are fully implemented or live a short life under the shadow of transitory political agendas or international support. More successful reforms open new development opportunities, create a social capital of institutions and networks, and originate new reforms. An educational reform can be better understood as a macro-social learning process, rather than as a technical re-engineering operation with clear boundaries in time and space. One of its main legacies is perhaps the strengthening of a country’s capacity for further learning and of the values associated with education.

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College and University Faculty Perceptions of the Kentucky Education Reform Act

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JEFF BIEBER

College of Education, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506

One element of the educational continuum that stands to be significantly affected by K-12 education reform, yet has received very little attention, is that of higher education. While there has been some interest in the impact of school reform on teacher education programs (see, for example, Reagan, Case and Norlander, 1993), virtually nothing has been done to as certain college and university faculty members’ perceptions of education reform. Nor has there been much effort to investigate the extent to which faculty anticipate that educational reform efforts will affect their professional lives. This paucity of research exists despite the relationship between K-12 and higher education having been identified as an area of significant import by several higher education leaders (Clark, 1985; Clark, 1993; Nettles, 1995; Massey, 1994).

The study described in this article represents an effort to begin to fill this research gap by reporting on higher education faculty in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and their knowledge and perceptions of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). KERA has been described as “one of the most comprehensive pieces of educational reform ever enacted in the United States. It addresses nearly every aspect of public education in the Commonwealth, including administration, governance and finance, school organization, accountability, professional development, curriculum, and assessment” (Guskey, 1994, p. I). Due to its comprehensiveness, it might be expected that faculty would know more about some aspects of the act than others. This study concerned itself with aspects of KERA that generally fall under the heading “pedagogical issues.” The rationale for this approach is that some aspects of the reform (e.g., governance or school organization) might bear less directly on the world of higher education and, consequently, be of less interest to faculty. In particular, the goals of KERA, aspects of the assessment activities, and dimensions of school accountability were included. These categories were included because they represent, to varying degrees, issues with which faculty are also familiar, albeit in the context of colleges and universities. Faculty have overall goals for their classes and curricula; they are aware of the intricacies associated with assessing student performance; and, increasingly in the state of Kentucky and particularly so for public institutions, accountability is an issue about which faculty are hearing more and more. Moreover, faculty have historically been concerned about the type and quality of instruction high school students receive. Hence, it was assumed that if faculty were going to be aware of and hold well-considered viewpoints about any aspects of KERA, they would be the aspects most clearly linked to instruction.

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The Internationalist

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Peter McLaren, Aimee M. Carrillo-Rowe,* Rebecca L. Clark,* Philip A. Craft*

Professor of Education

University of California, Los Angeles

College of Education

Los Angeles, CA 90024-1521

Peter: I’ve really enjoyed the discussions we’ve been having these past few weeks in Seattle. All of you have been doing some intensive research and work on whiteness. All of you would be defined as “white” from your skin color at least (even though, Aimee, I realize you are part Mexicana). What do you want to say about whiteness? What is whiteness? What do you mean by whiteness?

Rebecca: The first book we read on whiteness was Ruth Frankenberg’s Social Construction of Whiteness: White Women, Race Matters (1993), which of course is not the first academic discussion of whiteness—DuBois (1989) probably should take the credit there—but Frankenberg takes a contemporary look at what whiteness means. Her main point is that when we think of race, we think of"others” and we don’t think of white people and we don’t think of whiteness as a category. Whites in the United States don’t tend to think of themselves as having a racial identity. For instance, a colleague of ours was having a discussion in her public speaking class about ethnicity and one of her students said, “Oh, I’m not ethnic, I’m white.” Because we are the racial center and because whiteness is unmarked and often uncontested, white people have a hard time articulating what it means to be white. But whiteness is pervasive. Peter, you summed it up nicely in your interview with Steinberg that “whiteness is everywhere, yet nowhere, everything, and nothing. Slippery, formless, and yet as intractable as hell when you brush up against it” (1995, p. 143).

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The Instruction Department

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John M. Jenkins

6211 NW 93 Terrace

Gainesville, FL 32653

It is almost tautological to speak of the value of personalizing the educational process. Parents and educators would likely champion the importance of treating each student personally. Parents might view personalized learning as an honest attempt to meet the individual needs of their children. Educators, especially teachers, might agree with the idea of personalized learning, but view it as an impractical theory, impossible to achieve given the current practice of assigning twenty-five-thirty-five students to each classroom.

Historically, models of personalized education can be traced to John Dewey’s project learning, Helen Parkhurst’s Dalton Laboratory Plan (1921), the Eight Year Study (1933-1941), the Model Schools Project (1969-1974) of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and Individually-Guided Instruction developed by I/D/E/A/ of the Kettering Foundation. Implicit or explicit in these models was a four-part process that included diagnosis, prescription, implementation, and evaluation (DPIE). J. Lloyd Trump, Director of the NASSP Model Schools Project, described the personalized model as “a progressive effort to help each individual develop the hobby and career interests that lead to an interesting and productive life” (Trump, 1977). Implied in this statement was the belief that careful monitoring of each student’s academic progress was important to his or her present and future success.

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The Legal Department

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Todd A. DeMitchell

Associate Professor of Administration and Supervision

Associate Chair, Department of Education

University of New Hampshire

Morrill Hall, 62 College Road

Durham, NH 03824-3595

You do not take a person who for years has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race and then say: “you are free to compete with all others.”

President Lyndon B. Johnson (1965)

The unhappy persistence of both the practice and the lingering effects of racial discrimination against minority groups in this country is an unfortunate reality, and government is not disqualified from acting in response to it.

Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena
(1995) (Justice O’Connor)

Government can never have a “compelling interest” in discriminating on the basis of race in order to “make up” for past racial discrimination in the opposite direction.

Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena
(1995) (Justice Scalia, concurring in part and in the judgment)

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The Research Department

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James F. McNamara, Barry G. Grossman,* Coady B. Lapierre,* Wilda Laija*

Professor of Educational Administration and Educational Psychology

College of Education

Texas A&M University

College Station, TX 77843-4226

The National Policy Board of Educational Administration indicates that most current preparation programs for school administrators reflect a shopworn theoretical base and fail to recognize the changing job requirements. As a result, the National Policy Board of Educational Administration (see Thomson, 1993) created the training guide entitled, Principals for Our Changing Schools: Knowledge and Skill Base. This guide was written to provide knowledge, skills and attributes for principals to meet the challenge of the 21st century.

Viewed as a new starting point for principal preparation, the National Policy Board of Educational Administration (NPBEA) training guide produced a typology that consists of twenty-one domains that constitute what principals must know and be able to do professionally. The NPBEA typology (see Chart 1) represents a convenient classification system one can use to better examine preparation strategies for school principals. The twenty-one domains in the NPBEA typology are not discrete but rather interrelated. Eleven domains are process or skill oriented and ten are more content focused (see Note 1).

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