ERIC Number: ED330068
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Reviewing the Effectiveness of "Top-Down" Reform.
Duttweiler, Patricia Cloud
Insights on Educational Policy and Practice, n2 Sep 1988
The "first wave" of educational reform has applied "top-down" mandates to raise standards and ensure accountability. These reform strategies often fail because they ignore the necessity of changing people's behavior and the everyday realities confronting schools. According to 16 superintendents participating in the National Governors' Association's Project Educational Reform, many reform obstacles, including lack of funds, restrictive laws, teacher unions, teacher certification requirements, and state-mandated tests and course requirements, remove the flexibility and control districts need to make wise education choices. Others note problems with centralized textbook adoption systems, curriculum policies, and models of practice. Too often, reformers place confidence in external knowledge, resources, people, or policies--a practice that makes teachers into passive recipients and ignores schools' heterogeneity. A new wave of educational reform is distinguished by a focus on the individual school as decision-making unit; the development of a collegial, participatory climate; the flexible use of time; an increased personalization of the school environment; a relevant curriculum; and an emphasis on higher order thinking skills for all students. Reform agendas should be based on changing people's behavior; emphasizing processes, not preconceived outcomes; determining what is important; beginning with local problems; eliminating reform barriers; and encouraging innovation and change. (10 references) (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.