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Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform
This timely, persuasive, and hopeful book reexamines John Dewey's idea of schools, specifically community schools, as the best places to grow a democratic society that is based on racial, social, and economic justice. The authors assert that American colleges and universities bear a responsibility for-and would benefit substantially from-working with schools to develop democratic schools and communities.
Dewey's Dream opens with a reappraisal of Dewey's philosophy and an argument for its continued relevance today. The authors-all well-known in education circles-use illustrations from over 20 years of experience working with public schools in the University of Pennsylvania's local ecological community of West Philadelphia, to demonstrate how their ideas can be put into action. By emphasizing problem-solving as the foundation of education, their work has awakened university students to their social responsibilities. And while the project is still young, it demonstrates that Dewey's "Utopian ends" of creating optimally participatory democratic societies can lead to practical, constructive school, higher education and community change, development, and improvement.
Power, Politics, and Deaf Education
Traditionally, deaf education has been treated as the domain of special educators who strive to overcome the difficulties associated with hearing loss. Recently, the sociocultural view of deafness has prompted research and academic study of Deaf culture, sign language linguistics, and bilingual education. Linda Komesaroff exposes the power of the entrenched dominant groups and their influence on the politics of educational policy and practice in Disabling Pedagogy: Power, Politics, and Deaf Education. Komesaroff suggests a reconstruction of deaf education based on educational and social theory. First, she establishes a deep and situated account of deaf education in Australia through interviews with teachers, Deaf leaders, parents, and other stakeholders. Komesaroff then documents a shift to bilingual education by one school community as part of her ethnographic study of language practices in deaf education. She also reports on the experiences of deaf students in teacher education. Her study provides an analytical account of legal cases and discrimination suits brought by deaf parents for lack of access to native sign language in the classroom. Komesaroff confronts the issue of cochlear implantation, locating it within the broader context of gene technology and bioethics, and advocates linguistic rights and self-determination for deaf people on the international level. Disabling Pedagogy concludes with a realistic assessment of the political challenge and the potential of the “Deaf Resurgence” movement to enfranchise deaf people in the politics of their own education.
Preschool Politics in the United States
In the United States, preschool education is characterized by the dominance of a variegated private sector and patchy, uncoordinated oversight of the public sector. Tracing the history of the American debate over preschool education, Andrew Karch argues that the current state of decentralization and fragmentation is the consequence of a chain of reactions and counterreactions to policy decisions dating from the late 1960s and early 1970s, when preschool advocates did not achieve their vision for a comprehensive national program but did manage to foster initiatives at both the state and national levels. Over time, beneficiaries of these initiatives and officials with jurisdiction over preschool education have become ardent defenders of the status quo. Today, advocates of greater government involvement must take on a diverse and entrenched set of constituencies resistant to policy change. In his close analysis of the politics of preschool education, Karch demonstrates how to apply the concepts of policy feedback, critical junctures, and venue shopping to the study of social policy.
International Perspectives on Civic Values and School Choice
In the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling upholding school choice, policymakers across the country are grappling with the challenge of funding and regulating private schools. Towns, cities, and states are experimenting with a variety of policies, including vouchers, tax credits, and charter schools. Meanwhile, public officials and citizens continue to debate the issues at the heart of the matter: Why should the government regulate education? Who should do the regulating? How should private schools be regulated, and how much?
These questions represent new terrain for many policymakers in the United States. Europe and Canada, however, have struggled with these issues for decades or, in some cases, even a century or more. In this groundbreaking volume, scholars from Europe and the United States come together to ask what Americans can learn from other countries' experience with publicly funded educational choice.
This experience is both extensive and varied. In England and Wales, parents play a significant role in selecting the schools their children will attend. In the Netherlands and much of Belgium, most students attend religious schools at government expense. In Canada, France and Germany, state-financed school choice is limited to circumstances that serve particular social and governmental needs. In Italy, school choice has just recently arrived on the policy agenda.
In analyzing these cases, the authors focus on how school choice policies have shaped and been shaped by civic values such as tolerance, civic cohesion, and integration across class, religious, and racial lines. They explore the systems of regulation, accountability, and control that accompany public funding, ranging from the testing-based mechanisms of Alberta to the more intrusive inspection systems of Britain, Germany, and France. And they discuss the relevance of these experiences for the United States. These essays illuminate many ways in which the public interest in education may be preserved or even enhanced in an era of increased parental choice. Based on a wealth of experience and expertise, Educating Citizens will aid policymakers and citizens as they consider historic changes in American public education policy.
A Global View of the American School
The relative deficiencies of U.S. public schools are a serious concern to parents and policymakers. But they should be of concern to all Americans, as a globalizing world introduces new competition for talent, markets, capital, and opportunity. In Endangering Prosperity, a trio of experts on international education policy compares the performance of American schools against that of other nations. The net result is a mixed but largely disappointing picture that clearly shows where improvement is most needed. The authors' objective is not to explain the deep causes of past failures but to document how dramatically the U.S. school system has failed its students and its citizens. It is a wake-up call for structural reform. To move forward to a different and better future requires that we understand just how serious a situation America faces today.
For example, the authors consider the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international mathematics examination. America is stuck in the middle of average scores, barely beating out European countries whose national economies are in the red zone. U.S. performance as measured against stronger economies is even weaker in total, 32 nations outperformed the United States. The authors also delve into comparative reading scores. A mere 31 percent of U.S. students in the class of 2011 could perform at the "proficient" level as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) program, compared with South Korea's result of 47 percent. And while some observers may downplay the significance of cross-globe comparisons, they should note that Canadian students are dramatically outpacing their U.S. counterparts as well.
Clearly something is wrong with this picture, and this book clearly explicates the costs of inaction. The time for incremental tweaking the system is long past wider, deeper, and more courageous steps are needed, as this book amply demonstrates with accessible prose, supported with hard data that simply cannot be ignored.
Educators with Disabilities
“This is a unique, timely, and relevant book that addresses the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of persons with disabilities who seek and achieve entry into professional life as educators. The contributors examine the importance of support services, the critical barriers to successful performance, and conclude by recommending actions that, if implemented, have the potential to facilitate entry into the field of education and create more and better opportunities for persons with disabilities.” --From the Foreword by Robert R. Davila, Former President, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC The 43 million people with disabilities form this country’s largest minority group, yet they are markedly under-employed as educators. Enhancing Diversity: Educators with Disabilities paves the way for correcting this costly omission. Editors Anderson, Karp, and Keller have called upon the knowledge of 19 other renowned contributors to address the important issues raised in Enhancing Diversity, including the place of disability in discussions of diversity in education, research on educators with disabilities that validates their capabilities, and information on the qualifications desired in and the demands made of education professionals. Legal precedents are cited and explained, and examples of efforts to place disabled educators are presented, along with recommendations on how disabled individuals and school administrators can work toward increased opportunities. Interviews with 25 disabled educators discussing how they satisfactorily fulfill their professional requirements completes this thoughtful-provoking book.
The education of deaf or hard of hearing children has become as complex as the varying needs of each individual child. Teachers face classrooms filled with students who are culturally Deaf, hard of hearing, or postlingually deaf. They might use American Sign Language, cochlear implants, hearing aids/FM systems, speech, Signed English, sign-supported speech, contact signing, nonverbal communication, or some combination of methods. Educators who decide what tools are best for these children are making far-reaching ethical decisions in each case. This collection features ten chapters that work as constructive conversations to make the diverse needs of these deaf students the primary focus. The initial essays establish fundamental points of ethical decision-making and emphasize that every situation should be examined not with regard for what is “right or wrong,” but for what is “useful.” Absolute objectivity is unattainable due to social influences, while “common knowledge” is ruled out in favor of “common awareness.” Other chapters deal with the reality of interpreting through the professional’s eyes, of how they are assessed, participate, and are valued in the total educational process, including mainstream environments. The various settings of education for deaf children are profiled, from residential schools to life in three cultures for deaf Latino students, to self-contained high school programs. Ethical Considerations in Educating Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing offers an invaluable set of guidelines for administrators and educators of children with hearing loss in virtually every environment in a postmodern world.
How a New Breed of Reformers Is Transforming America's Public Schools
By the early twenty-first century, a startling consensus had emerged about the overall aim of American school reform. In an era of political discord, and in a field historically known for contentiousness, the notion of promoting educational excellence for all students was a distinct point of bipartisan agreement. Shaped by a corps of entrepreneurial reformers intent on finding “what works” and taking it to scale, this hybrid vision won over the nation’s most ambitious and well-resourced policy leaders at foundations and nonprofits, in state and federal government, and in urban school districts from coast to coast. “Excellence for all” might, at first glance, appear to be nothing more than a rhetorical flourish. Who, after all, would oppose the idea of a great education for every student? Yet it is hardly a throwaway phrase. Rather, it represents a surprising fusion of educational policy approaches that had been in tense opposition throughout the twentieth century—those on the right favoring social efficiency, and those on the left supporting social justice. This book seeks to understand why the “excellence for all” vision took hold at the time it did, unpacks the particular beliefs and assumptions embedded in it, and details the often informal coalition building that produced this period of consensus. Examining the nation’s largest urban school districts (Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York), the author details three major reform efforts in chapters titled “The Right Space: The Small Schools Movement”; “The Right Teachers: Teach for America”; and “The Right Curriculum: Expanding Advanced Placement.”
A History of Special Education in the 20th Century
Since Margret A. Winzer wrote her landmark work The History of Special Education, much has transpired in this field, which she again has captured in a remarkable display of scholarship. Winzer’s new study From Integration to Inclusion: A History of Special Education in the 20th Century focuses chiefly on the significant events of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in the United States and Canada. Its key dynamics consist of a retrospective overview of the paradigms that emerged from and shaped special education; a critical assessment of past progress and reform, including failures and disappointments; and an analysis of the theoretical diversity within the discipline. In this stand-alone volume, Winzer juxtaposes the historical study of disability and of special schooling and service provision with reference to broader social systems, protocols, and practices. She documents how prevailing emotional and intellectual climates influence disability and schooling, and also takes into account the social, political, and ideological factors that affect educational theory and practice. Winzer recognizes that reform has been the Zeitgeist of the history of special education. Crucial problems such as defining exceptional conditions and separating them from one another were formulated in contexts organized along moral, theological, legislative, medical, and social dimensions. Many of these reforms failed for various reasons, which Winzer thoroughly explains in her study. Most of these reforms evolved from the long and honorable pedigree that the field of special education has possessed since its earliest antecedents, now admirably brought up to date by this outstanding work.