Research Review for School Leaders - Vol. 3

Research Review for School Leaders - Vol. 3

Research Review for School Leaders - Vol. 3

Research Review for School Leaders - Vol. 3

Synopsis

The Research Review for School Leaders, Volume III is specifically designed as a practical resource for school leaders whose schedules preclude opportunities to locate and review key research on every issue they must address. It places comprehensive, current, and accessible reviews of educational research at their fingertips, and is organized to make the research and practices it summarizes useful to them in their professional endeavors. This is the third volume of the Review. Although the title has changed, its purpose and substance is continuous with the work of the earlier volumes. The first Annual Review of Research for School Leaders (1996) summarized research on the status of public schooling, interdisciplinary curriculum, and educational applications of computers. The second volume (1998) addressed the topics of middle-level education, the extracurriculum, mathematics education reform, and drop outs. The present Volume III offers educational leaders reviews of research on five timely educational issues: * citizenship education; * multicultural education; * gifted and talented education; * classroom assessment; and * scheduling. A basic premise of this volume is that, to make sound decisions, professionals need to be up to date on current research related to the problems with which they grapple. A second premise is that research cannot simply be imposed in a formulaic way on a local setting; the nature of the particular problem to be solved will always bear upon the relevance of research to a specific context. Thus, this volume is envisioned as a helpful resource for school leaders as they engage in important discussions of the research with teachers, school board members, parents, and other interested parties as they collaboratively seek effective resolutions to local educational problems.

Excerpt

Daniel Founding Editor Tanner Rutgers University

There is a story behind every new idea or venture. The idea for this project grew out of an expressed need. Through the course of my 10-year tenure as a founding member of the Curriculum Council of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, I had the privilege of meeting on a regular basis with members of the association's Curriculum Committee, composed of school leaders from throughout the nation. Most impressively, the school leaders did not use our forums to vent their frustrations. Instead they addressed common concerns and shared ideas in the most constructive ways. To my mind, this was all the more impressive when considering how school leaders have been subjected to incessantly shifting external pressures from the mass media, political opportunists, special-interest groups, and local factions with regard to education priorities and practices. The slogan of "reform" has been shouted from the rooftops by opposing sides of educational issues as though reform itself is a solution to any education problem. The consequence has been that many reforms have had questionable consequences for children and youth -- so that reforms of today have to be undone by the counterreforms of tomorrow.

"One former is worth a thousand reformers," stated Horace Mann. It is a truism that reformers come and go with their bandwagons, leaving school leaders to face the consequences of misguided reforms. Mann and later John Dewey held that education progress comes from constructive action through problem solving -- the implementation of action guided by the best available evidence. At the joint meeting of the Curriculum Council and the Curriculum Committee, the education leaders expressed their concern that the members of the education research community all too often neglect to draw on the problems of those who are engaged in the work of the schools and tend to be self-serving in that their publications are largely for internal consumption. Further, the school leaders expressed concern over the tendency for the education research community to follow opportunistic lines in grantsmanship, largely determined by dominant and shifting political priorities. And most significantly, the education leaders expressed their need for a professional publication that would connect current research to the practical problems in the real world of the schools -- so as to provide education practitioners with the best available evidence as a guide to practice. In this way, education practitioners and their schools would also gain support against misguided and unfair attacks from external sources. Indeed, the American education experience has revealed that the most promising and fruit-

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