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The history of intergovernmental relations in educa­tion policy has been dominated by regulations, categorical programs, and technical assistance by higher levels of government to stimulate or require lower levels to make changes in policy and practice. There have been many metaphors to depict education pol­icy within intergovernmental relations including marble cake or picket fence. The marble cake metaphor recognizes that the federal, state, and local levels are not distinct, and policy spills over from one level to another. The picket fence metaphor is based on categorical programs like...
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The development of the "new science curriculum" began in 1956 with a grant from the newly formed National Science Foundation (NSF) to Jerold Zacharias at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zacharias was asked to write a "real science" physics curriculum for high school students. By the end of the 1960s, curricula in earth sciences, physical science, biology, chemistry, and engineering concepts were developed at various universities and scien­tific institutes. Although they were an NSF-sponsored, discipline-wide effort to improve science instruction, each curriculum was developed...
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One major problem plagues all attempts to understand and prescribe policy for school boards: there are too many school boards (about 15,000) and too many board mem­bers (some 97,000) to be able to gener­alize about the behavior of all boards. Consequently, the research base is con­ fined to the study of a single case, a few comparative cases, or some nonrepresent­ative sample chosen for a particular pur­pose. Moreover, the research techniques employed range from surveys to self-assessments to full-scale case studies. The body of comprehensive self-assessment data collected by the Institute for...
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The public education sys­tem in the U.S. has served this nation well. Today and in the future, it must meet un­precedented challenges. How­ever, arguments about whether the per­formance of our students has declined over time miss the point. The 1990 Olds­mobile was better than any Olds made be­fore. But was it good enough to meet worldwide competition in 1990? A simi­lar question faces U.S. education: Are we good enough to stand up to worldwide competition? The time is right to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. public edu­cation system. We need to build on its strengths and shore...
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It is difficult to envision a people more preoccupied with performance than Americans. Keeping records, shattering records, breaking world records, setting national records, establishing personal records, or being the first, the best, or the most are all the "stuff" of our national obsession with measuring individual and institutional performance. Almost every U.S. city, whether it be a metropolis or a hamlet, lays some claim to a record. It somehow possesses the largest, oldest, longest, heaviest, slowest, tallest, greatest, smallest, tastiest, deepest, quietest, fastest, highest, or...
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In December 1992, 25 people gathered in a conference room in Sacramento, California. Each individual attending the meeting represented a different children's advocacy group. Some were concerned particularly about preschoolers and child care arrangements; for others, professional interests revolved around children's health issues. Still others focused their efforts on child nutrition or elementary education programs. These people met in Sacramento as members of a state-appointed task force to design the implementation strategy for a new law which all of their organizations had supported in its...
Lessons from the California School Leadership Academy
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Current thinking about reform in American education emphasizes the need for school principals to serve as instructional leaders. Support for this position is derived from several research bases: site-based management and restructuring; school change; school improvement; policy implementation; staff development; the administrator as instructional leader; and school/district effectiveness. A common element in these bodies of research is the potential power of the administrator as a significant force in the improvement of the organizational conditions and instructional forces that affect student...
What Schools Must Do
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This article contends that school-linked services and education reform efforts are integrally related. Successful implementation of school-linked services requires new roles and responsibilities for all levels of school personnel. Drawing on general experience and citing specific examples from the New Beginnings experi­ence in San Diego, the article outlines these new roles and responsibilities for school superintendents, board members, principals, and teachers. It describes the plan­ning process involved, a process that includes an initial feasibility study and commu­nity needs assessment; a...
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After taking a back seat to education reform pro­grams during the 1980s, school finance is again in the forefront. With the re­cent sweeping state supreme court deci­sions overturning school finance struc­tures in Kentucky, New Jersey, and Tex­as, and with active or planned cases in 23 additional states, education finance liti­gation, fiscal inequities, and school fi­nance reform have rebounded to high places on state education policy agendas. This article discusses the changing contours of school finance through the 1970s and 1980s and outlines the key is­sues in school finance for the 1990s...
Not Whether, But What
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Choice. It is a pleasant enough sound­ing word. In some contexts, "choice" conjures up notions of freedom and de­mocracy, concepts and conditions Ameri­cans revere. In specific application to education, choice describes a set of sys­tems or processes by which parents are able to choose the school their child at­tends. What could be controversial about that? Yet debate surrounding the issue of choice has sparked a war of rhetoric that has reached schools and local com­munities, corporate boardrooms, state legislative chambers, and even Congress and the White House. Choice is not a new issue. It...
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Conventionally, educational evaluation has concentrated on measuring individual student achievement, appraising instructional methods and materials, and assessing program perfor­mance. Major issues in the field have been scholarly and methodological. The central career orientation of educational evaluators has been toward academic colleagues and practicing educators. However, contemporary education reform efforts aimed at using schooling to en­hance national economic development are altering this conventional orientation. Managerial expectations are replacing professional relations as the...
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Allegations about the low performance of U.S. students compared to their counterparts in other nations repeatedly surface in the media. For example, in a recent sur­vey by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achieve­ment (IEA), the U.S. ranked 15th in science in a field of 17 nations. This low showing internationally is now accepted by policy makers and repeated as part of the conventional wisdom. Business lead­ers point with alarm to the declining skills of the labor force and proclaim that the U.S. economy will lose out to Asian and European competitors. There may...
The Need for Analysis
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Educational indicator systems have become a major "business" in the United States. Although its intellectual roots are found in the social indicators movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, its focus today is clearer; its linkages to policy issues are much stronger; and both technicians and policymakers want educational indicator systems to be developed. Educational indicators ap­pear to be something that will remain on the American educational landscape for some time to come. This article covers five major issues related to educational indicators. First, it makes general comments on what...
A Comparison of Education Reforms in the United States and Great Britain
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The new international economy is affecting more than business. It is also reshaping education in many industrialized nations. The need for a more highly educated workforce is stimulating policy makers to expand access to schooling and enhance its quality. Specific educational reforms enacted by a nation depend upon conditions such as historical developments, existing institutional arrangement, and current economic balances. However, despite continuing differences among the world's schooling systems, the emerging global economy virtually demands that nations now address similar educational...