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Contemporary Economic Perspectives in Education

Kristof De Witte (ed.)

Efficiency and effectiveness in ‘education economics’. Economists are well placed to study education. They are intrinsically interested in (public) spending. They want to examine whether resources are spent in an effective (i.e., doing the right things) and efficient (i.e., doing things right) way. By focusing on educational efficiency, economists can provide intuitive insights that engender more value for money. Moreover, the effectiveness concerns are related to the ‘evidence-based education’ idea. Contemporary Economic Perspectives in Education contributes to this growing field of ‘education economics’. This book provides a detailed approach to how economists treat earlier evidence, how they avoid measurement problems, and how they measure efficiency. Applications covered include the underperformance of boys, efficiency and equity in education, and inter-industry wage differentials in the health sector.

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Cross Purposes

Pierce v. Society of Sisters and the Struggle over Compulsory Public Education

Paula Abrams

A definitive study of an extremely important, though curiously neglected, Supreme Court decision, Pierce v. Society of Sisters. ---Robert O'Neil, Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Virginia School of Law "A careful and captivating examination of a dramatic and instructive clash between nationalism and religious pluralism, and of the ancient but ongoing struggle for control over the education of children and the formation of citizens." ---Richard W. Garnett, Professor of Law and Associate Dean, Notre Dame Law School "A well-written, well-researched blend of law, politics, and history." ---Joan DelFattore, Professor of English and Legal Studies, University of Delaware In 1922, the people of Oregon passed legislation requiring all children to attend public schools. For the nativists and progressives who had campaigned for the Oregon School Bill, it marked the first victory in a national campaign to homogenize education---and ultimately the populace. Private schools, both secular and religious, vowed to challenge the law. The Catholic Church, the largest provider of private education in the country and the primary target of the Ku Klux Klan campaign, stepped forward to lead the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), the court declared the Oregon School Bill unconstitutional and ruled that parents have the right to determine how their children should be educated. Since then, Pierce has provided a precedent in many cases pitting parents against the state. Paula Abrams is Professor of Constitutional Law at Lewis & Clark Law School.

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A Curriculum of Fear

Homeland Security in U.S. Public Schools

Nicole Nguyen

Welcome to Milton High School, where fear is a teacher’s best tool and every student is a soldier in the war on terror. A struggling public school outside the nation’s capital, Milton sat squarely at the center of two trends: growing fear of resurgent terrorism and mounting pressure to run schools as job training sites. In response, the school established a specialized Homeland Security program. 

A Curriculum of Fear takes us into Milton for a day-to-day look at how such a program works, what it means to students and staff, and what it says about the militarization of U.S. public schools and, more broadly, the state of public education in this country. Nicole Nguyen guides us through a curriculum of national security–themed classes, electives, and internships designed through public-private partnerships with major defense contractors like Northrop Grumman and federal agencies like the NSA. She introduces us to students in the process of becoming a corps of “diverse workers” for the national security industry, learning to be “vigilant” citizens; and she shows us the everyday realities of a program intended to improve the school, revitalize the community, and eliminate the achievement gap. 

With reference to critical work on school militarization, neoliberal school reform, the impact of the global war on terror on everyday life, and the political uses of fear, A Curriculum of Fear maps the contexts that gave rise to Milton’s Homeland Security program and its popularity. Ultimately, as the first ethnography of such a program, the book provides a disturbing close encounter with the new normal imposed by the global war on terror—a school at once under siege and actively preparing for the siege itself.

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Deaf and Disability Studies

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Susan Burch and Alison Kafer, Editors

This collection presents 14 essays by renowned scholars on Deaf people, Deafhood, Deaf histories, and Deaf identity, but from different points of view on the Deaf/Disability compass. Editors Susan Burch and Alison Kafer have divided these works around three themes. The first, Identities and Locations, explores Deaf identity in different contexts. Topics range from a history of activism shaped by the ableism of Deaf elites in the United States from 1880–1920, to a discussion of the roles that economics, location, race, and culture play in the experiences of a Deaf woman from northern Nigeria now living in Washington, D.C. Alliances and Activism showcases activisim organized across differences. Studies include a feminist analysis of how deaf and hearing women working together share responsibility, and an examination of how intra-cultural variations in New York City and Quebec affect deaf-focused HIV/AIDS programs. The third theme, Boundaries and Overlaps, explicitly addresses the relationships between Deaf Studies and Disability Studies. Interviews with scholars from both disciplines help define these relationships. Another contributor calls for hearing/not-deaf people with disabilities to support their Deaf peers in gaining language access to the United Nations. Deaf and Disability Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives reveals that different questions often lead to contrary conclusions among their authors, who still recognize that they all have a stake in this partnership.

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Deaf Students and the Qualitative Similarity Hypothesis

Understanding Language and Literacy Development

Peter V. Paul, Ye Wang, and CheriWilliams, Editors

Sign language interpreters often offer the primary avenue of access for deaf and hard of hearing students in public schools. More than 80% of all deaf children today are mainstreamed, and few of their teachers sign well enough to provide them with full access. As a result, many K-12 interpreters perform multiple roles beyond interpreting. Yet, very little is known about what they actually do and what factors inform their moment-to-moment decisions. This volume presents the range of activities and responsibilities performed by educational interpreters, and illuminates what they consider when making decisions. To learn about the roles of K–12 interpreters, author Melissa B. Smith conducted in-depth analyses at three different schools. She learned that in response to what interpreters feel that their deaf students need, many focus on three key areas: 1) visual access, 2) language and learning, and 3) social and academic participation/inclusion. To best serve their deaf students in these contexts, they perform five critical functions: they assess and respond to the needs and abilities of deaf students; they interpret with or without modification as they deem appropriate; they capitalize on available resources; they rely on interactions with teachers and students to inform their choices; and they take on additional responsibilities as the need arises.

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Debates in the Digital Humanities

Matthew K. Gold

Encompassing new technologies, research methods, and opportunities for collaborative scholarship and open-source peer review, as well as innovative ways of sharing knowledge and teaching, the digital humanities promises to transform the liberal arts—and perhaps the university itself. Indeed, at a time when many academic institutions are facing austerity budgets, digital humanities programs have been able to hire new faculty, establish new centers and initiatives, and attract multimillion-dollar grants.

Clearly the digital humanities has reached a significant moment in its brief history. But what sort of moment is it? Debates in the Digital Humanities brings together leading figures in the field to explore its theories, methods, and practices and to clarify its multiple possibilities and tensions. From defining what a digital humanist is and determining whether the field has (or needs) theoretical grounding, to discussions of coding as scholarship and trends in data-driven research, this cutting-edge volume delineates the current state of the digital humanities and envisions potential futures and challenges. At the same time, several essays aim pointed critiques at the field for its lack of attention to race, gender, class, and sexuality; the inadequate level of diversity among its practitioners; its absence of political commitment; and its preference for research over teaching.

Together, the essays in Debates in the Digital Humanities—which will be published both as a printed book and later as an ongoing, open-access website—suggest that the digital humanities is uniquely positioned to contribute to the revival of the humanities and academic life.

Contributors: Bryan Alexander, National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education; Rafael Alvarado, U of Virginia; Jamie “Skye” Bianco, U of Pittsburgh; Ian Bogost, Georgia Institute of Technology; Stephen Brier, CUNY Graduate Center; Daniel J. Cohen, George Mason U; Cathy N. Davidson, Duke U; Rebecca Frost Davis, National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education; Johanna Drucker, U of California, Los Angeles; Amy E. Earhart, Texas A&M U; Charlie Edwards; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Pomona College; Julia Flanders, Brown U; Neil Fraistat, U of Maryland; Paul Fyfe, Florida State U; Michael Gavin, Rice U; David Greetham, CUNY Graduate Center; Jim Groom, U of Mary Washington; Gary Hall, Coventry U, UK; Mills Kelly, George Mason U; Matthew Kirschenbaum, U of Maryland; Alan Liu, U of California, Santa Barbara; Elizabeth Losh, U of California, San Diego; Lev Manovich, U of California, San Diego; Willard McCarty, King’s College London; Tara McPherson, U of Southern California; Bethany Nowviskie, U of Virginia; Trevor Owens, Library of Congress; William Pannapacker, Hope College; Dave Parry, U of Texas at Dallas; Stephen Ramsay, U of Nebraska, Lincoln; Alexander Reid, SUNY at Buffalo; Geoffrey Rockwell, Canadian Institute for Research Computing in the Arts; Mark L. Sample, George Mason U; Tom Scheinfeldt, George Mason U; Kathleen Marie Smith; Lisa Spiro, National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education; Patrik Svensson, Umeå U; Luke Waltzer, Baruch College; Matthew Wilkens, U of Notre Dame; George H. Williams, U of South Carolina Upstate; Michael Witmore, Folger Shakespeare Library.

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Democracy's Education

Public Work, Citizenship, and the Future of Colleges and Universities

Harry C. Boyte

Today Americans feel powerless in the face of problems on every front. Such feelings are acute in higher education, where educators are experiencing an avalanche of changes: cost cutting, new technologies, and demands that higher education be narrowly geared to the needs of today's workplace. College graduates face mounting debt and uncertain job prospects, and worry about a coarsening of the mass culture and the erosion of authentic human relationships. Higher education is increasingly seen, and often portrays itself, as a ticket to individual success--a private good, not a public one.


Democracy's Education grows from the American Commonwealth Partnership, a year-long project to revitalize the democratic narrative of higher education that began with an invitation to Harry Boyte from the White House to put together a coalition aimed at strengthening higher education as a public good. The project was launched at the beginning of 2012 to mark the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which created land grant colleges.


Beginning with an essay by Harry C. Boyte, "Reinventing Citizenship as Public Work," which challenges educators and their partners to claim their power to shape the story of higher education and the civic careers of students, the collection brings world-famous scholars, senior government officials, and university presidents together with faculty, students, staff, community organizers, and intellectuals from across the United States and South Africa and Japan. Contributors describe many constructive responses to change already taking place in different kinds of institutions, and present cutting-edge ideas like "civic science," "civic studies," "citizen professionalism," and "citizen alumni." Authors detail practical approaches to making change, from new faculty and student roles to changes in curriculum and student life and strategies for everyday citizen empowerment. Overall, the work develops a democratic story of education urgently needed to address today's challenges, from climate change to growing inequality.

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Democratic Dilemmas

Joint Work, Education Politics, and Community

Drawing on three years of field research and extensive theoretical and empirical literature, Democratic Dilemmas chronicles the day-to-day efforts of educators and laypersons working together to advance student learning in two California school districts. Julie A. Marsh reveals how power, values, organizational climates, and trust played key roles in these two districts achieving vastly different results. In one district, parents, citizens, teachers, and administrators effectively developed and implemented districtwide improvement strategies; in the other, community and district leaders unsuccessfully attempted to improve systemwide accountability through dialogue. The book highlights the inherent tensions of deliberative democracy, competing notions of representation, limitations of current conceptions of educational accountability, and the foundational importance of trust to democracy and education reform. It further provides a framework for improving community-educator collaboration and lessons for policy and practice.

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Democratic Education

Amy Gutmann

Who should have the authority to shape the education of citizens in a democracy? This is the central question posed by Amy Gutmann in the first book-length study of the democratic theory of education. The author tackles a wide range of issues, from the democratic case against book banning to the role of teachers' unions in education, as well as the vexed questions of public support for private schools and affirmative action in college admissions.

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Dewey's Dream

Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform

Lee Benson

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.

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