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School Reform

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School Reform

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  1. School Reform

  2. Market-Based School Reform • Three main popular reforms are: • Charter schools • Vouchers • Tax credits or tax deductions

  3. Market-Based School Reform • Supported by market-oriented theorists and private sector investors. • John Chubb and Terry Moe wrote a popular book, Politics, Markets, and America's Schools, published in 1990 by The Brookings Institution. • They argued that market-based schools would foster the autonomy schools need to be effective. • To shift control of schools from government to the marketplace, they recommended providing guardians of every student with a voucher they could use in any school, public or private.

  4. Economic Theory and School Reform • Milton Friedman, an economist, designed the concept of school vouchers. • Friedman’s views that favor public works in free markets to stimulate the economy were in contrast to John Maynard Keynes (Keynesian economics). • Keynes advocated public works and government spending in free markets to stimulate employment and the economy. • Friedman pioneered the idea of open markets without government interference or control.

  5. Economic Theory and School Reform (continued) • The scope of free markets taking control of education would be enormous. • The free market theory is based on the belief that individuals will make a rational choice in their own economic self interest. It does not consider motivation, collaboration, conflict management and other human issues in the workplace.

  6. School Reform as Investment Opportunity • Many individuals and businesses have invested for profit in educational initiatives: • Michael Milken—former junk bond king. • William Bennett—former Secretary of Education. • Edison Schools—one of the largest charter school companies at one time. • Started by Christopher Whittle, who started Channel One. • Benno Schmidt—CEO of Edison and former President of Yale.

  7. School Reform as Investment Opportunity (continued) • State took over schools in Philadelphia in 2001 • Edison given control of 20 schools, with 25 others administered by the community agencies, universities, and other charter operators. All schools were low performing. • The school district managed and restructured 21 other low performing schools. • Research studies in 2007 and 2008 found: • no differences in school achievement gains among the for-profits, nonprofits, and universities. • the restructured district schools had higher math scores for four years. • no longitudinal differences between charters in existence for four or more years and newer ones. • no competitive effects with local nearby public schools.

  8. Current Status of Charter Schools • Studies have shown that: • public schools perform as well as, or better, than charters and private schools. • there are no differences between for-profit charters and nonprofit charters. • there are inconclusive results about the “competitive” effects of charters on public schools. • charter schools are highly segregated by race and overall attract more white students.

  9. Vouchers • Research studies on voucher programs show no improvement in academic achievement nor benefits for African American students. • Conclusion: • Schools using market-based reforms are not more effective than traditional public schools in improving student achievement. • Should market-based reforms be used to give parents more choice options?

  10. Standards-Based School Reform • Since the right to an education was not established by the US Constitution, the states guaranteed public education in their state Constitutions. • All states initially chose to decentralize public schools putting them in the hands of local authorities. • Local Education Agencies (LEAs) had much control of education until the 1990s. • The first summit on education in 1989 started the movement toward more centralized control focusing on state standards.

  11. Standards-Based School Reform (continued) • Two additional summit meetings continued pushing for state control of education resulting in state “report cards” comparing states on test scores across states, comparing districts within states, and schools within districts. • States and districts also began using high-stakes testing for students to qualify for promotion and/or graduating high school. • Little attention has been paid to the effects of testing at the school level, students daily lives, curriculum & instruction, or student educational & career planning.

  12. Have Higher Standards Worked? • Trends (not significance levels) in the Center on Education Policy (CEP) report show (between 2002 and 2007) in higher standard states: • Higher percentage of gains than declines in test scores. • Higher percentage of achievement gaps that narrowed than have widened, yet are still too wide. • Other studies have not found significant gains in test scores or narrowing of achievement gaps due to NCLB.

  13. Have Higher Standards Worked? (continued) • High stakes testing has resulted in: • Narrowing of the curriculum. • Less student-centered pedagogy. • More drop outs. • State manipulation of “proficient” levels

  14. Whole School Reform • Whole school reform (also called comprehensive school reform or CSR) is predicated on: • Top-down methods have not been very successful. • Demonstrated success of individual school renewal efforts.

  15. Increasing School Autonomy • One solution to the problems of systemic reform was site-based management in which individual schools have more authority in decision making. • This reform effort has had mixed results due to lack of true decentralization of authority with freedom to use budgets as needed in individual schools. • Nonetheless, school reform is recognized as having a better chance of success when the local district offices encourage individual school staff to collaborate in problem solving, i.e., to create growth-enhancing environments.

  16. Increasing School Autonomy(continued) • This fusion of state and district control of standards and empowerment of individual schools may be the new amalgam that Giamatti had described. • This amalgam was suggested in 1999 by the Education Commission of the States report, Governing America's Schools: Changing the Rules, thatidentified two approaches: • Institutionalize site-based management allowing schools to prepare their own budgets and allocate resources as needed. • Authorize publicly funded, but independently owned and operated schools under charters granted by the school district.

  17. Increasing School Autonomy(continued) • Both approaches call for: • Strengthening, not discarding, the public school system. • Allowing money to follow the child. • Providing information on students, teachers, and school performance to parents. • Giving parents more choice. • Granting schools control of personnel and budgets. • Focusing accountability systems on achievement. • Redefining the role of teachers’ unions. • Strengthening the role of school boards.

  18. Support for School Leaders • These approaches provide greater opportunity for school leaders to be more effective in making a difference, while increasing their responsibility for results. • To be effective, school leaders need to reach out, connect with people and use collaborative methods in selecting problem-solving strategies for schools. • Many schools, some because of mandates to choose programs that are “scientifically-based”, have turned to CSR models.

  19. Research Support for CSR Models • See Table 12.6 and discussion for CSR models and their effectiveness. • Schools need to very deliberate when adopting CSR models. The focus should be: • Research support • Available resources to support the implementation and sustainability of the model

  20. Response to Intervention (RTI) • RTI is a CSR that provides differentiated instruction to students who are struggling academically. • RTI uses a tiered approach to identify at-risk students and to provide interventions. • Only when students do not respond positively to the highest tiers of intervention, are they referred for special education assessment.

  21. Teacher Education and School Reform • There has also been increased focus on teacher education to prepare for the looming shortage. • John Goodlad’s National Network for Educational Renewal calls for the renewal of schools and teacher education. • American Council on Education has called for the strengthening of teacher education and research on teacher education. • Using the Flexner Report as a precedent, Goodlad and ACE’s proposals may be more potent in the reform of US education than we suspect.

  22. A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education • The original signers of this policy statement on education and social change include Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan, and other influential people. • The message is that schools alone cannot solve the complex social and economic problems that children encounter. • See http://www.boldapproach.org/

  23. In a Nutshell • The human resources leader promotes the self-actualization of teachers by adopting a Theory “Y” point of view. Teachers are treated as adults not children. They gain satisfaction from being part of a learning culture with the shared goal of improving the achievement of the students. The leader exercises professional and moral authority to insure that change is expansive and not narrowed. He or she recognizes that bureaucratic change is short lived and that professional, cultural, moral and democratic strategies produce deep change that endures. • Go be sardines!