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IJER Vol 1-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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11 Articles

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The Knowledge Base for Educational Productivity

ePub

HERBERT J. WALBERG

University of Illinois at Chicago

Department of Education

522 North Euclid Avenue

Oak Park, IL 60302

For educational reform to work, it should be guided by an encompassing view of research and practice. Although single studies may be useful in evaluating effective practices, they may be too narrowly focused on one or two practices or confined to peculiar conditions and contexts. Educators need a broad knowledge base from surveys and experiments conducted in the U.S. and other countries. To contribute to this base, this article summarizes several thousand small-scale psychological experiments on classroom learning and analyses of large-scale national surveys of about 250,000 students in elementary and secondary schools in the U. S. and other countries.

A chief concern in education is to better serve “atrisk” students who score relatively poorly on achievement tests in the standard schools subjects. Poor achievement, indeed, was one of the precipitating factors in the bold restructuring of the Chicago Public Schools. It is therefore worthwhile considering the reasons why such objective tests are indicators of risk and its likely consequences.

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Assault on the Bureaucracy: Restructuring the Kentucky Department of Education

ePub

BETTY E. STEFFY

Department of Educational Administration and Supervision

College of Education

University of Kentucky

111 Dickey Hall

Lexington, KY 40506-0017

Most politicians and the general public hold the view that educational bureaucracies are part of the problem in reforming or improving public education (Elmore, 1991; Lewis, 1989). The scorn heaped upon state education agencies is legion in the field. Such agencies have historically struggled to provide leadership and technical assistance to local education agencies and to enforce state law and regulations (Goens & Clover, 1991). They have been handicapped by low salaries, the lack of professionalism within the ranks (partly created by political appointments without regard to professional competence or experience), and the lack of adequate funding (Murphy, 1982). The most dramatic “solution” to the “bureaucracy problem” occurred in Kentucky where the state education agency was summarily abolished when Governor Wallace Wilkinson signed into law the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA).

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Will They Sue? Will They Win? The Legal Audit of Curriculum

ePub

PERRY A. ZIRKEL

College of Education

Lehigh University

111 Research Drive

Mountaintop Campus

Bethlehem, PA 18015-4793

Because of an upsurge in litigation in our society and in the schools, there has been an increasing emphasis placed on “preventive law” (Zirkel, 1985).

The idea of “preventive law” is that the legal profession and its clients should look to consultation and planning rather than on litigation for a solution to many legal issues. By using “preventive law” the number of potential cases is reduced (Brown, 1950).

The Legal Audit, a term borrowed from the accounting profession, has rather recently been advocated for corporate law. Such a process would provide a systematic review of the legal affairs of the corporation against a set of legal standards. The same process is applicable to school districts.

Merle McClung, then of The Education Commission of the States (ECS) advocated a four-step model to assess potential educational innovations on a 1 to 5 scale of legal vulnerability (McClung, 1981). This preliminary idea has been fully developed into a legal audit of curriculum in the schools. The purpose behind the legal audit of curriculum is to provide school administrators with a procedure to systematically review local policies and practices before they become involved in litigation by showing them the potential likelihood a suit would be successful against them.

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The Last of the Breed in Kentucky: An Interview with John Brock

ePub

BETTY E. STEFFY

Department of Educational Administration and Supervision

College of Education

University of Kentucky

111 Dickey Hall

Lexington, KY 40506-0017

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. John Brock was elected to serve as State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Kentucky in 1987 for a four-year term. His official duties were drastically altered as a result of the passage of KERA (Kentucky Educational Reform Act). While there will still be the constitutional office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, nearly all of the duties have been shifted to an appointed Commissioner of Education, Dr. Tom Boysen, formerly San Diego County Schools Superintendent in California. As such, Dr. Brock is the last State Superintendent to hold the full duties embodied in that constitutional office in the Bluegrass State. John Brock was interviewed by IJER co-editor Betty E. Steffy in Frankfort, Kentucky.

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Diversity: A “Correct” Action for Universities

ePub

JOHN N. MANGIERI

Provost and Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs

University of New Orleans, LA 70148

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines diversity as “the condition of being different” [1]. What a remarkably clear and innocuous definition for such a complex and controversial concept!

That this disparity exists is indeed indicative of the debate about diversity on our nation’s campuses. Green points out instances where “ ‘diversity’ connotates passive coexistence” of multiple ethnic and racial groups within a university [2]. Critics contend that diversity is counterproductive to academic quality and academic freedom. Reginald Wilson, an advocate, states, “The inclusion of diverse voices in the educational dialogue is vital to the search for truth: that is its only purpose” [3]. Woodward, in a review of D’Souza’s book, Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus, offers a dramatically different view-point of diversity than Wilson. He contends that advocates of diversity have “proved themselves willing to silence speakers and professors, abuse standards of scholarship, curriculum, and admissions, and impose conformity or silent submission on campuses” [4].

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National Standards for School Administrators

ePub

SCOTT D. THOMSON

Executive Secretary

National Policy Board for Educational Administration

4400 University Drive

Fairfax, VA 22030-4444

The National Policy Board for Educational Administration, an umbrella organization of ten national groups, was founded to improve the preparation and certification of educational leaders. Specific goals include: (1) developing and disseminating new preparation and professional development programs, (2) establishing a national certifying board for professional candidates, and (3) increasing the recruitment and placement of women and minorities in positions of school leadership.

Governance for the National Policy Board is provided by a 20 person board of directors, the presidents and executive directors of the ten sponsoring associations, all of whom represent academicians or practitioners in the field of educational leadership1.

A chorus of critics have documented the deficiencies typical to programs for preparing school leaders: content driven, theory dominated, skill deficient, unrelated to problems of practice, and incorporating obsolescent delivery systems. Despite a broad displeasure with programs, especially among superintendents and principals, only a few universities have launched serious design changes. Resistance to program revision remains strong.

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Can the Frog Become a Prince? Context and Change in the 1990s

ePub

ROBERT L. LARSON

College of Education

University of Vermont

Dept. of Organization Studies

Waterman Building

Burlington, VT 05405-0160

In this article we will examine the current societal and educational context for change in public schools, noting the real conditions that affect most schools today–conditions that create formidable roadblocks to reforming or restructuring the organization. We will look at the “two culture” phenomenon whereby politicians and critics of schools operate at one level and practitioners at another level; we will look at some ramifications of that phenomenon–including the fact that many policymakers and many critics do not appear interested in the problems that schools face nor in learning the solutions from research and practice.

We will also take a brief tour of the change literature, illustrating that we now know a lot about the processes, that that knowledge is in a form that is available and instructive to practitioners, and that most schools are capable of effecting considerable innovations that can lead to real improvement. However, the literature also illustrates that there is no one approach that is a sure approach in changing any school. Each setting is unique and often constrained considerably by local conditions within and without the organization. Recent findings from research and practice show that some new approaches to school improvement appear to be more effective than former ones, but that, in all likelihood, they will facilitate evolutionary rather than transformational change in schools.

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Legal

ePub

Todd A. DeMitcbell

Department of Education

College of Liberal Arts

Morrill Hall

University of New Hampshire

Durham, NH 03824–3595

For two days in October of 1989, 313,000 persons in Chicago took part in a major school reform effort. Those individuals voted to elect 5,420 members of Local School Councils in 542 public schools (Hess, 1991). This election was the cornerstone of the Chicago School Reform Act (P. A. 85-1418), which was intended to improve the education of the city’s youth. However, on November 30th of 1990, the Supreme Court of Illinois declared this election process unconstitutional.

The reform legislation that resulted in the Chicago School Reform Act was based on the premise that strengthening the democratic control process would result in improved schools. The Act called for a fundamental restructuring of the governance process. The intent was that each local public school in Chicago elect a ten person Local School Council (LSC). Increased authority for school decisions would be granted to this body with the Board of Education of the entire district retaining many of its general powers and responsibilities. This new school council would be responsible for electing a principal for a four-year term, adopting a budget, and devising a school improvement plan. Therefore, the governance pattern that characterized most American schools was restructured with substantial amounts of power being transferred to the new LSC.

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Instruction

ePub

John M. Jenkins

Director, P. K. Yonge Lab School

College of Education

University of Florida

1080, S.W. 11 St.

Gainesville, FL 32611

As the rhetoric increases toward the need for restructuring our schools, let us not lose sight of the fact that schools exist for the education of students. Any recommendation to restructure must, by its nature, begin and end with the learner. This is, after all, the raison d’etre for schools as institutions.

The notion of having a teacher in the school who knows each student educationally as a total human being is not new. It was part of Helen Parkhurst’s Dalton Plan in 1921, and subsequently a key ingredient of both secondary school reform in the Eight Year Study in the 1930s and the National Association of Secondary School Principal’s Model Schools Project in the 1970s. This teacher was known as a teacher adviser who was assigned the responsibility of monitoring a student’s progress through school.

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Potomac Panorama

ePub

William E. Henry 1

Executive Director

Montgomery County Public Schools

19737 Greenside Terrace

Montgomery Village, MD 20879–1902

For years we’ve had two recurring “C” words in our vocabulary. Only one of them, however, warranted a capital “C” for Choice, as in abortion–anti or pro. A woman either does, or does not, have a Choice to terminate a pregnancy within court-defmed parameters.

The other “c,” while rattling around in some educational journals for years, and in countless think-tank papers churned out for education reformers, governors, legislative bodies, and for just pure intellectual stimulation, was never accorded the status of full-fledged capitalization. It rarely showed up in mainstream publications or rhetoric, generally was reserved for debates and mostly esoteric discussions, and then was put back on the shelf until the next forum was held.

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College

ePub

Richard Manatt

Professor of Educational Administration

College of Education

Iowa State University

Ames, IA 50010

Launching a new column in a new journal requires what a minister calls a few “centering” or framing ideas. Some seasoned professors might consider reforming education colleges an oxymoron. Perhaps education colleges can’t be reformed. They seem to be so resistant to change. Perhaps we’ve never really been serious about reform. We always seem so tentative, so cautious. An old Russian proverb reads: “You can’t cross a chasm in two leaps!” Perhaps we need to make that one big jump? In this issue we’ll examine vision, the problems that call for reform, and some of the proposed reform initiatives for the 1990s. In later columns I’ll examine some of the more promising reform initiatives in depth.

Deans, provosts, chancellors, and university presidents are supposed to have “vision.” Like George Bush, many find the “vision thing” elusive. Vision is not a secret power nor is it the exclusive province of politicians. Vision means having a clear idea of what you want the future to be for your business, college, university, or state and having a coherent notion of how to bring it about. The vision of a dean or a university president is most often mentioned in their stump speech as they seek a new position, or as they follow their entry plan as they go through their inaugural year in a new position. During that time supporters praise “grand strategy” while critics lament “harsh tactics.”

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