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Education > Education Policy and Reform

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Early Start Cover

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Early Start

Preschool Politics in the United States

Andrew Karch

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.

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Educating Citizens

International Perspectives on Civic Values and School Choice

David J. Ferrero and Stephen Macedo, eds.. with contributions byDavid J. Ferrero and Charles Venegoni

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.

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Educating Scholars

Doctoral Education in the Humanities

Ronald G. Ehrenberg

Despite the worldwide prestige of America's doctoral programs in the humanities, all is not well in this area of higher education and hasn't been for some time. The content of graduate programs has undergone major changes, while high rates of student attrition, long times to degree, and financial burdens prevail. In response, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1991 launched the Graduate Education Initiative (GEI), the largest effort ever undertaken to improve doctoral programs in the humanities and related social sciences. The only book to focus exclusively on the current state of doctoral education in the humanities, Educating Scholars reports on the GEI's success in reducing attrition and times to degree, the positive changes implemented by specific graduate programs, and the many challenges still to be addressed.

Over a ten-year period, the Foundation devoted almost eighty-five million dollars through the GEI to provide support for doctoral programs and student aid in fifty-four departments at ten leading universities. The authors examine data that tracked the students in these departments and in control departments, as well as information gathered from a retrospective survey of students. They reveal that completion and attrition rates depend upon financial support, the quality of advising, clarity of program requirements, and each department's expectations regarding the dissertation. The authors consider who earns doctoral degrees, what affects students' chances of finishing their programs, and how successful they are at finding academic jobs.

Answering some of the most important questions being raised about American doctoral programs today, Educating Scholars will interest all those concerned about our nation's intellectual future.

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Education and the Labour Movement 1870-1920

Brian Simon

The second volume of Brian Simon’s series Studies in the History of Education traces developments from the securing of universal education with the Education Act of 1870 to the conclusion of the First World War. These educational developments were marked by the increasing role played by organised labour in pressing for the reform of the system of universal education – opposing class privilege and prejudice and urging equal opportunities for all. With the formation of the public schools and then with the defeat of the school boards which were trying to improve the opportunities for working-class children, a divided system of education became well-established, in which the few were trained for university entrance and then for the top jobs while the mass were denied anything but an ‘elementary’ education. While Labour Party opposition to this division was largely unsuccessful many vital concessions were won in these years including the abolition of school fees and the provision of school meals. The book also explores the effects of imperialist expansion on educational ideas and also examines the developments in adult education.

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Education and the Social Order

1940-1990

Brian Simon

Education and the Social Order examines the changes and developments in the British education system from the Second World War to the eve of the millennium.Education has always been a battlefield and never more so than in Britain in the second half of the twentieth century. Simon argues that educational policy usually reflects the outcome of a struggle between progressives who see reform as a first step towards social change, and conservatives who prefer a stratified system which reflects existing social divisions. Beginning with the 1944 Education Act, the book documents the changes that took place as the result of these battles: it begins with the 1944 Education Act and the massive extension of educational opportunity that took place in the postwar period; it then deals with the subsequent prolonged debates about comprehensive education, and other measures of liberalisation during the 1960s and 1970s; and it ends with the years of Conservative government, the 1980s and 1990s, when systematic attempts were made to reverse the advances that had been made during the earlier period.

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Education Governance for the Twenty-First Century

Overcoming the Structural Barriers to School Reform

edited by Paul Manna and Patrick McGuinn

America's fragmented, decentralized, politicized, and bureaucratic system of education governance is a major impediment to school reform. In this important new book, a number of leading education scholars, analysts, and practitioners show that understanding the impact of specific policy changes in areas such as standards, testing, teachers, or school choice requires careful analysis of the broader governing arrangements that influence their content, implementation, and impact.

Education Governance for the Twenty-First Century comprehensively assesses the strengths and weaknesses of what remains of the old in education governance, scrutinizes how traditional governance forms are changing, and suggests how governing arrangements might be further altered to produce better educational outcomes for children.

Paul Manna, Patrick McGuinn, and their colleagues provide the analysis and alternatives that will inform attempts to adapt nineteenth and twentieth century governance structures to the new demands and opportunities of today.

Contents:

Education Governance in America: Who Leads When Everyone Is in Charge?, Patrick McGuinn and Paul Manna

The Failures of U.S. Education Governance Today, Chester E. Finn Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli

How Current Education Governance Distorts Financial Decisionmaking, Marguerite Roza

Governance Challenges to Innovators within the System, Michelle R. Davis

Governance Challenges to Innovators outside the System, Steven F. Wilson

Rethinking District Governance, Frederick M. Hess and Olivia M. Meeks

Interstate Governance of Standards and Testing, Kathryn A. McDermott

Education Governance in Performance-Based Federalism, Kenneth K. Wong

The Rise of Education Executives in the White House, State House, and Mayor's Office, Jeffrey R. Henig

English Perspectives on Education Governance and Delivery, Michael Barber

Education Governance in Canada and the United States, Sandra Vergari

Education Governance in Comparative Perspective, Michael Mintrom and Richard Walley

Governance Lessons from the Health Care and Environment Sectors, Barry G. Rabe

Toward a Coherent and Fair Funding System, Cynthia G. Brown

Picturing a Different Governance Structure for Public Education, Paul T. Hill

From Theory to Results in Governance Reform, Kenneth J. Meier

The Tall Task of Education Governance Reform, Paul Manna and Patrick McGuinn

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Education Reform and the Limits of Policy

Lessons from Michigan

Michael F. Addonizio and C. Philip Kearney

The authors use Michigan as a laboratory to examine a set of commonly implemented reforms in an attempt to answer three key questions: 1) What is the nature of these reforms? 2) What do they hope to accomplish? and 3) How successful have they been?

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Educational Interpreting

How It Can Succeed

Elizabeth A. Winston, Editor

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Elusive Equity

Education Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Edward B. Fiske and Helen F. Ladd

Elusive Equity chronicles South Africa's efforts to fashion a racially equitable state education system from the ashes of apartheid. The policymakers who came to power with Nelson Mandela in 1994 inherited and education system designed to further the racist goals of apartheid. Their massive challenge was to transform that system, which lavished human and financial resources on schools serving white students while systematically starving those serving African, coloured, and Indian learners, into one that would offer quality education to all persons, regardless of their race.

Edward Fiske and Helen Ladd describe and evaluate the strategies that South Africa pursued in its quest for racial equity. They draw on previously unpublished data, interviews with key officials, and visits to dozens of schools to describe the changes made in school finance, teacher assignment policies, governance, curriculum, higher education, and other areas. They conclude that the country has made remarkable progress toward equity in the sense of equal treatment of persons of all races. For several reasons, however, the country has been far less successful in promoting equal educational opportunity or educational adequacy. Thus equity has remained elusive.

The book is unique in combining the perceptive observations of a skilled education journalist with the analytical skills of an academic policy expert. Richly textured descriptions of how South Africa's education reforms have affected schools at the grass-roots level are combined with careful analysis of enrollment, governance, and budget data at the school, provincial, and national levels. The result is a compelling and comprehensive study of South Africa's first decade of education reform in the post-apartheid period.

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Employment Growth from Public Support of Innovation in Small Firms

Albert N. Link and John T. Scott

Link and Scott provide a statistical assessment of the employment growth associated with public support of R&D in small, entrepreneurial firms through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. While on the surface the SBIR program is generally intended to stimulate innovation leading to commercialization, and this is how government and scholars have historically judged the program, Link and Scott suggest that it may be assessed from a different perspective. To them, the extent to which long-term job creation results from public support of R&D should be evaluated.

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