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ERIC Number: ED532675
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-May
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 29
Protecting the Student Interest. High School Reform. Info Brief, Number 41
Laitsch, Dan
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Over the past decade, preschool initiatives, reading reform, and class size reduction efforts have helped focus attention on improving education at the elementary school level. Policy attention has also been paid to middle schools as educators have tried to figure out how best to reach students who are no longer children, but not yet adults. However, in all this activity, improving the high school experience for students has been lost. High school reform efforts have generally taken two related approaches to improvement: a structural approach and a conceptual approach. The structural approach has focused on changing the school structures through which students experience high school. The conceptual approach to high school reform works to revise the content and curriculum that students experience. This approach has focused on two related efforts: reconceptualizing education as an 18+ year continuum and increasing the rigor of the curriculum available to students. High school reforms are based on two important assumptions: the structures of high school frequently get in the way of educating students, and educational content should be more strongly focused on academics, with an emphasis on mathematics, literacy, and science. The fundamental goal of policymakers has become preparing students for the content they are likely to face in postsecondary education--particularly in colleges and universities. This transition to a policy goal of sending all students to college is the culmination of many years of effort to change public perspective, particularly for at-risk students, related to the value and accessibility of postsecondary education. Despite the many positive aspects of strengthening academic instruction and increasing student access to postsecondary education, these policy changes have had a significant negative impact. Research findings suggest that the emphasis on academic achievement and the use of high-stakes barriers to graduation have led to a narrowing of the curriculum and many students' increased disengagement from education, resulting in higher dropout rates and off-the-record push-out of low-performing students.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714. Tel: 800-933-2723; Tel: 703-578-9600; Fax: 703-575-5400; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development