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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.
Communication and Rhetoric in the Twentieth Century
The Ethics and Politics of Speech interrogates the ethical, political, and philosophical assumptions of American communication studies. It examines essays, conference proceedings, and archival documents across the 20th century to generate a new approach to the ethics and politics of communication.
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.
The Completion Agenda in Higher Education
The United States, long considered to have the best higher education in the world, now ranks eleventh in the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds with a college degree. As other countries have made dramatic gains in degree attainment, the U.S. has improved more slowly. In response, President Obama recently laid out a national “completion agenda” with the goal of making the U.S. the best-educated nation in the world by the year 2020. Getting to Graduation explores the reforms that we must pursue to recover a position of international leadership in higher education as well as the obstacles to those reforms. This new completion agenda puts increased pressure on institutions to promote student success and improve institutional productivity in a time of declining public revenue. In this volume, scholars of higher education and public policymakers describe promising directions for reform. They argue that it is essential to redefine postsecondary education and to consider a broader range of learning opportunities—beyond the research university and traditional bachelor degree programs—to include community colleges, occupational certificate programs, and apprenticeships. The authors also emphasize the need to rethink policies governing financial aid, remediation, and institutional funding to promote degree completion.
A Good Little School pays homage to Jefferson County Open School, a public school of choice with a thirty-year history of providing an alternative education for students in K-12. Chronicled in this book are the personal experiences and anecdotes of teachers, parents, and students within the school, and how their contributions make it unique. In so doing, these reflections demonstrate to others that there is more to education than conventional subject areas such as math and reading. Also examined are the ways in which the school preserves the core elements that support the students’ best personal, social, and intellectual interests. These self-reflective accounts create a learning environment with humanity at the center, giving students the skills necessary to lead compassionate lives.
This nine-country study of higher education financing in Africa includes three East African states (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), five countries in southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa), and an Indian Ocean island state (Mauritius). Higher Education Financing in East and Southern Africa explores trends in financing policies, paying particular attention to the nature and extent of public sector funding of higher education, the growth of private financing (including both household financing and the growth of private higher education institutions) and the changing mix of financing instruments that these countries are developing in response to public sector financial constraints. This unique collection of African-country case studies draws attention to the remaining challenges around the financing of higher education in Africa, but also identifies good practices, lessons and common themes.
Higher Education in Africa. Crises, Reforms and Transformation