Commissions, Reports, Reforms, and Educational Policy

Commissions, Reports, Reforms, and Educational Policy

Commissions, Reports, Reforms, and Educational Policy

Commissions, Reports, Reforms, and Educational Policy


The editors have collected original papers dealing with the impact of commissions on educational policy and reform. This book is a combination of the perspectives of practitioners directly involved with writing or reacting to commission reports, and scholars analyzing the significance and impact of educational policy. Chapters are written by some of the country's leading authorities on education. This book will prove to be a valuable resource for educators, administrators, political scientists, sociologists, and others interested in the state of education. Includes a foreword by Paul E. Peterson of Harvard University.


Paul E. Peterson

Why are educational commissions a dime a dozen? Why are they worth that but little more? the mystery can be solved by reading carefully the clues to be found in the fine collection of chapters that follow.

Commissions are spawned by problems not subject to resolution. the problem is simple: the overall quality of the world's human capital is increasing at a rapid rate. More young people are going to school for a longer period of time than ever before, and they are learning how to be much more productive than those who preceded them. Most of the gains are taking place in Asia and Latin America.

If the United States is to remain the world's foremost economy, the country needs better schools. If education in the United States stagnates while marked gains are being made elsewhere, the country will be ever more challenged by its competitors abroad.

American schools are not getting better. the amount we spend on education as a percentage of gnp is no greater today than it was in 1970 (while expenditures on medical services more than doubled as a percentage of gnp over this same period of time). and the data reported by Tom Thompson makes it clear that white students (who comprise the preponderance of those attending public schools) learned about as much in 1990 as they did in 1980. Minorities are learning more, and perhaps schools can take credit for that. But these gains are most likely due not to better schools but to the fact that more minorities are growing up in better-educated families.

No one should be surprised that American schools are stagnant. Our governmental system makes sure of that.

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