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

By Sandra A. Waddock | Go to book overview

In the inner city, where poverty, lack of education, and few economic opportunities prevail, the situation is far worse than in the suburbs. Here a higher proportion of parents may be jobless, on welfare, on drugs, or subjects or agents of violence and abuse. Many such parents are unable to provide an adequate role model for their children, a role model ultimately that says that studying hard and education are important. Affected by the general attitude that education is not really a problem, parents in these circumstances as well as those in more fortunate circumstances, find it difficult to place too much emphasis on education. Stressing education is even more difficult when economic opportunities are few and the rewards of education through job opportunity or advancement to higher levels of education seem distant indeed.

As poverty has persisted and grown worse in certain inner-city and rural areas, as the plague of drugs has grown to mean that some children have parents who are absolutely incapable of assuming parental responsibilities, and as violence has grown throughout our societies, schools have taken the brunt of our failure as a society to quell these problems. Indeed, there is a great deal of consensus about problems in and of the educational system over many years. Among these problems are establishing the relative priorities of content versus process, dealing with equity among students with vastly different abilities, interests, and intelligences, the lack of national goals for education, the relatively passive posture students are expected to assume, and the relatively low status of teaching as a profession in the United States.

There are some signs that the rhetoric is shifting slightly as we approach the year 2000. The word responsibility seems to be slowly re-entering our vocabulary. We may have begun to recognize that with the rights that our Constitution grants and the rights that many of our public policies have granted in the past decades also must come a degree of responsibility. Part of that responsibility, arguably, has to be to take better care of our children.


NOTES
1.
Much of this chapter is based on field research and telephone interviews conducted under a grant from the Spencer Foundation and in assessing the National Alliance of Business's Compact Project. In addition to the twelve-city National Alliance of Business Compact Project studies reported in S. A. Waddock ( 1992b and 1993a), the Spencer Grant permitted in-person visits and interviews in five Compact cities as well as two other cities, and with policymakers in Washington, D.C. I also spoke with officials in Boston.
2.
N. Postman ( 1979). Teaching as a Conserving Activity ( New York: Delacorte Press), makes this point.

-93-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Note 5
  • Chapter 1 a Context of Change 7
  • Notes 24
  • Chapter 2: The Social Fabric of Education 29
  • Chapter 3 the Institutional Fabric of Education 49
  • Notes 73
  • Chapter 4 the Realities and Responsibilities of Education 77
  • Notes 93
  • Chapter 5 Not Alone: Outside in Thinking 95
  • Notes 111
  • Chapter 6 System Dynamics of School Failure 113
  • Notes 135
  • Chapter 7 Structure as Possibility 137
  • Chapter 8 Structure as Solution 161
  • Notes 175
  • Chapter 9 Networks and Schools 177
  • Notes 198
  • Chapter 10 Businesses and Other Employers Linked to Schools 199
  • Notes 215
  • Chapter 11 Conclusions 217
  • References 221
  • Index 231
  • About the Author 241
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