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IJER Vol 23-N2

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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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5 Articles

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Reforming General Education: A Departmental Experience With Mission and Assessment

ePub

Joseph M. Valenzano III

Samuel P. Wallace

ABSTRACT: Changes to general education curricula are taking place across the globe. From the Bologna Process in Europe to the Liberal Education and America’s Promise initiative in the United States, colleges and universities are reforming what constitutes general education for their students. At the University of Dayton, such reforms took the shape of a massive overhaul of general education to the new, student learning–driven Common Academic Program. The Department of Communication at the University of Dayton was forced to fundamentally change its basic course in communication, formerly delivered in three separate one-credit modules, to a three-credit course with a different focus. This article details the story of how the Common Academic Program unfolded, what effect it had on the Department of Communication, and what process of reform was undertaken by the department to ensure that the new course remained a core aspect of the new Common Academic Program. This experience offers lessons to departments and administrators at institutions everywhere on how to effectively reform a general education course to accommodate a student learning focus, fit to university mission, and address the needs of the campus.

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Inclusivity in the Classroom and International Achievement in Mathematics and Science: An Exploratory Study

ePub

Lucy Barnard-Brak

Tianlan Wei

Marcelo Schmidt

Rebecca Sheffield

ABSTRACT: Purpose: Few studies have examined the role of inclusivity in international assessments of student achievement, such as the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). The current study examined how the inclusivity of students with disabilities at the classroom level across countries may be associated with achievement scores, thus affecting national rankings. Method: To achieve this purpose, TIMSS mathematics and science achievement data were utilized. Findings: Results revealed how national rankings may be adjusted after examining the role of inclusivity in the classroom while statistically controlling for national economic and well-being indicators. Limitations: In terms of international comparisons, a country’s history and culture can be critical in understanding its educational system and how it relates to the observed outcomes. The variables that we included in this study are quantified indicators that may reflect only some facets of each country’s education system and special education inclusivity. Practical Implications: This study provides an overview of the measurement issues of children with disabilities within schools from the international context of the TIMSS while exploring the impact of student participation on rankings. Social Implications: The current study provides an empirical investigation of how country rankings in international assessment can move according to sociopolitical decisions. Originality: The current study is the first of its kind to examine the impact of inclusivity in the classroom on country rankings in international assessments.

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Arab Parents’ Involvement in School Reform in Israel

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Khalid Arar

Khaled Abu-Asbah

Muhammed Abu Nasra

ABSTRACT: Current research indicates that parental involvement positively influences children’s academic success. This study investigates parental involvement in the Arab education system in Israel, highlighting involvement in the New Horizon reform. We interviewed school principals and parent committee chairpersons from 15 Arab schools. The study confirmed recognized parent involvement patterns in schools: First, schools avoid involving parents, thereby limiting participation to material assistance. Second, schools view parents as a threat. Third, parents feel that schools promote academic achievement rather than education. We suggest paths to encourage meaningful parent involvement to improve the Arab education system in Israel, relevant also to educators in other developing societies.

Education systems in developing societies, especially among minority groups, are criticized for being traditional, authoritative, and too focused on syllabus-driven and textbook-centered knowledge transfer (Komatsu, 2009; Mohammed & Harlech-Jones, 2008). Public reports have argued that education systems globally, including the Israeli education system, are in the midst of a long-lasting crisis (see the Dovrat report of the National Education Program, 2005; Volansky, 2006) and that they fail to achieve their aims despite heavy investment in education reforms (Ben-David, 2010).

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Education Cities

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Haim Shaked

ABSTRACT: In recent years, several cities in Israel have labeled themselves Education Cities, concentrating on education as their central theme. Employing qualitative techniques, this article aims to describe, define, and conceptualize this phenomenon as it is being realized in three such cities. Findings show that Education Cities differ from one another but have common principles. Four main characteristics of Education Cities are presented: an arranging concept, a unique educational style practiced in the local school system, local government’s involvement in education, and collaborations among various city entities. Further research should examine Education Cities’ outcomes and follow further developments of this concept.

In recent years, several cities in Israel have begun calling themselves Education Cities, indeed concentrating on education as their central theme and impetus for future development. Aiming to bring about comprehensive municipal transformation, these cities adopt an innovative approach that considers the city to be a learning field and a source of individual empowerment. This stems from the belief that the local education system is a key tool for citywide development and that the city is a key tool in the development of the local education system. This article describes, defines, and conceptualizes this phenomenon.

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Tax Credit Scholarship Programs and the Law

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Lenford C. Sutton

Patrick Thomas Spearman

ABSTRACT: After Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), civil conflict over use of vouchers and taxes to purchase private education, especially in religious schools, largely remained an issue for state courts’ jurisprudence. However, in 2010, it returned to the U.S. Supreme Court when Arizona taxpayers challenged the constitutionality of the state’s education tax credit program permitting private donations to student tuition organizations that in turn provide scholarships for student attendance at private schools. This article describes selected U.S. education tax credit programs used to purchase private education, their legal sustainability, and the ongoing public policy debate.

Advocates for education tax credits contend that the proliferation of school choice for parents fosters a competitive environment whereby all schools, in both the private sector and the public, are compelled to compete, thereby increasing achievement levels for all students. In contrast, opponents of education tax credits claim that subsidizing private education with extractions from the state general revenue diverts tax dollars away from public schools, making it more difficult initiate school improvement strategies. Opponents also view education tax credits that purchase religious education as a source of tribalism in a society of racially resegregated schools and widening income and wealth disparities among its citizens.

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