ERIC Number: ED253938
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Grassroots Excellence: Problems and Progress.
Hansen, Kenneth H.
The educational "excellence" movement is hindered by inconsistencies between goals and action and by difficulties in translating national and state goals into local policy; nonetheless, progress has occurred. Examples of "voodoo excellence," in which proposed policies will likely work against their stated objectives, are widespread. While advocating excellence for all students, states raise standards beyond the reach of many. Likewise, broad humanistic studies are advocated, yet in practice schools increasingly emphasize rote learning. States are lengthening time in school without considering the use of time; they propose to make teaching a more attractive profession but use inadequate, demeaning, and divisive means to do so. Promises of equity contrast with increasing gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students, and endorsements of community involvement contrast with increasing centralization. Moreover, certain "anomalies" arise as state programs filter down to the grassroots. These include endemic complacency in school districts, reform proposals that stress structural and programmatic change but overlook instructional change, and widely varying viewpoints. Despite these obstacles, the public's awareness of and confidence in education have increased, as have aspirations for and expectations of children; finally, belief in the importance of thorough student assessment has spread, and the social status of teaching has risen. (MCG)
Descriptors: Academic Standards, Centralization, Educational Attitudes, Educational Change, Educational Strategies, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Organizational Climate, Organizational Communication, Program Effectiveness, School Community Relationship, State School District Relationship, Teaching (Occupation)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Practitioners
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Northwest Regional Educational Lab., Portland, OR. Northwest Center for State Educational Policy Studies.
Identifiers: Excellence in Education
Note: Observations prepared for the Urban Superintendents and Chief State School Officers of the Northwest and Pacific.