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ERIC Number: ED265085
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Apr-1
Pages: 30
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Politics of Excellence. Draft.
Nelson, Jack L.
The contemporary interest in the pursuit of excellence in education is derived from a long tradition of efforts to provide special schooling defined as excellent. In the current movement, excellence, though ambiguously defined and political in nature, denotes a necessary separation among people and in its subtle trappings of class, contains elitist goals for society and school. The expression of these hidden goals required means and indicators that were more politically acceptable. As with excellence, gifted and talented programs and teacher certification programs operate under vague and ambiguous guidelines. Test scores, used as the objectification of quality in gifted and talented programs, provide an insulation for dominant classes who produce and utilize them, and represent a public myth of fairness and objectivity consistent with Abner Cohen's mystique of elites presented in "The Politics of Elite Culture" (1981). Another manifestation of the excellence movement was the proclamation of current teachers as "non-excellent" and the search for a new set of teacher certification standards. The politics of excellence, using vague and confusing goals and means which convey a mystique, operates to obscure the direction of action being pursued in social and educational policy. Hence, the excellence movement in education appears to persuade the overclasses of their superiority and socially sanctioned ruling position. (LH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A