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Education reform

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Education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 reform
is the process of improving public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

. Small improvements in education theoretically have large social returns, in health, wealth and well-being. Historically, reforms have taken different forms because the motivations of reformers have differed.
A continuing motivation has been to reduce cost to students and society. From the ancient times until the 1800's, one goal was to reduce the expense of a classical education. Ideally, classical education is undertaken with a highly-educated full-time (extremely expensive) personal tutor. Historically, this was available only to the most wealthy. Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia
An encyclopedia is a type of reference work, a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge....

s, public libraries
Public library
A public library is a library that is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources and operated by civil servants. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries...

 and grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

s are examples of innovations intended to lower the cost of a classical education.

Related reforms attempted to develop similar classical results by concentrating on "why", and "which" questions neglected by classical education. Abstract, introspective answers to these questions can theoretically compress large amounts of facts into relatively few principles. This path was taken by some Transcendentalist educators, such as Amos Bronson Alcott
Amos Bronson Alcott
Amos Bronson Alcott was an American teacher, writer, philosopher, and reformer. As an educator, Alcott pioneered new ways of interacting with young students, focusing on a conversational style, and avoided traditional punishment. He hoped to perfect the human spirit and, to that end, advocated a...

.
In the early modern age, Victorian schools were reformed to teach commercially useful topics, such as modern languages and mathematics, rather than classical subjects, such as Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

.

Many reformers focused on reforming society by reforming education on more scientific, humanistic, pragmatic or democratic principles. John Dewey, and Anton Makarenko
Anton Makarenko
Anton Semenovych Makarenko was a Ukrainian and Soviet educator and writer, who promoted democratic ideas and principles in educational theory and practice. As one of the founders of Soviet pedagogy, he elaborated the theory and methodology of upbringing in self-governing child collectives and...

 are prominent examples of such reformers.

Some reformers incorporated several motivations, e.g. Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, a noted humanitarian and devout Catholic best known for the philosophy of education which bears her name...

, who both "educated for peace" (a social goal), and to "meet the needs of the child," (A humanistic goal.)

In historic Prussia, an important motivation for the invention of Kindergarten
Kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

 was to foster national unity by teaching a national language while children were young enough that learning a language was easy.

It's clear that reform has taken many forms and directions. Throughout history and the present day, the meaning and methods of education have changed through debates over what content or experiences result in an educated individual or an educated society.

Changes may be implemented by individual educators and/or by broad-based school organization and/or by curriculum changes with performance evaluations.

Classical times


Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 believed that children would never learn unless they wanted to learn. In The Republic
Republic (Plato)
The Republic is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city-state and the just man...

 (7.536e)
, he said, " . . compulsory learning never sticks in the mind."
An important educational debate in the time of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 arose after Christianity had achieved broad acceptance. The question concerned the educational value of pre-Christian classical thought: "Given that the body of knowledge of the pre-Christian Romans was heathen in origin, was it safe to teach it to Christian children?"

Modern reforms


Though educational reform undoubtedly occurred on a local level at various points throughout history, the modern notion of education reform is tied with the spread of Compulsory education
Compulsory education
Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all persons.-Antiquity to Medieval Era:Although Plato's The Republic is credited with having popularized the concept of compulsory education in Western intellectual thought, every parent in Judea since Moses's Covenant with...

 - education reforms did not become widespread until after organized schooling was sufficiently systematized to be 'reformed.'

In the modern world, economic growth and the spread of democracy have raised the value of education and increased the importance of ensuring that all children and adults have access to high quality and effective education. Modern education reforms are increasingly driven by a growing understanding of what works in education and how to go about successfully improving teaching and learning in schools.

Reforms of classical education


Western classical education
Classical education movement
The Classical education movement advocates a form of education based in the traditions of Western culture, with a particular focus on education as understood and taught in the Middle Ages. The curricula and pedagogy of classical education was first developed during the Middle Ages by Martianus...

 as taught from the 18th to the 19th century has missing features that inspired reformers. Classical education is most concerned with answering the who, what, where, and when? questions that concern a majority of students. Unless carefully taught, group instruction naturally neglects the theoretical "why" and "which" questions that strongly concern a minority of students.

Classical education in this period also did not teach local languages and cultures. Instead it taught ancient languages (Greek and Latin) and their cultures. This produced odd social effects in which an intellectual class might be more loyal to ancient cultures and institutions than to their native vernacular languages and their actual governing authorities.

Educational economies in the 19th century


Before the advent of government-funded public schools, the primary mode of education for those of the lower classes was the charity school, pioneered during the 19th century by Protestant organizations and adapted for use by the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and governmental bodies. Because these schools operated on very small budgets and attempted to serve as many needy children as possible, economic factors were prominent in their design.

The basic program was to develop "grammar" schools. These taught only grammar and bookkeeping
Bookkeeping
Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions. Transactions include sales, purchases, income, receipts and payments by an individual or organization. Bookkeeping is usually performed by a bookkeeper. Bookkeeping should not be confused with accounting. The accounting process is usually...

. This program permits people to start businesses to make money, and gives them the skills to continue their education inexpensively from books. "Grammar" was the first third of the then-prevalent system of Classical Education
Classical education movement
The Classical education movement advocates a form of education based in the traditions of Western culture, with a particular focus on education as understood and taught in the Middle Ages. The curricula and pedagogy of classical education was first developed during the Middle Ages by Martianus...

.

The ultimate development of the grammar school was by Joseph Lancaster
Joseph Lancaster
Joseph Lancaster was an English Quaker and public education innovator.-Life:Lancaster was born the son of a shopkeeper in Southwark, south London....

 and Adam Bell
Adam Bell
Adam Bell was a legendary English outlaw.He and his companions William of Cloudsley and Clym of the Clough lived in Inglewood Forest near Carlisle and were figures similar to Robin Hood...

 who developed the monitorial system. Lancaster started as a poor Quaker
Religious Society of Friends
The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian movement which stresses the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers. It is made of independent organisations, which have split from one another due to doctrinal differences...

 in early 19th century London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. Bell started the Madras School of India. The monitorial system uses slightly more-advanced students to teach less-advanced students, achieving student-teacher ratios as small as 2, while educating more than a thousand students per adult. Lancaster promoted his system in a piece called Improvements in Education that spread widely throughout the English-speaking world.

Discipline and labor in a Lancaster school were provided by an economic system. Scrip, a form of money meaningless outside the school, was created at a fixed exchange rate from a student's tuition. Every job of the school was bid-for by students in scrip. The highestrendered. However, any student tutor could auction positions in his or her classes. Besides tutoring, students could use scrip to buy food, school supplies, books, and childish luxuries in a school store. The adult supervisors were paid from the bids on jobs.

With fully developed internal economies, Lancaster schools provided a grammar-school education for a cost per student near $40 per year in 1999 U.S. dollars. The students were very clever at reducing their costs, and once invented, improvements were widely adopted in a school. For example, Lancaster students, motivated to save scrip, ultimately rented individual pages of textbooks from the school library, and read them in groups around music stands to reduce textbook costs. Exchanges of tutoring, and using receipts from "down tutoring" to pay

Lancaster schools usually lacked sufficient adult supervision. As a result, the older children acting as disciplinary monitors tended to become brutal task masters. Also, the schools did not teach submission to orthodox Christian beliefs or government authorities. As a result, most English-speaking countries developed mandatory publicly paid education explicitly to keep public education in "responsible" hands. These elites said that Lancaster schools might become dishonest, provide poor education and were not accountable to established authorities.

Lancaster's supporters responded that any schoolchild could avoid cheats, given the opportunity, and that the government was not paying for the education, and thus deserved no say in their composition.
Lancaster, though motivated by charity, claimed in his pamphlets to be surprised to find that he lived well on the income of his school, even while the low costs made it available to the poorest street-children.
Ironically, Lancaster lived on the charity of friends in his later life.

Progressive reforms in Europe and the United States


The term progressive in education has been used somewhat indiscriminately; there are a number of kinds of educational progressivism
Educational progressivism
Progressive education is a pedagogical movement that began in the late nineteenth century and has persisted in various forms to the present. More recently, it has been viewed as an alternative to the test-oriented instruction legislated by the No Child Left Behind educational funding act...

, most of the historically significant kinds peaking in the period between the late 19th and the middle of the 20th centuries.

Child-study


Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

 has been called the father of the child-study movement. It has been said that Rousseau "discovered" the child (as an object of study).

Rousseau's principal work on education is Emile: Or, On Education
Emile: Or, On Education
Émile, or On Education is a treatise on the nature of education and on the nature of man written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who considered it to be the “best and most important of all my writings”. Due to a section of the book entitled “Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar,” Émile was be...

, in which he lays out an educational program for a hypothetical newborn's education to adulthood. Rousseau provided a dual critique of both the vision of education set forth in Plato's Republic and also of the society of his contemporary Europe and the educational methods he regarded as contributing to it; he held that a person can either be a man or a citizen, and that while Plato's plan could have brought the latter at the expense of the former, contemporary education failed at both tasks. He advocated a radical withdrawal of the child from society and an educational process that utilized the natural potential of the child and its curiosity, teaching it by confronting it with simulated real-life obstacles and conditioning it by experience rather than teaching it intellectually. His ideas were rarely implemented directly, but were influential on later thinkers, particularly Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi was a Swiss pedagogue and educational reformer who exemplified Romanticism in his approach....

 and Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel, the inventor of the kindergarten
Kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

.

Transcendentalist education


H. D. Thoreau's Walden
Walden
Walden is an American book written by noted Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau...

and reform essays in the mid-19th century were influential also (see the anthology Uncommon Learning: Henry David Thoreau on Education, Boston, 1999). For a look at transcendentalist life, read Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist. She is best known for the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Little Women was set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, and published in 1868...

's Little Women
Little Women
Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott . The book was written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts. It was published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869...

. Her father, A. Bronson Alcott, a close friend of Thoreau's, pioneered progressive education for young people as early as the 1830s.

The transcendental education movement failed, because only the most gifted students ever equaled the skills of their classically educated teachers. These students would, of course, succeed in any educational regime. Accounts seem to indicate that the students were happy, but often pursued classical education later in life.

National identity


Education is often seen in Europe and Asia as an important system to maintain national, cultural and linguistic unity. Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 instituted primary school reforms expressly to teach a unified version of the national language, "Hochdeutsch". One significant reform was kindergarten
Kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

, whose purpose was to have the children spend time in supervised activities in the national language, when the children were young enough that they could easily learn new language skills.

Since most modern schools copy the Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n models, children start school at an age when their language skills remain plastic, and they find it easy to learn the national language. This was an intentional design on the part of the Prussians.

In the U.S. over the last twenty years, more than 70% of non-English-speaking school-age immigrants have arrived in the U.S. before they were 6 years old. At this age, they could have been taught English in school, and achieved a proficiency indistinguishable from a native speaker
Native Speaker
Native Speaker is Chang-Rae Lee’s first novel. In Native Speaker, he creates a man named Henry Park who tries to assimilate into American society and become a “native speaker.”-Plot summary:...

. In other countries, such as the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 this approach has dramatically improved reading and math test scores for linguistic minorities.

Dewey


John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

, a philosopher and educator, was heavily influential in American and international education, especially during the first four decades of the 20th century. An important member of the American Pragmatist
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

 movement, he carried the subordination of knowledge to action into the educational world by arguing for experiential education that would enable children to learn theory and practice simultaneously; a well-known example is the practice of teaching elementary physics and biology to students while preparing a meal. He was a harsh critic of "dead" knowledge disconnected from practical human life, foreshadowing Paulo Freire
Paulo Freire
Paulo Reglus Neves Freire was a Brazilian educator and influential theorist of critical pedagogy.-Biography:...

's attack on the "banking concept of education"
Banking education
Banking education is a term used by Paulo Freire to describe and critique the traditional education system. The name refers to the metaphor of students as empty containers which educators must deposit knowledge into...

.

Dewey criticized the rigidity and volume of humanistic education, and the emotional idealizations of education based on the child-study movement that had been inspired by Bill Joel and those who followed him. He presented his educational theories as a synthesis of the two views. His slogan was that schools should encourage children to "Learn by doing." He wanted people to realize that children are naturally active and curious. Dewey's understanding of logic is best presented in his "Logic, the Theory of Inquiry" (1938). His educational theories were presented in "My Pedagogic Creed", The School and Society, The Child and Curriculum, and Democracy and Education
Democracy and Education
Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education is a book written in 1916 by John Dewey. .Dewey's philosophical anthropology, unlike Egan, Vico, Ernst Cassirer, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Nietzsche, does not account for the origin of thought of the modern mind in the...

(1916).

The question of the history of Deweyan educational practice is a difficult one. He was a widely known and influential thinker, but his views and suggestions were often misunderstood by those who sought to apply them, leading some historians to suggest that there was never an actual implementation on any considerable scale of Deweyan progressive education. The schools with which Dewey himself was most closely associated (though the most famous, the "Laboratory School", was really run by his wife) had considerable ups and downs, and Dewey left the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 in 1904 over issues relating to the Dewey School.

Dewey's influence began to decline in the time after the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and particularly in the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 era, as more conservative educational policies came to the fore.

The administrative progressives


The form of educational progressivism which was most successful in having its policies implemented has been dubbed "administrative progressivism" by historians. This began to be implemented in the early 20th century. While influenced particularly in its rhetoric by Dewey and even more by his popularizers, administrative progressivism was in its practice much more influenced by the industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 and the concept economies of scale
Economies of scale
Economies of scale, in microeconomics, refers to the cost advantages that an enterprise obtains due to expansion. There are factors that cause a producer’s average cost per unit to fall as the scale of output is increased. "Economies of scale" is a long run concept and refers to reductions in unit...

.

The administrative progressives are responsible for many features of modern American education, especially American high schools: counseling programs, the move from many small local high schools to large centralized high schools, curricular differentiation in the form of electives and tracking, curricular, professional, and other forms of standardization, and an increase in state and federal regulation and bureaucracy, with a corresponding reduction of local control at the school board level. (Cf. "State, federal, and local control of education in the United States", below) (Tyack and Cuban, pp. 17–26)

These reforms have since become heavily entrenched, and many today who identify themselves as progressives are opposed to many of them, while conservative education reform during the Cold War embraced them as a framework for strengthening traditional curriculum and standards.

In more recent times, groups such as the think tank Reform's
Reform (think tank)
Reform is a British centre-right, liberal, think tank based in London, whose declared mission is to set out a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity via private sector involvement and market de-regulation. Reform describes itself as independent and non-partisan...

 education division, and S.E.R. have attempted to pressure the government of the U.K.
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 into more modernist
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 educational reform, though this has been met with limited success.

Critiques of progressive and classical reforms


Many progressive reforms failed to transfer learned skills. Evidence suggests that higher-order thinking skills are unused by many people (cf. Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called "genetic epistemology"....

, Isabel Myers, and Katharine Cook Briggs). Some authorities say that this refutes key assumptions of progressive thinkers such as Dewey.

Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who studied people's developmental stages. He showed by widely reproduced experiments that most young children do not analyze or synthesize as Dewey expected. Some authorities therefore say that Dewey's reforms do not apply to the primary education of young children.

Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers developed a psychological test that reproducibly identifies sixteen distinct human temperaments, building on work by Jung
Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of Analytical Psychology. Jung is considered the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as "by nature religious" and make it the focus of exploration. Jung is one of the best known researchers in the field of dream analysis and...

. A wide class of temperaments ("Sensors", half by category, 60% of the general population) prefer to use concrete information such as facts and procedures. They prefer not to use abstract theories or logic. In terms of education, some authorities interpret this to mean that 60% of the general population only use, and therefore would prefer to learn answers to concrete "Who, what, when, where", and "how" questions, rather than answers to the theoretical "which" and "why" questions advocated by progressives. This information was confirmed (on another research track) by Jean Piaget, who discovered that nearly 60% of adults never habitually use what he called "formal operational reasoning", a term for the development and use of theories and explicit logic. If this criticism is true, then schools that teach only principles would fail to educate 60% of the general population.

The data from Piaget, Myers and Briggs can also be used to criticize classical teaching styles that never teach theory or principle. In particular, a wide class of temperaments ("Intuitives", half by category, 40% of the general population) prefer to reason from trusted first principles, and then apply that theory to predict concrete facts. In terms of education, some authorities interpret this to mean that 40% of the general population prefer to use, and therefore want to learn, answers to theoretical "Which and "Why" questions, rather than answers to the concrete "Who, what, when, where" and "How" questions.

The synthesis resulting from this two-part critique is a "neoclassical" learning theory similar to that practiced by Marva Collins
Marva Collins
Marva Collins is an American educator who in 1975 started Westside Preparatory School in Garfield Park, an impoverished neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. She ran the school for more than 30 years until it closed in 2008 due to lack of sufficient enrollment and funding...

, in which both learning styles are accommodated. The classroom is filled with facts, that are organized with theories, providing a rich environment to feed children's natural preferences. To reduce the limitations of depending only on natural preferences, all children are required to learn both important facts, and important forms of reasoning.

Diane Ravitch
Diane Ravitch
Diane Silvers Ravitch is an historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Previously, she was a U.S...

 argues that "progressive" reformers have replaced a challenging liberal arts curriculum with ever-lower standards and indoctrination, particularly in inner-city schools, thereby preventing vast numbers of students from achieving their full potential.

Education reform in the United States since the mid-20th Century



Reforms arising from the civil rights era


From the 1950s to the 1970s, many of the proposed and implemented reforms in U.S. education stemmed from the Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

 and related trends; examples include ending racial segregation
Desegregation
Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups usually referring to races. This is most commonly used in reference to the United States. Desegregation was long a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement, both before and after the United States Supreme Court's decision in...

, and busing for the purpose of desegregation, affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

, and banning of school prayer
School prayer
School prayer in its common usage refers to state-approved prayer by students in state schools. Depending on the country and the type of school, organized prayer may be required, permitted, or prohibited...

.

Reform efforts in the 1980s


In the 1980s, some of the momentum of education reform moved from the left to the right, with the release of A Nation at Risk
A Nation at Risk
A Nation at Risk: The Imperative For Educational Reform is the title of the 1983 report of American President Ronald Reagan's National Commission on Excellence in Education. Its publication is considered a landmark event in modern American educational history...

, Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's efforts to reduce or eliminate the United States Department of Education
United States Department of Education
The United States Department of Education, also referred to as ED or the ED for Education Department, is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government...

. In the latter half of the decade, E.D. Hirsch put forth an influential attack on one or more versions of progressive education, advocating an emphasis on "cultural literacy"--the facts, phrases, and texts that Hirsch asserted every American had once known and that now only some knew, but was still essential for decoding basic texts and maintaining communication. Hirsch's ideas remain significant through the 1990s and into the 21st century, and are incorporated into classroom practice through textbooks and curricula published under his own imprint.

Reform efforts in the 1990s and 2000s


Most states and districts in the 1990s adopted Outcome-Based Education
Outcome-based education
Outcome-based education is a recurring education reform model. It is a student-centered learning philosophy that focuses on empirically measuring student performance, which are called outcomes. OBE contrasts with traditional education, which primarily focuses on the resources that are available...

 (OBE) in some form or another. A state would create a committee to adopt standards, and choose a quantitative instrument to assess whether the students knew the required content or could perform the required tasks. The standards-based National Education Goals (Goals 2000
Goals 2000
The National educational Goals were set by the U.S. Congress in the 1990s to set goals for standards-based education reform. Many of these goals were based on the principles of outcomes-based education, and not all of the goals were attained by the year 2000 as was intended...

) were set by the U.S. Congress in the 1990s. Many of these goals were based on the principles of outcomes-based education, and not all of the goals were attained by the year 2000 as was intended. The standards-based reform movement culminated in the No Child Left Behind Act
No Child Left Behind Act
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a United States Act of Congress concerning the education of children in public schools.NCLB was originally proposed by the administration of George W. Bush immediately after he took office...

 of 2001, which as of 2009 is still an active nation-wide mandate in the United States.

OBE reforms usually had other disputed methods, such as constructivist
Constructivist teaching methods
Constructivist teaching is based on constructivist learning theory. This theoretical framework holds that learning always builds upon knowledge that a student already knows; this prior knowledge is called a schema...

 mathematics and whole language
Whole language
Whole language describes a literacy philosophy which emphasizes that children should focus on meaning and strategy instruction. It is often contrasted with phonics-based methods of teaching reading and writing which emphasize instruction for decoding and spelling. However, from whole language...

, added onto them. Some proponents advocated replacing the traditional high school diploma with a Certificate of Initial Mastery
Certificate of Initial Mastery
The Certificate of Mastery was created by report "America's Choice: High Skills or Low Wages". The CIM has been called an outcome-based education diploma as it would be either be necessary to receive or replace the high school diploma, and was characteristic of education reform legislation in many...

. Other reform movements were school-to-work
School-to-work transition
School-to-work transition is a phrase referring to on-the-job training, apprenticeships, cooperative education agreements or other programs designed to prepare students to enter the job market...

, which would require all students except those in a university track to spend substantial class time on a job site. See also Uncommon Schools
Uncommon Schools
Uncommon Schools is a non-profit organization in the United States that starts and manages urban charter public schools that prepare low-income students to graduate from college. Uncommon develops and manages regional networks that are philosophically aligned, and currently manages 24 schools in...

.

Contemporary issues


In the first decade of the 21st century, several issues are salient in debates over further education reform:
  • Longer school day or school year
    Year-round school
    A year-round school is a school that runs for 10 months with a cumulative 2 months of break distributed throughout the year, without the usual multiple-month summer vacation. They are most often found in the United States...

  • After-school
    After-school activity
    An after-school activity is any organized program which invites youth to participate outside of the traditional school day. Some programs are run by a primary or secondary school and some by externally funded non-profit or commercial organizations...

     tutoring
  • Charter school
    Charter school
    Charter schools are primary or secondary schools that receive public money but are not subject to some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school's charter...

    s, school choice
    School choice
    School choice is a term used to describe a wide array of programs aimed at giving families the opportunity to choose the school their children will attend. As a matter of form, school choice does not give preference to one form of schooling or another, rather manifests itself whenever a student...

    , or school vouchers
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Improved teacher quality
    • Improved training
    • Higher credential standards
    • Generally higher pay to attract more qualified applicants
    • Performance bonuses ("merit pay
      Merit pay
      Merit pay is a term describing performance-related pay, most frequently in the context of educational reform. It provides bonuses for workers who perform their jobs effectively, according to measurable criteria...

      ")
    • Firing low-performing teachers
  • Internet
    Internet
    The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

     and computer access in schools
  • Track and reduce drop-out rate
    Dropping out
    Dropping out means leaving a group for either practical reasons, necessities or disillusionment with the system from which the individual in question leaves....

  • Track and reduce absenteeism
    Absenteeism
    Absenteeism is a habitual pattern of absence from a duty or obligation. Traditionally, absenteeism has been viewed as an indicator of poor individual performance, as well as a breach of an implicit contract between employee and employer; it was seen as a management problem, and framed in economic...

  • English-only vs. bilingual education
    Bilingual education
    Bilingual education involves teaching academic content in two languages, in a native and secondary language with varying amounts of each language used in accordance with the program model.-Bilingual education program models:...

  • Mainstreaming special education students
  • Content of curriculum standards and textbook
    Textbook
    A textbook or coursebook is a manual of instruction in any branch of study. Textbooks are produced according to the demands of educational institutions...

    s
  • Funding, neglected infrastructure, and adequacy of educational supplies

Funding levels


Although many people have claimed that U.S. public schools are underfunded, there are few countries that spend as much per student on education. However, the United States is well known for huge inequalities in the economics of school districts.

Among developed countries, there is almost no correlation between spending on education and educational performance. Top performers include Singapore, Finland and Korea, all with relatively low spending on education, while high spenders including Norway and Luxembourg have relatively low performance. However, within countries, differences in spending between schools or districts may accentuate inequalities if they result in the best teachers moving to teach in the most wealthy areas.

According to a 2005 report from the OECD, the United States is tied for first place with Switzerland when it comes to annual spending per student on its public schools, with each of those two countries spending more than $11,000 (in U.S. currency).
Despite this high level of funding, U.S. public schools lag behind the schools of other rich countries in the areas of reading, math, and science.

According to a 2007 article in The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, the Washington D.C. public school district spends $12,979 per student per year. This is the third highest level of funding per student out of the 100 biggest school districts in the U.S. Despite this high level of funding, the school district provides outcomes that are lower than the national average. In reading and math, the district's students score the lowest among 11 major school districts—even when poor children are compared only with other poor children. Thirty-three percent of poor fourth graders in the U.S. lack basic skills in math, but in Washington D.C., it's 62%.

According to a 2006 study by the Goldwater Institute
Goldwater Institute
The Goldwater Institute is a Phoenix, Arizona-based conservative public policy research organization established in 1988. The president is Darcy A. Olsen. The Goldwater Institute advances public policies with emphasis on lower taxes, limited government spending, school choice, and a reduction in...

, Arizona's public schools spend 50% more per student than Arizona's private schools. The study also says that while teachers constitute 72% of the employees at private schools, they make up less than half of the staff at public schools. According to the study, if Arizona's public schools wanted to be like private schools, they would have to hire approximately 25,000 more teachers, and eliminate 21,210 administration employees. The study also said that public school teachers are paid about 50% more than private school teachers.

In 1985 in Kansas City, Missouri, a judge ordered the school district to raise taxes and spend more money on public education. Spending was increased so much, that the school district was spending more money per student than any of the country's other 280 largest school districts. Although this very high level of spending continued for more than a decade, there was no improvement in the school district's academic performance.

According to a 1999 article by William J. Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education, increased levels of spending on public education have not made the schools better. Among many other things, the article cites the following statistics:
  • Between 1960 and 1995, U.S. public school spending per student, adjusted for inflation, increased by 212%.

  • In 1994, less than half of all U.S. public school employees were teachers.

  • Out of 21 industrialized countries, U.S. 12th graders ranked 19th in math, 16th in science, and last in advanced physics.

Alternatives to public education


In the United States, Private school
Private school
Private schools, also known as independent schools or nonstate schools, are not administered by local, state or national governments; thus, they retain the right to select their students and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students' tuition, rather than relying on mandatory...

s (independent schools) have long been an alternative to public education for those with the ability to pay tuition. These include religious schools, preparatory and boarding school
Boarding school
A boarding school is a school where some or all pupils study and live during the school year with their fellow students and possibly teachers and/or administrators. The word 'boarding' is used in the sense of "bed and board," i.e., lodging and meals...

s, and schools based on alternative philosophies such as Montessori education. Over 4 million students, about 1 child in 12, attend religious schools in the United States, most of them Christian.
Montessori pre- and primary school programs employ alternative theories of guided exploration which seek to embrace children's natural curiosity rather than, for instance, scolding them for falling out of rank.

Home education
Homeschooling
Homeschooling or homeschool is the education of children at home, typically by parents but sometimes by tutors, rather than in other formal settings of public or private school...

 is favored by a growing number of parents who take direct responsibility for their children's education rather than enrolling them in local public schools seen as not meeting expectations.

School choice


Libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 theorists such as Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

 advocate school choice
School choice
School choice is a term used to describe a wide array of programs aimed at giving families the opportunity to choose the school their children will attend. As a matter of form, school choice does not give preference to one form of schooling or another, rather manifests itself whenever a student...

 to promote excellence in education through competition. A highly competitive 'market' for schools would eliminate the need to otherwise attempt a workable method of accountability for results. Public education vouchers would permit guardians to select and pay any school, public or private, with public funds currently allocated to local public schools. The theory is that children's guardians will naturally shop for the best schools, much as is already done at college level.

Though appealing in theory, many reforms based on school choice have not led to substantial improvements in teaching and learning. For instance, New Zealand's landmark reform in 1989, during which schools were granted substantial autonomy, funding was devolved to schools, and parents were given a free choice of which school their children would attend, led to only modest improvements in most schools and was associated with increases in inequity and greater racial and social stratification in schools. Similar results have been found in other jurisdictions. Though discouraging, the failure of choice to lead to improvement in student learning often seems to reflect weaknesses in the way that choice is implemented rather than a failure of the basic principle itself.

Barriers to reform


A recent Fordham Institute study found that some labor agreements with teachers' unions may restrict the ability of school systems to implement merit pay and other reforms. Contracts were more restrictive in districts with high concentrations of poor and minority students. The methodology and conclusions of the study have been criticized by teachers' unions.

Another barrier to reform is assuming that schools are like businesses—when in fact they are very different.

Motivations


Education reform has been pursued for a variety of specific reasons, but generally most reforms aim at redressing some societal ills, such as poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

-, gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

-, or class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

-based inequities, or perceived ineffectiveness. Reforms are usually proposed by thinkers who aim to redress societal ills or institute societal changes, most often through a change in the education of the members of a class of people—the preparation of a ruling class to rule or a working class to work, the social hygiene of a lower or immigrant class, the preparation of citizens in a democracy or republic, etc. The idea that all children should be provided with a high level of education is a relatively recent idea, and has arisen largely in the context of Western democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 in the 20th century.

The "beliefs" of school districts are optimistic that quite literally "all students will succeed", which in the context of high school graduation examination in the United States, all students in all groups, regardess of heritage or income will pass tests that in the introduction typically fall beyond the ability of all but the top 20 to 30 percent of students. The claims clearly renounce historical research that shows that all ethnic and income groups score differently on all standardized test
Standardized test
A standardized test is a test that is administered and scored in a consistent, or "standard", manner. Standardized tests are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a...

s and standards based assessments and that students will achieve on a bell curve
Bell curve
Bell curve can refer to:* A Gaussian function, a specific kind of function whose graph is a bell-shaped curve* Normal distribution, whose density function is a Gaussian function...

. Instead, education officials across the world believe that by setting clear, achievable, higher standards, aligning the curriculum, and assessing outcomes, learning can be increased for all students, and more students can succeed than the 50 percent who are defined to be above or below grade level by norm referenced standards.

States
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 have tried to use state schools to increase state power, especially to make better soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

s and workers. This strategy was first adopted to unify related linguistic groups in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, including France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Exact mechanisms are unclear, but it often fails in areas where populations are culturally segregated, as when the U.S. Indian school service failed to suppress Lakota
Lakota language
Lakota is a Siouan language spoken by the Lakota people of the Sioux tribes. While generally taught and considered by speakers as a separate language, Lakota is mutually understandable with the other two languages , and is considered by most linguists one of the three major varieties of the Sioux...

 and Navaho
Navajo people
The Navajo of the Southwestern United States are the largest single federally recognized tribe of the United States of America. The Navajo Nation has 300,048 enrolled tribal members. The Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body which manages the Navajo Indian reservation in the...

, or when a culture has widely respected autonomous cultural institutions, as when the Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 failed to suppress Catalan
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

.

Many students of democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 have desired to improve education in order to improve the quality of governance in democratic societies; the necessity of good public education follows logically if one believes that the quality of democratic governance depends on the ability of citizens to make informed, intelligent choices, and that education can improve these abilities.

Politically motivated educational reforms of the democratic type are recorded as far back as Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 in The Republic. In the United States of America, this lineage of democratic education reform was continued by Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, who advocated ambitious reforms partly along Platonic lines for public schooling
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

 in Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

Another motivation for reform is the desire to address socio-economic problems, which many people see as having significant roots in lack of education. Starting in the 20th century, people have attempted to argue that small improvements in education can have large returns in such areas as health, wealth and well-being. For example, in Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, India in the 1950s, increases in women's health were correlated with increases in female literacy rates. In Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, increased primary education was correlated with increased farming efficiencies and income. In both cases some researchers have concluded these correlations as representing an underlying causal relationship: education causes socio-economic benefits. In the case of Iran, researchers concluded that the improvements were due to farmers gaining reliable access to national crop prices and scientific farming information.

Digital Education



The movement to use computers more in education naturally includes many unrelated ideas, methods, and pedagogies since there are many uses for digital computers. For example, the fact that computers are naturally good at math leads to the question of the use of calculators in math education. The Internet's communication capabilities make it potentially useful for collaboration, and foreign language learning. The computer's ability to simulate physical systems makes it potentially useful in teaching science. More often, however, debate of digital education reform centers around more general applications of computers to education, such as electronic test-taking and online classes.

The idea of creating artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

 led some computer scientists to believe that teachers could be replaced by computers, through something like an expert system
Expert system
In artificial intelligence, an expert system is a computer system that emulates the decision-making ability of a human expert. Expert systems are designed to solve complex problems by reasoning about knowledge, like an expert, and not by following the procedure of a developer as is the case in...

; however, attempts to accomplish this have predictably proved inflexible. The computer is now more understood to be a tool or assistant for the teacher and students.

Harnessing the richness of the Internet is another goal. In some cases classrooms have been moved entirely online, while in other instances the goal is more to learn how the Internet can be more than a classroom.

Web-based international educational software is under development by students at New York University, based on the belief that current educational institutions are too rigid: effective teaching is not routine, students are not passive, and questions of practice are not predictable or standardized. The software allows for courses tailored to an individual's abilities through frequent and automatic multiple intelligences assessments. Ultimate goals include assisting students to be intrinsically motivated to educate themselves, and aiding the student in self-actualization. Courses typically taught only in college are being reformatted so that they can be taught to any level of student, whereby elementary school students may learn the foundations of any topic they desire. Such a program has the potential to remove the bureaucratic inefficiencies of education in modern countries, and with the decreasing digital divide, help developing nations rapidly achieve a similar quality of education. With an open format similar to Wikipedia, any teacher may upload their courses online and a feedback system will help students choose relevant courses of the highest quality. Teachers can provide links in their digital courses to webcast videos of their lectures. Students will have personal academic profiles and a forum will allow students to pose complex questions, while simpler questions will be automatically answered by the software, which will bring you to a solution by searching through the knowledge database, which includes all available courses and topics.

The 21st century ushered in the acceptance and encouragement of internet research conducted on college and university campuses, in homes, and even in gathering areas of shopping centers. Addition of cyber cafes on campuses and coffee shops, loaning of communication devices from libraries, and availability of more portable technology devices, opened up a world of educational resources. Availability of knowledge to the elite had always been obvious, yet provision of networking devices, even wireless gadget sign-outs from libraries, made availability of information an expectation of most persons. Cassandra B. Whyte
Cassandra B. Whyte
Cassandra Bolyard Whyte is an American higher education administrator, teacher, and educational researcher. She is recognized for publication and leadership in the areas of higher education management, improving academic performance of students, campus planning and safety, predicting educational...

 researched the future of computer use on higher education campuses focusing on student affairs. Though at first seen as a data collection and outcome reporting tool, the use of computer technology in the classrooms, meeting areas, and homes continued to unfold. The sole dependence on paper resources for subject information diminished and e-books and articles, as well as on-line courses, were anticipated to become increasingly staple and affordable choices provided by higher education institutions according to Whyte in a 2002 presentation.

Digitally "flipping" classrooms is a trend in digital education that has gained significant momentum. Will Richardson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Richardson), author and visionary for the digital education realm, points to the not-so-distant future and the seemingly infinite possibilities for digital communication linked to improved education. Education on the whole, as a stand-alone entity, has been slow to embrace these changes. There are documented cases of specific school projects that have seen views toppling the 3 million mark. [Richardson footnote] The use of web tools such as wikis, blogs, and social networking sites is tied to increasing overall effectiveness of digital education in schools. Examples exist of teacher and student success stories where learning has transcended the classroom and has reached far out into society.

Creativity is of the utmost importance when improving education. The "creative teachers" must have the confidence through training and availability of support and resources. These creative teachers are strongly encouraged to embrace a person-centered approach that develops the psychology of the educator ahead or in conjunction with the deployment of machines. Creative teachers have been also been inspired through Crowd-Accelerated Innovation. Crowd-Accelerated Innovation has pushed people to transition between media types and their understanding thereof at record-breaking paces.This process serves as a catalyst for creative direction and new methods of innovation. Innovation without desire and drive inevitably flat lines.

Mainstream media continues to be both very influential and the medium where Crowd-Accelerated Innovation gains its leverage. Media is in direct competition with formal educational institutions in shaping the minds of today and those of tomorrow. [Buchanan, Rachel footnote] The media has been instrumental in pushing formal educational institutions to become savvier in their methods. Additionally, advertising has been (and continues to be) a vital force in shaping students and parents thought patterns.

Technology is a dynamic entity that is constantly in flux. As time presses on, new technologies will continue to break paradigms that will reshape human thinking regarding technological innovation. This concept stresses a certain disconnect between teachers and learners and the growing chasm that started some time ago. Richardson asserts that traditional classroom’s will essentially enter entropy unless teachers increase their comfort and proficiency with technology.

Administrators are not exempt from the technological disconnect. They must recognize the existence of a younger generation of teachers who were born during the Digital Age and are very comfortable with technology. However, when old meets new, especially in a mentoring situation, conflict seems inevitable. Ironically, the answer to the outdated mentor may be digital collaboration with worldwide mentor webs; composed of individuals with creative ideas for the classroom.

Another viable addition to digital education has been blended learning. In 2009, over 3 million K-12 students took an online course, compared to 2000 when 45,000 took an online course. Blended learning examples include pure online, blended, and traditional education. Research results show that the most effective learning takes place in a blended format. This allows children to view the lecture ahead of time and then spend class time practicing, refining, and applying what they have previously learned.

Notable reforms


Some of the methods and reforms have gained permanent advocates, and are widely utilized.

Many educators now believe that anything that more precisely meets the needs of the child will work better. This was initiated by M. Montessori
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, a noted humanitarian and devout Catholic best known for the philosophy of education which bears her name...

 and is still utilized in Montessori schools.

The teaching method must be teachable! This is a lesson from both Montessori and Dewey. This view now has very wide currency, and is used to select much of the curricula of teachers' colleges.

Conservative programs are often based on classical education
Classical education movement
The Classical education movement advocates a form of education based in the traditions of Western culture, with a particular focus on education as understood and taught in the Middle Ages. The curricula and pedagogy of classical education was first developed during the Middle Ages by Martianus...

, which is seen by conservatives to reliably teach valuable skills in a developmentally appropriate order to the majority of Myers-Briggs
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions...

 temperaments, by teaching facts.

New programs based on modern learning theories
Learning theory (education)
In psychology and education, learning is commonly defined as a process that brings together cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences and experiences for acquiring, enhancing, or making changes in one's knowledge, skills, values, and world views . Learning as a process focuses on what...

 that test individual learning, and teach to mastery of a subject have been proved by the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) to be far more effective than group instruction with compromise schedules, or even class-size reduction

Schools with limited resources, such as most public schools and most third-world and missionary schools, use a grammar-school approach. The evidence of Lancaster schools suggests using students as teachers. If the culture supports it, perhaps the economic discipline of the Lancaster school can reduce costs even further. However, much of the success of Lancaster's "school economy" was that the children were natives of an intensely mercantile culture.

In order to be effective, classroom instruction needs to change subjects at times near a typical student's attention span, which can be as frequently as every two minutes for young children. This is an important part of Marva Collins
Marva Collins
Marva Collins is an American educator who in 1975 started Westside Preparatory School in Garfield Park, an impoverished neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. She ran the school for more than 30 years until it closed in 2008 due to lack of sufficient enrollment and funding...

' method.

The Myers-Briggs temperaments fall into four broad categories, each sufficiently different to justify completely different educational theories. Many developmental psychologists say that it might be socially profitable to test for and target temperaments with special curricula.

Some of the Myers-Briggs temperaments are known to despise educational material that lacks theory. Therefore, effective curricula need to raise and answer "which" and "why" questions, to teach students with "intuitive" (Myers-Briggs) modalities.

Philosophers identify independent, logical reasoning
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 as a precondition to most western science, engineering, economic and political theory. Therefore, every educational program that desires to improve students' outcomes in political, health and economic behavior should include a Socratically taught set of classes to teach logic and critical thinking.

Substantial resources and time can be saved by permitting students to test out of classes. This also increases motivation, directs individual study, and reduces boredom and disciplinary problems.

To support inexpensive continuing adult education
Adult education
Adult education is the practice of teaching and educating adults. Adult education takes place in the workplace, through 'extension' school or 'school of continuing education' . Other learning places include folk high schools, community colleges, and lifelong learning centers...

 a community needs a free public library. It can start modestly as shelves in an attended shop or government building, with donated books. Attendants are essential to protect the books from vandalism. Adult education repays itself many times over by providing direct opportunity to adults. Free libraries are also powerful resources for schools and businesses.

A notable reform of the education system of Massachusetts occurred in 1993.

The current student voice
Student voice
Student voice describes the distinct perspectives and actions of young people throughout schools focused on education."Student voice is giving students the ability to influence learning to include policies, programs, contexts and principles."...

effort echoes past school reform initiatives focusing on parent involvement, community involvement, and other forms of participation in schools. However, it is finding a significant amount of success in schools because of the inherent differences: student voice
Student voice
Student voice describes the distinct perspectives and actions of young people throughout schools focused on education."Student voice is giving students the ability to influence learning to include policies, programs, contexts and principles."...

 is central to the daily schooling experience because students spend all day there. Many educators today strive for meaningful student involvement in their classrooms, while school administrators, school board members, and elected officials each lurch to hear what students have to say.

Taiwan


In other parts of the world, educational reform has had a number of different meanings. In Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 in the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century a movement tried to prioritize reasoning over mere facts, reduce the emphasis on central control and standardized testing. There was consensus on the problems. Efforts were limited because there was little consensus on the goals of educational reforms, and therefore on how to fix the problems. By 2003, the push for education reform had declined.

Further reading

  • Comer, J.P. (1997). Waiting for a Miracle: Why Schools Can’t Solve Our Problems- and How We Can. New York: Penguin Books.
  • Cuban, L. (2003). Why Is It So Hard to Get Good Schools? New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.
  • Darling-Hammond, Linda. (1997) The Right to Learn: A Blueprint for Creating Schools that Work. Jossey-Bass.
  • Dewey, J. and Dewey, E. (1915). Schools of To-morrow. New York: E.P. Dutton and Company.
  • Gatto, John Taylor (1992). Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling. Canada: New Society Publishers.
  • Glazek, S.D. and Sarason, S.B. (2007). Productive Learning: Science, Art, and Einstein’s Relativity in Education Reform. New York: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Goodland, J.I. and Anderson, R.H. (1959 and 1987). The Nongraded Elementary School. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.
  • James, Laurie. (1994) Outrageous Questions: Legacy of Bronson Alcott and America's One-Room Schools New York.
  • Katz, M.B. (1971). Class, Bureaucracy, and Schools: The Illusion of Educational Change in America. New York: Praeger Publishers.
  • Kliebard, Herbert. (1987) The Struggle for the American Curriculum. New York : Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Kohn, A. (1999). The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and 'Tougher Standards. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
  • Murphy, J.H. and Beck, L.G. (1995). School-Based Management as School Reform: Taking Stock. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.
  • Ogbu, J.U. (1978). Minority Education and Caste: The American System in Cross-Cultural Perspective. New York: Academic Press.
  • Ravitch, D. (1988). The Great School Wars: A History of the New York City Public Schools. New York: Basic Books, Inc.
  • Sarason, S.B. (1996). Revisiting 'The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Sarason, S.B. (1990). The Predictable Failure of Educational Reform: Can We Change Course Before Its Too Late? San Francisco: Josey-Bass, Inc.
  • Sizer, T.R. (1984). Horace’s Compromise: The Dilemma of the American High School. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Tyack, David and Cuban, Larry. (1995) Tinkering Toward Utopia: a century of public school reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Zwaagstra, Michael; Clifton, Rodney; and Long, John. (2010) What's Wrong with Our Schools: and How We Can Fix Them. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 1607091577

See also


  • Block scheduling
    Block scheduling
    Block scheduling is a type of academic scheduling in which each student has fewer classes per day but each class is scheduled for a longer period of time . A student might be taking 7 different classes, but only 4 per day, and the specific daily classes would rotate through a changing daily cycle...

  • Certificate of Initial Mastery
    Certificate of Initial Mastery
    The Certificate of Mastery was created by report "America's Choice: High Skills or Low Wages". The CIM has been called an outcome-based education diploma as it would be either be necessary to receive or replace the high school diploma, and was characteristic of education reform legislation in many...

  • Criterion-referenced test
    Criterion-referenced test
    A criterion-referenced test is one that provides for translating test scores into a statement about the behavior to be expected of a person with that score or their relationship to a specified subject matter. Most tests and quizzes written by school teachers are criterion-referenced tests. The...

  • High school graduation examination
    High school graduation examination
    A high school graduation examination is a test that students must pass to receive a diploma and graduate from high school. These are usually criterion-referenced tests which were implemented as part of a comprehensive standards-based education reform program which sets into place new standards...

  • Higher-order thinking
    Higher-order thinking
    Higher-order thinking is a concept of Education reform based on learning taxonomies such as Bloom's Taxonomy. The idea is that some types of learning require more cognitive processing than others, but also have more generalized benefits...

  • Inquiry-based Science
  • Merit pay
    Merit pay
    Merit pay is a term describing performance-related pay, most frequently in the context of educational reform. It provides bonuses for workers who perform their jobs effectively, according to measurable criteria...

  • Multiculturalism
    Multiculturalism
    Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

  • Political correctness
    Political correctness
    Political correctness is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts,...

  • Project-based learning
    Project-based learning
    Project-based learning, or PBL, is the use of in-depth and rigorous classroom projects to facilitate learning and assess student competence . Students use technology and inquiry to respond to a complex issue, problem or challenge...

  • Student-centered learning
  • Sudbury model democratic schools
  • Teaching for social justice
    Teaching for social justice
    Teaching for social justice is an educational philosophy designed to promote socioeconomic equality in the learning environment and instill these values in students. Educators may employ social justice instruction to promote unity on campus, as well as mitigate boundaries to the general curriculum...

  • Anti-schooling activism

External links