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Education Reform: Democracy Left Behind

By its nature, democracy presumes the value of local control. Democracy trusts in the people to rule themselves, based on their collective judgment, freed from externally imposed dictates.

From the National Education Policy Center, policy brief:

How Recent Education Reforms Undermine Local School Governance and Democratic Education

This video provides an overall understanding of the brief.

Some of the recommendations in this study:

· Move from a punitive to a participatory model for engaging local communities in reform efforts. Rather than threatening to withhold funding from struggling schools, provide additional support and incentives for staff, parents, and other community members to get involved in deliberating about educational problems and their solutions.

· Encourage the adoption by states and locales of curriculum standards that include a substantive focus on (as opposed to mere lip service to) the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for effective participation in a democratic society, and de-emphasize high-stakes testing of “the basics” as the exclusive focus of accountability measures.

· Curtail the privatization of public resources through Supplemental Education Services (SES) and school choice. Keep the individuals and organizations receiving public funds accountable to the public through democratic procedures and support elected school boards, the entities best positioned to exercise proper discretion in allocating education funding within firm guidelines based on democratic education’s three limiting principles.

· Seek ways to promote integrated schools in order to ensure access to equal educational opportunities and the diverse context of learning that all students need for the inculcation of democratic character—for instance, include enrollment constraints based on socially significant categories such as race as part of school choice policy.

Dora

 

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