Public Education: Who's in Charge?

Public Education: Who's in Charge?

Public Education: Who's in Charge?

Public Education: Who's in Charge?

Synopsis

This timely and important book by a former Commissioner of Education for both New Jersey and Rhode Island, presents a radically different point of view on the role of government in public education. Burke argues that education, especially that of the poor, cannot be viewed in isolation of the many factors that contribute to a productive life. He discusses many alternative policies and strategies that will alleviate the current crisis in public education. Burke proposes a national policy that will redefine the role of the Federal Government in public education and address the entire range of child and youth needs.

Excerpt

As commissioner of education first in Rhode Island and then in New Jersey for some dozen years, I had a long and unique opportunity to experience the difficulty of bringing about a minimal level of educational uniformity and standards in the face of a tradition of local control and a determination to perceive of education almost solely in parochial terms. If the United States is to develop "public" policies capable of addressing a "national" crisis, it is imperative that consideration be given to alternative policy processes. However, as long as the dialogue is dominated by an educational establishment and an academic community deeply imbued with the lore and mystic of exclusively local control of education, it is not likely that alternative policy processes will receive serious consideration.

The possibility of contemplating a public educational policy for the entire nation is also problematically difficult for an additional reason: the gradual evolution of a nonpublic process for making national educational policy. This uniquely American phenomenon, which I have termed "para-private," has evolved in response to the absence of a national public educational policy process, an attribute characteristic of all major nations. The tendency for the . . .

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