ERIC Number: EJ797408
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Scapegoating Public Schools
Shaker, Paul S.; Heilman, Elizabeth E.
School Administrator, v65 n6 p27-29 Jun 2008
In their popular explanation of No Child Left Behind, journalists and other public voices claim that unruly and inefficient public schools are being brought under the control of effective central authorities by scientific, test-driven accountability. Other popular themes of reform in media include mayoral control of schools, non-educators as superintendents, and the standards and high-stakes testing movements. At the same time, states have experimented in teacher licensure, inviting a wide range of alternative forms subject to varying quality control and featuring standardized testing over student teaching or university studies. For-profit ventures have been invited to operate public schools in the interest of quality and free-market competition. The U.S. Department of Education has launched efforts to define and legitimize the forms of educational research by limiting funding to projects emanating from certain paradigms for inquiry, specifically scientifically based research. American educators and their organizations have responded to these many initiatives and the cumulative climate of change in a rational fashion. However, according to these authors, the pitting of political advocacy versus professional authority has drowned out the crucial voices of educators. They state that the reform movement has been hijacked by self-interested parties intent on blaming schools for unruliness and inefficiency. In this article, the authors discuss how educators can respond effectively to the current debate and help restore education to a position of civic and moral leadership in the society. They assert that educators need to force their voices into the new media discussion of education, withhold support from politicians who betray the legacy of public education, pressure their organizations to "fight the good fight," and recognize the alternative identity they wear with pride as teachers and education leaders.
Descriptors: Public Schools, Advocacy, Educational Research, Federal Legislation, Testing, Standardized Tests, High Stakes Tests, Quality Control, Educational Change, Role of Education, Values Education, Politics of Education, Educational History, Educational Quality, Accountability
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.aasa.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001