ERIC Number: ED374516
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
The Public's Role in School Reform.
Coombs, Fred S.; Wycoff, Catherine E.
During the last decade, the discovery that most voters believed that public schools were in need of improvement fueled the educational reform movement. This paper examines the public's role in education, with a focus on reasons for the public's failure to actively support educational reform. A review of recent surveys indicates that although most American citizens are uninformed, uninterested, and not actively engaged in the major educational reform issues, they may still play important, but less direct, policy-shaping roles. First, the public can be counted on to provide general support for almost any issue promising school improvement. Second, they believe strongly in the need for school improvement and can electorally punish political leaders. Third, public opinion may more directly affect the resolution of school issues stemming from broader societal and religious differences. Fourth, citizens can thwart the implementation of reforms. Fifth, citizens may become more directly engaged in local school-improvement issues than in national issues. Although most citizens are concerned about the state of American schools and support reform proposals aimed at improving schools, there is little evidence that they would demand a fundamentally restructured curriculum or school organization especially when costs became apparent. One figure and three tables are included. (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994).