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ERIC Number: EJ769262
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jan
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1071-4413
New Times, New Stakes: Moments of Transit, Accountability, and Classroom Practice
Helfenbein, Robert J., Jr.
Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, v26 n2-3 p91-109 Jan 2004
In order to understand the relationship between high-stakes testing and its synonymous projection on history as the "age of accountability," Stuart Hall's Policing the Crisis (Hall, Critcher, Jefferson, Clarke, & Roberts, 1978) provides an interesting parallel depiction of the response of the dominant forces in the power structure to changing social and political relations. This essay proposes that the rise of high-stakes testing in American education primarily follows the model of a "law and order" response to a crisis in authority of hegemonic power. What the power structure describes as problematic may or may not actually exist. The complexity of the argument lies in the notion that a crisis in authority does not necessarily correspond to a crisis in materiality. This is not to say that the public consciousness simply accepts the rhetoric of social and political forces, for indeed the rhetoric must correspond to some conception within the public understanding of schools and society. However, crises can be manufactured and policed in the interests of pursuing political goals. The argument of this essay proceeds from the position that: (1) there is not a material crisis in public education (at least not in the way it is currently depicted); (2) there is, however, a crisis in authority stemming from the unforeseen effects of the marketization of education; (3) primary definers have manufactured a sense of crisis at least since 1983 with the intent to serve political goals; and (4) high-stakes testing represents the beginnings of a law and order response to the implications of a changing socio-economic structure on education. (Contains 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001