Beyond Educational Policy; Bilingual
Teachers and the Social Construction
of Teaching "Science" for
Pamela Anne Quiroz
Current educational reforms have merged into systemic change processes whose focus is to transform U.S. public schools into places where all children can learn. Two areas that have received widespread attention in these efforts are science and math education. Systemic reform in math and science education has been funded by the federal government and widely adopted by state and local school districts. The assumptions underlying this complex approach to educational reform are being manifested in such things as the creation of national standards, evaluations of math and science education, along with new curricular materials and instructional strategies for achieving these goals. One component emphasized in this transformation process is the notion that teachers are a powerful source of school reform, that is, within the school context nothing has more impact on student academic and social development than the personal and professional development of teachers (Barth, 1990).
However, increasingly researchers argue that such reform efforts fail to assist minority students in their academic achievement and may in fact exacerbate existing inequalities. Such policies are typically developed at one institutional level (i.e., the federal government) and operationalized in ways that are often disconnected to the constituents whose educational opportunities they are designed to enhance. For example, not only researchers but also teachers and parents argue that the proliferation of statewide assessments results in being used as the "stick" rather than the "carrot" that is supposed to