American School Reform: Progressive, Equity, and Excellence Movements, 1883-1993

American School Reform: Progressive, Equity, and Excellence Movements, 1883-1993

American School Reform: Progressive, Equity, and Excellence Movements, 1883-1993

American School Reform: Progressive, Equity, and Excellence Movements, 1883-1993

Synopsis

Berube analyzes the three great educational reform movements in the United States. He shows how they have been shaped by outside societal forces: Progressive Education was an offshoot of the Progressive Movement; Equity Reform in the 1960s was influenced by the Civil Rights Movement; Excellence Reform in the last decade was a response to foreign economic competition. Within each matrix, common characteristics of each movement emerge. Progressive Education with its emphasis on critical thinking and child-centered schools set the stage for what was to follow. Equity Reform sought to complete the unfinished agenda of Progressive Education in educating the poor. Excellence Reform repudiated both in the name of higher standards and content-specific curriculums. The emergence of sophisticated educational research since the 1960s has influenced educational policy to be more research-based. Berube provides a necessary overview of the great movements in school reform over the last century.

Excerpt

The purpose of this study is to discover common characteristics in American school reform. Finding what variables school reform may possess, I believe, is a valuable task in itself. More important, however, such a study may have public policy implications and serve as a guide to future educational reform.

A major thesis of this study is that there existed in the United States three major school reform movements that were shaped by outside societal forces. Therefore, I have attempted to treat these movements according to the manner by which they were uniquely formed rather than present the movements in toto. Consequently, I have limited the study to public schooling rather than higher education, since education reform has been more concentrated at that level.

I am indebted to a number of people in the preparation of this book. First, I want to publicly thank those reviewers of the manuscript in progress. From Old Dominion University, Dwight Allen, professor of education reform, critiqued the chapters on progressive education and John Dewey; William G. Cunningham, professor of educational leadership, reviewed the chapter on business and education. My son, Michael Bérubé, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Champaign, contributed useful suggestions on the community control and school culture wars chapters. And my daughter Katherine Bérubé, immersed in feminist scholarship, commented on the Lawrence Kohlberg-Carol Gilligan dispute on moral development.

In addition, the librarians at Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University were especially helpful. The Inter-Library Loan department at Old Dominion was able to secure many important journals not . . .

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