ERIC Number: ED337865
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Policy and Practice: The Relations between Governance and Instruction.
Cohen, David K.; Spillane, James P.
The relationship between educational policy and instructional practice is explored in this paper, with a focus on the impact of state and federal policies on instruction. The relationship between government structure and policymaking is discussed in the first section, which concludes that conflict between rapidly expanding policymaking and fragmented governance is a hallmark of American education. The next three sections examine relations between policy and practice in terms of the following topics: (1) the specific sources of guidance for instruction; (2) changes in classroom practice as proposed by recent U.S. reforms; and (3) nongovernmental influences on instruction. A conclusion is that current reform efforts generally move toward greater state/national control of education. Reformers share the assumption that U.S. education is flawed and have offered proposals for far-reaching changes; the problem is the lack of availability of resources for radical change. Due to inherent systemic weaknesses such as politics and problems in instructional practice and guidance, grand visions collide with limited capacities for change. Reform efforts to reduce fragmentation are thus more likely to add several new and unrelated layers of requirements, creating further clutter and inconsistency. Drastic reform is possible but requires time, money, commitment, development of new texts, new exams, new curricula, much more attention to professional development, focus on long-term goals, reduction in the number of policies, a new vision, and patience. (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A