Restructuring and Quality: Issues for Tomorrow's Schools

Restructuring and Quality: Issues for Tomorrow's Schools

Restructuring and Quality: Issues for Tomorrow's Schools

Restructuring and Quality: Issues for Tomorrow's Schools

Synopsis

The restructuring of schools systems across the world has been controversial. This book explores the restructuring movement, with particular emphasis on how decentralisation of power has affected the quality of education.

Excerpt

In the past decade, in countries around the world, educational authorities have embarked upon an exercise that has come to be known as the restructuring of education. Major examples of changes to how schools are managed and organised have occurred in school systems as diverse as those of England and Wales, Canada, the usa, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Australia. It could be argued that the original efforts in restructuring came from the idea of an education voucher system, which was first attempted in the United States in the early 1970s, where the us Office of Economic Opportunity first undertook feasibility studies in Gary, Indiana, San Francisco and Seattle, and then funded a voucher system in Alum Rock School District in San Jose, California, in 1972. However, the movement really took shape in the early 1980s, where major reports in many places, but especially the United States and the United Kingdom, called upon schools to play a greater role in the economic development of their countries. However, not all the movement of power was in the direction of the school, nor was the movement consistent in all countries.

There have been shifts in decision-making to schools for some elements of organisation, but they seem to happen simultaneously with increases in centralised decision-making powers and influence for others. There seems to be a general trend towards centralised control over areas such as the development and assessment of school curriculum, but increasing responsibility at the school level, through finance and staffing decisions, for the structuring of learning activities to achieve those goals. But these general trends, which suggest the acceptance of the devolution of educational management in almost all parts of the world, disguise some underlying features which bear closer scrutiny.

The literature that is being produced about efforts to restructure schools seems to indicate a common claim by any system that has undergone this form of restructuring that it will improve student achievement or the quality of education, yet there has been no research able to show substantial causal links between devolution and improved student outcomes. Some of the concerns underpinned by these factors become the central focus of this book.

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