Not by Schools Alone: Sharing Responsibility for America's Education Reform

By Sandra A. Waddock | Go to book overview
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The Institutional Network Created by the Spider's Web

This chapter has explored the institutional network within which schools exist. The strands of the web play a vital, if often unrecognized, role in determining how well schools can perform their jobs. If these institutions are working well and if the incentives they provide work to positive effect on the schools, then schools and children will benefit. If these institutions are fragmented or thoughtless in their policies and values with respect to education, as unfortunately they too often have been, then schools will suffer.

Our "each boat on its own bottom" individualism might cause us to suggest that schools ought to pick up the slack, filling in where these institutions leave off. Indeed, schools have been trying, often heroically, to do just that. But the reality is that schools and their spokes, the other institutions, are a system of interdependencies. The failures of one will become the failures of all in the long run. By beginning to recognize these interdependencies and the ways that they influence each other more clearly, we can move toward a new set of relationships among all of these important institutions.


NOTES
1.
R. N. Bellah, R. Madsen, W. M. Sullivan, A. Swidler, and S. M. Tipton ( 1991), The Good Society ( New York: Alfred A. Knopf.).
2.
R. B. Reich ( 1990), "Who Is Us?" Harvard Business Review January-February: 53-64.
3.
C. Handy ( 1989), The Age of Unreason ( Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press).
4.
S. Zuboff ( 1988), In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power ( New York: Basic Books).
5.
I. Magaziner and M. Patinkin ( 1989), The Silent War: Inside the Global Business Battles Shaping America's Future ( New York: Random House).
6.
National Center on Education and the Economy's Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce ( 1990), America's Choice: High Skill or Low Wages! ( Rochester, NY: U.S. Department of Education).
7.
L. Mishel and D. M. Frankel ( 1992), The State of Working America, 1990-91 Edition. (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe Company), p. 71.
8.
See National Center on Education and the Economy's Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce ( 1990).
9.
I. Magaziner and K. Patinkin ( 1989), C. Handy ( 1989), R. B. Reich ( 1990), and M. E. Porter ( 1990b), The Competitive Advantage of Nations ( New York: Macmillan).
10.
See National Center on Education and Economy's Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce ( 1990).

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