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IJER Vol 8-N3

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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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11 Articles

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International Influences on Private Education in Russia: The Case of St. Petersburg, 1991–1998

ePub

ELENA LISOVSKAYA

College of Education, Department of Education and Professional Development, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-3465

Transition from communism eliminated many social, economic, and ideological constraints to the internationalization of Russian education. Greater openness to the world outside of Russia permitted the influx of foreign funds, human resources, and ideas capable of changing the old and shaping the new educational institutions. At the same time, internal social change, articulation of diverse group interests, and intense search for solutions to domestic problems have made Russian education and society more open to the search of resources and ideas from abroad. International influences may take various forms, ranging from reliance on foreign sponsors or socio-political and pedagogical ideas to exchange programs with foreign educators and teaching students from abroad. These influences may be analyzed in terms of input and output. Input reveals itself in such phenomena as, for instance, an increased presence of foreign students and an implementation of curricula and pedagogies that originated abroad. Output is evident in issuing internationally recognized certificates, increased importance of teaching English and other languages of international business and communication, and preparation for emigration from Russia.

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Standards and In-Service Teachers: Learning to Own the Concept of Reform

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NANCY B. COTHERN

Associate Professor, School of Education, 250 Neff Hall, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN 46805

In 1983, the profession of education was officially “given notice” to improve or bear the consequences. This groundswell occurred as a result of A Nation at Risk, a report written by the US National Commission on Excellence in Education. Since that time, reform suggestions have surfaced from varied sources: churches, parent groups, business and industry, universities, special interest groups, and politicians, to name a few. Interestingly, it is the history of the present education system that has been the major stumbling block to true reform, as the system in place always holds more power than the one being proposed (Sarason, 1990).

Theorists believe that the most effective way to facilitate change is to provide a “skeleton” on which instruction should be based. This would allow state level educational leaders to tailor their programs to meet their needs (Goodlad, 1991). The “skeleton” has been named: standards. Given the promise they hold, national and state level professional teaching standards are here—perhaps to stay. To some this is a good idea, for others a bad idea, and for the majority in-between, a confusing idea (Johnston, Afflerbach, and Weiss, 1991; Purves and Hawisher, 1991).

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Commercialization Trends in Higher Education: The Costa Rican Case

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MARIA DE LOS ANGELES GUIDO

Research Associate, Department of Educational Leadership and Secondary Education, Fayetteville State University, P.O. Box 14077, Fayetteville, NC 28301

Market-oriented thinking has produced an international, across-the-board, privatization boom. As an approach to educational reform, the market model is particularly appealing to ailing developing economies concerned with increasing domestic and international economic competitiveness. While advocates of the market model claim that market-driven reforms will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of school systems, they worry that such reforms will reduce State involvement in favor of individual consumer choice policies shaped by the “invisible hand” of aggregate demand (Jacobson and Berne, 1993). This paradox is particularly problematic for Costa Rica where the national education reform agenda conflicts, on the one hand, with the push to enlist in the transformative drive towards the educational policy and school management market efficiency model led by the United States and the United Kingdom (Bali, 1990; Clark and Astuto, 1986; Harman, Beare, and Berkeley, 1991; Wirt and Harman, 1986, Beare and Boyd, 1993) and, on the other hand, with the push to adhere to structural adjustment macroeconomic policy prescriptions requiring substantial reductions in public employment and public expenditure driven by international aid organizations such as the and the World Bank (Folwer, Boyd, and Plank, 1993). Since the educational system often accounts for the largest shares of both, governments pursuing adjustment policies are forced to adopt reforms that will reduce the costs and increase the efficiency of their schools while they are, simultaneously, pressed to effect policy preferences guided by research assessments of what has worked in the developed world. As a result, governments like Costa Rica are at a quandary between adopting strategies aimed at reducing public expenditure on education and adopting research prescriptions that mirror the target education investment strategies of major developed countries.

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Educational Reform Efforts in Ghana

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GEORGE J. SEFA DEI

Professor and Head, Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 282 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S-IV6

Given the current emphasis on a global techno-fix society, there is great potential that technology will explode and exacerbate existing differences between the North and the South. Even as the rhetoric pertaining to reforms heats up, glaring educational inequities (e.g., access, outcomes) persist in African education. Local governments, educators, students, parents and communities yearn for school improvement in order to address a complex array of problems ranging from lack of material and physical support (e.g., textbooks) to low retention rates in schools and irrelevant curricular and instructional practices. Dissatisfied with rote learning and regurgitation, many educators welcome a focus on developing the critical thinking skills that will allow learners to harness individual and collective creativity and resourcefulness. From this perspective, the pursuit of educational reforms should be rooted in some basic questions: How can schools effectively promote education for the good of society? How do schools promote effective learning outcomes among all students? How do schools ensure that education is defined contextually and that it is responsive to the local needs of ordinary peoples? What are the lessons of effective schooling practices in local contexts?

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The Impact of Leadership Style on Creating Community in Public and Private Schools

ePub

JEAN MADSEN*

Associate Professor, Department of Administrative Leadership, School of Education, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Enderis Hall, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

KRISTINE A. HIPP

Associate Professor, Cardinal Stritch University, 6801 North Yates Road, Milwaukee, WI 53217-3985

Many studies on the principal’s leadership in decentralized and private schools indicate that visionary leadership is necessary for schools to be self-governed (Madsen, 1997). Both private and public school leaders share a common leadership style needed to administer a decentralized school (Bridges and McLaughlin, 1994; Chubb and Moe, 1990; Grace, 1995). In leading these self-managed schools, both types of principals not only build and reinforce goal consensus, but share their authority. Drawing on research conducted in both private and public schools, this paper explores the impact of administrative style on private and public school teachers’ commitment and efficacy in establishing a professional community.

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Looping: The Impact on Parental Attitudes in the Educational Environment

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GET W. NICHOLS

Price Elementary School, 1901 W. State Blvd., Fort Wayne Community School Corporation, Fort Wayne, IN 46805

JOE D. NICHOLS*

Assistant Professor, School of Education, 2101 East Coliseum Blvd., Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN 46805

In a temporal society where continual and immediate advancements are desired in education, it would seem foolish to regress back to the influence of the one-room schoolhouse environment. And yet, with all of our improvements in curriculum, technology, teaching methods, and research, many contemporary education experts are proposing a similar form of restructuring. Their proposal is not a “back to the basics” approach which historically drilled or “coerced” basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills into students’ minds, but a focus back to a time when teachers maintained a stronger influence on their students’ educational development through successive years of involvement and curriculum implementation. These experts suggest that if we could bring back a bygone era when education was not influenced by the automation of technology and industry, we could perhaps create an educational system much different from what our students currently experience.

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Collaborative Kenyan and American Approach to Study Abroad Orientation

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DAVID WALKER

Research Associate and Adjunct Professor, Iowa State University, Research Institute for Studies in Education, College of Education, E005 Lagomarcino Hall, Ames, IA 50011

In today’s interdependent global society, study abroad programs often provide students with unique cultural assimilation experiences and academic and multicultural learning opportunities (Davis, 1997). Because of these rewarding opportunities, faculty and staff within the American system of higher education have begun to support the idea of integrating study abroad courses into students’ programs of study. Narimatsu and Franco (1996) note some of the important educational and cultural opportunities afforded by study abroad programs:

Study abroad programs provide excellent opportunities for experiencing and studying the cultures of other countries. Students who have participated in these educational programs have learned to appreciate different points of view, have gained an international perspective on issues, have developed personal confidence, and have enhanced their ability to function effectively in today’s increasingly interdependent global society. (p. 145)

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Resistance to Change: An Alternative Story

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EDITH RUSCH*

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028-1701

ELEANOR PERRY

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Arizona State University-West, Phoenix, AR

Educational change depends on what teachers do and think—it’s as simple and as complex as that.

(Fullan, 1991, p. 117)

There is a new conundrum among educators who are engaged in the restructuring of American schools. As ideas emerge for altering the fundamental concepts of schooling, change agents are faced with an aging teacher workforce. Literature about change is seldom kind to older teachers, suggesting there is limited compatibility between an aging workforce and profound change. In fact, research on school restructuring frequently identifies the resistance of older teachers as a primary inhibitor of progress. Late stage career educators are often depicted as professionals who have seen it all and who prefer not to actively engage m anything that will disrupt their carefully crafted worklife. Experienced educators are said to possess a “golden age mythology” (Deal and Rallis, 1981), are reported as “just hanging on” (Louis and Miles, 1990, p. 64), are viewed as people just “marking time until retirement” (Tewel, 1995, p. 127), and are labeled as people who “operate as a family” to protect themselves from actions and ideas of new and younger educators (Ross and Webb, 1995, p. 83). One article referred to “deadwood educators” describing them as rigid and uncompromising teachers “who cling to old and outmoded techniques and approaches to teaching and who actively reject innovation, change, and growth” (McCarty, 1993, p. 42). In fact, the organizational dynamics that emerge during school restructuring frequently may lead dedicated educators to conclude that profound change in schools will not occur until a certain group of educators retire. These views are supported by researchers who suggest that principals should, in fact, transfer teachers who are unwilling to support the emergent mission of the school (Deal and Peterson, 1994). The researchers, however, did not provide clues as to what kind of schools would welcome resistant educators. We wondered how many parents wish to send their children to schools filled with teachers who are resistant to change. We, in fact, wondered if the messages about resistance to change are as limiting to school restructuring processes as the purported resistance itself.

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The Internationalist

ePub

Peter McLaren and David Gabbard*

Professor of Education

University of California, Los Angeles

College of Education

Los Angeles, CA 90024-1521

David Gabbard is still relatively new to the fields of educational studies and educational policy analysis. He didn’t receive his doctorate from the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Cincinnati until 1991. Yet, he has begun to establish a name for himself as one of the harshest critics ofU.S. educational policy. In Silencing Ivan Illich: A Foucauldian Analysis of Intellectual Exclusion (1993), he adroitly utilized Michel Foucault’s methods of analysis to identify the limits of educational discourse, arguing that educational discourse does not permit utterances, like those of Ivan Illich, which challenge the school’s pastoral power to deliver the individual and society into secular salvation. Since that time, however, Gabbard’s work has taken a tum away from, but not against, theory. In reading his latest work, it is evident that he is looking at educational policy and educational practice through the eyes of a white, working-class male who has learned to see through the deceit of our contemporary political culture. In many ways, David Gabbard is the Michael Moore of educational theory, eschewing theoretical grandiosity in favor of well-informed, down-to-earth, in-your-face criticism of U.S. educational policy and the forces of global capitalism that continue to drive its formation.

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The Instruction Department

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John M. Jenkins and Janet Weldon*

6211 NW 93 Terrace

Gainesville, FL 32653

Schools ain’t what they used to be and maybe they never was.

—Will Rogers

From the Oval Office to state houses across the nation, a clarion call is being sounded for an end to social promotion, the practice of passing students to the next grade regardless of whether they are academically prepared. It is presumed that by holding students accountable for performing satisfactorily on external tests, school districts and schools will better prepare all students for the tests. It is further presumed that the content of the tests are adequate indicators of what students should know at each grade level.

In Florida, newly installed Governor Jeb Bush has proposed the “A+ Program.” If this program is passed by the State Legislature, currently in session, it will mean that all students from grade three through grade ten will be tested each year to determine their readiness to advance to the succeeding grade. Failure to pass the test will be considered a major factor in determining whether students will be required to repeat the same grade the following year.

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The Legal Department

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Todd A. DeMitchell

Associate Professor of Educational Leadership

School of Education

Sonoma State University

Rohnert Park, CA 94928

Congress sought primarily to make public education available to handicapped children and to make such access meaningful.

—Board of Education of Henrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley (1982) p. 192

A service that enables a handicapped child to remain at school during the day is an important means of providing the child with the meaningful access to education that Congress envisioned.

—Irving Independent School District v. Tatro (1984) p. 3377

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) assures that all children with disabilities have access to “a free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs” (20 U.S.C. § 1400 (c)). Related services are those supportive services that “may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education” (§ 1401 (a)(l 7)). Medical services are enumerated in the list of related services but they are confined to diagnosis and evaluative purposes only (Id.). Thus, what related services are owed to a special education student who is ventilator dependent and needs a trained individual nearby to attend to his/her physical needs while at school? A corollary question is, what nursing services are necessary for a student in order to receive a special education are subject to the medical exclusion section of the IDEA?

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