ERIC Number: ED406756
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Equity and Excellence in America's Schools: The Case for "Learning Equity" and a Proposed Model for Analyzing Statewide Education Reform Initiatives.
Bobbett, Jacquline J.; Ellet, Chad D.
As the 21st century approaches, the question about what the appropriate means and ends in education should be has become embedded within a larger societal concern for fostering greater equity and excellence. This paper raises a set of historical and contemporary issues related to understanding educational reform and school improvement within the larger context of enhancing educational equity and excellence in schools. It proposes arguments and provides examples to suggest that most large-scale, policy-based educational reform initiatives in American education have essentially failed and/or have failed to be maintained because of a lack of understanding of schools as complex organizations and sociocultural entities, failure to understand issues related to meaningful educational change, and faulty conceptions of the meaning of excellence and equity in education. The paper presents a perspective that defines equity and excellence in terms of the quality of actual teaching and learning processes at the classroom level (microanalysis) and at the individual school level (mesoanalysis). It offers the following working proposition: Future policy-based initiatives to enhance equity and excellence will only be sustained and successful to the extent that they are designed and primarily understood at the microanalysis level and secondarily at the mesoanalysis level. The paper presents two recent large-scale, policy-based reform initiatives targeting the enhancement of educational equity and excellence in Louisiana as problematic examples of faulty policy development and implementation. The paper concludes that the failures of many past reforms to enhance equity and excellence are tied to policy-analysis models that focus on macroanalysis concerns. One table is included. (Contains 38 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).