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IJER Vol 23-N4

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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.
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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6 Articles

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Understanding School Voucher Program Research: A Failure of Theory or Implementation?

ePub

Matthew Carr

Marc Holley

Nathan Gray

ABSTRACT: School choice research generally indicates marginal positive effects on student achievement for at least some students. In explaining results, researchers attribute positive findings to evidence that education markets are driving schools to improve, while others see null or negative findings as evidence that markets are not an effective reform. We examine whether findings are suggestive of theory failure or program design failures. Analyzing key policy components of seven publicly funded voucher programs, we find that the structures of programs generally have half the necessary components to create market forces among schools, suggesting program design failure, not a failure of the theory.

Since the enactment of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program in 1990, private school choice policies have continued to expand across the United States. In 2011–2012, there were 16 school voucher programs serving 80,000 students and 14 tax credit scholarship programs serving roughly 128,000 students, providing public funding for students to attend private schools. But the idea of using publicly funded vouchers as a form of school choice in the U.S. education system is much older, going back to Milton Friedman’s 195 5 article “The Role of Government in Education,” which would later be included in Capitalism and Freedom (1962). Not surprising, much of the evaluative literature on school vouchers since that time has continued to be examined through the economic lens created by Friedman. Building on Friedman’s work, Chubb and Moe (1990) are credited with popularizing the use of school vouchers as a systemic reform in the American policy agenda. In Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools, the authors cemented the market framework as the dominant perspective for conceptualizing and studying school voucher policies.

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Multicultural Concerns of Rural Elementary Teachers in Russia

ePub

Ilghiz M. Sinagatullin

ABSTRACT: As Russia’s rural settings are becoming increasingly diverse, the ideas of multicultural education are gaining momentum in rural schools. Especially enthusiastic in designing and implementing multicultural strategies are elementary school teachers. The study provides some glimpses of Russia’s rural schools and concentrates on a range of multicultural strategies that rural elementary teachers of the Republic of Bashkortostan (Central Russia) use in working with a diversity of students. Bashkortostan is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse entities of Russia. The growing cultural mosaic requires educators to infuse the teaching process with specific approaches.

When the issues of multicultural education are addressed, the overwhelming emphasis is often placed on a “generalized educational institution” symbolizing a typical urban school. I venture to acknowledge that such an approach typifies a worldwide trend. Even in tackling the overall issues of education, apart from the topics of cultural diversity and multiculturalism, rural education and related problems are often unjustifiably disregarded and even forgotten.

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Teacher Evaluation in Indiana: Principals’ Use and Perception of Field-Based Practices

ePub

Lori Boyland

Michael W. Harvey

Marilynn Quick

Youngkung Choi

ABSTRACT: Teacher evaluation is an important component of the education reform agenda. This study gathered and examined information regarding teacher evaluation practice in Indiana, which was needed before wide-scale implementation of new models mandated by recent legislation. Information was received from 477 principals regarding their current use and perceptions of effectiveness of summative, formative, and emergent evaluation methods. Elementary and secondary principals reported high use and effectiveness of many summative and several formative methods but reported low use of most emergent practices and disagreed that these methods were effective. Recommendations are provided to facilitate field-based support when implementing new models.

Teacher evaluation is an important component of the education reform agenda (Danielson, 2010; Duckett, 1980; Furtwengler, 1995; Hazi & Rucinski, 2009; McGreal, 1983; Stanley & Popham, 1988). Improvements in teacher evaluation systems were called for as far back as 1983, when the report A Nation at Risk spoke directly to the pressing need for effective teacher evaluation systems (U.S. Department of Education [USDOE], 1983). During the years following A Nation at Risk, states became progressively more involved in creating and implementing state-level policy for teacher evaluation (Furtwengler, 1995).

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Examining Digital Inequities in Ohio’s K–12 Virtual Schools: Implications for Educational Leaders and Policymakers

ePub

Yinying Wang

Janet R. Decker

ABSTRACT: One touted purpose of virtual schools is to expand learning opportunities for students, but in reality, virtual schooling may not be readily available to all students. This study analyzes inequitable access to Ohio’s virtual schooling by examining disaggregated student enrollment data. Similar to past research, our study revealed that racial minorities and students with limited English proficiency were underrepresented in Ohio’s virtual schools in comparison to traditional schools. However, unlike past studies, our study found economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities to be overrepresented in Ohio’s virtual schools. The findings are explained through policy and legal lenses, and potential legal issues are discussed.

Virtual schools have been enjoying a surge of popularity in the United States (Barbour & Reeves, 2009; Friend & Johnston, 2005; Pape, Adams, & Ribeiro, 2005). Although prior literature has differing definitions of virtual schools, scholars agree that two distinct features of virtual schools include (1) credit courses delivered via the Internet predominantly or exclusively and (2) an official body that provides accreditation (Barbour & Reeves, 2009; Clark, 2000). All Ohio’s virtual schools examined in this study are defined by Ohio Department of Education (2012) as schools in which “the enrolled students work primarily from their residences … in non-classroom-based learning opportunities provided via an internet or other computer based instructional method that does not rely on regular classroom instruction” (Ohio Department of Education, 2012, para. 2). Additionally, all the virtual schools in our study were charter schools because in Ohio virtual schools must be established as charter schools (Ohio Revised Code [ORC] § 3314).

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School Reform in the Arab World: Characteristics and Prospects

ePub

Rima Karami Akkary

Nadia Rizk

ABSTRACT: This article discusses current educational reform attempts in the Arab world and their characteristics from the standpoint of international literature on effective large-scale school reform. The study followed a qualitative design using three main sources of data: regional reform plans, regional and international reports on education in the Arab world, and journal notes and observations obtained from our work as consultants on educational reform in the region. The article concludes by highlighting key lessons that Arab reformers can learn from international literature on effective school change to achieve effective school reform in the Arab world.

For the last six decades, Arab countries have been making Herculean efforts, spending millions of dollars on school reform as a vehicle for social and economic development. Despite its intensity, this reform movement has been reported to be ineffective in helping Arab countries respond to the pressing demands of the 21st century. The last Middle East and North Africa development report (World Bank, 2008), the Arab Knowledge Report (United Nations Development Programme, 2009), and Arab Human Development Report (United Nations Development Programme, 2002) point at disappointing results of reform efforts, especially in improving students’ achievements and classroom practices and inducing social, political, and economic advancements. The Middle East and North Africa development report attributes this failure to the shortcomings of the dominant approach of these reform attempts and posits that the region is in dire need for a new paradigm of educational reform.

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Cuba: Lessons in Education

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Leroy A. Binns

ABSTRACT: The Cuban academic renaissance has far exceeded expectations, and in so doing, it has, in contrast to the dismal display of the Batista epoch, developed, as promised, a measure of excellence through inclusiveness. Notwithstanding external conflicts of interests, a U.S. commercial interdiction, and the loss of Soviet subsidies, the conveyance of a world-class education is radically replacing an agrarian society with an academic agenda in tune with the challenges of modernization. The experiment to present has undergone transformations and/or expansions in accordance with supply and demand. With the socialist model as a guide, education that commenced as a tool to develop basic training during the age of agricultural production was later revamped as an answer to a collapsing sugar industry. In its stead, local architects oversaw a seismic shift in emphasis from rural to urban education that unveiled a boost in tertiary training in an attempt to address scientific and industrial interests. This article, while acknowledging academic progress partly due to a union between central and decentralized authorities under the Castro administration, references a tale of limitations and therefore, in closing, shares in a debate of uncertainty. In short, the overarching inquiry is this: In light of an atmosphere influenced by a blockade and a global recession, is the regime that labors to uphold the tenets of socialism willing to make the necessary adjustments to publicize premium education?

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