Source
Administrator Magazine
Scholastic Administrator is a must-read resource for 240,000 of today's results-driven school leaders. Every issue features leadership for education executives, insight and analysis into what's next in education, and reporting on cutting-edge technologies in real life applications.

Reform in a Recession

Tough economic times were an impetus for action. But what’s next?

Making lasting change to a large educational system isn’t easy even when jobs and resources are plentiful. 

But the last few years, since the beginning of the Great Recession—and especially since the wind-down of the federal stimulus program—have shown that making progress is extremely difficult during tough economic times. Whether reform efforts will stall out before the economy begins to rebound is anybody’s guess.

There are things that can get done during hard times that might otherwise be too difficult or unpopular to accomplish. A crisis should never be wasted, as Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel likes to say.

Indeed, the Obama administration’s health-care reform law and the massive spending bill known as the stimulus (with billions for schools) were enacted in large part due to the surge of energy that came from Washington following the economic crash.

And, tucked into the stimulus was the $5 billion education initiative known as Race to the Top, which encouraged states to begin to make a slew of difficult changes such as eliminating charter school caps and adopting the Common Core.

However, concerns about the reality of reforming schools in recessionary times have been on the rise. Thanks to the recession, rising child poverty rates and the spread of poverty to the suburbs have brought new challenges to larger numbers of schools. Upward economic mobility—long the ultimate rationale for improving public education—has stalled, raising questions about the fundamental underlying benefits of focusing on education reform (as opposed to, say, wages, jobs, or child care). Recent experience shows that in the aftermath of crises, policymakers and everyone else are just as likely to hunker down as to push for risky changes.

Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon is the repeated failure of Congress to revamp the 2002 federal education law No Child Left Behind. Following the passage of Race to the Top—and absent the promise of a substantial influx of additional federal education funding that’s accompanied reauthorizations in the past—Congress found it easier to allow the administration to provide “waivers” to states (and a handful of California districts).

Another vivid example of how difficult it’s been to push for reform during uncertain economic times comes from the pushback against Teach for America, the national nonprofit that recruits and places Ivy League graduates in classrooms for two years. Tolerated if not welcomed by career educators, the program’s presence has become increasingly controversial in districts where TFA members compete with classroom veterans for jobs—or where TFA alumni argue against seniority and tenure rules that favor credentials and years of service over energy and perceived performance.

So where does all of this leave us?

In a perfect world, reform advocates and critics would both adjust their agendas somewhat, agreeing to one that is still primarily school-focused but also includes broader antipoverty elements, and uniting to make needed changes. There is broad agreement around the need to expand early childhood education, for example.

Less ideal but still possible is that educators and reform critics could continue to push back powerfully against efforts that they see as unwise and unjust, as they have in Chicago and elsewhere, blocking changes or even rolling them back.

The only outcome that seems unlikely is for reform efforts to emerge from the recession entirely unchanged. The core reform agenda—expanding the numbers of charter schools, rating teachers based on student achievement—has been tarnished too thoroughly during these recessionary years to remain unchanged going forward.  

 

—Fall 2013— 

  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets PB

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets PB

    by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPre

    Harry is about to return to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry after a summer with his horrible relatives, but an impish creature warns him to stay away. What challenges and dangers await him? And who -- or what -- is turning students to stone? Your child won’t want to miss the further exploits of Harry Potter in Book Two of this best-selling series.

    $8.79 You save: 20%
    books;paperback books;paperbacks | Ages 9 and Up
    Add To Cart
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets PB
    Ages 9 and Up $8.79
  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) eBook

    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) eBook

    by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPre

    Note: All Storia eBooks of the Harry Potter series are available for purchase exclusively through Pottermore: a unique online Harry Potter Experience by J.K. Rowling.

    To purchase Harry Potter eBooks you'll be redirected to the Pottermore Shop, where you can complete your order after you sign in or create a new account. Be sure to select Storia as your download option at the end of your purchase to successfully link your new Harry Potter eBooks to your Storia account. Then you'll be able to read and enjoy Harry Potter just like any other Storia eBook you may own or discover at Scholastic.


    The evil Lord Voldemort and his supporters, the Death Eaters, have infiltrated every aspect of the Wizarding world, with frightening and tragic results. With the guidance of Professor Dumbledore, it's time for Harry Potter to join the fight; but first, he must learn all he can about the wizard who intends to kill him.

    Meanwhile, life at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry goes on. The professors are more demanding than ever; especially Professor Snape, whose loyalties are starting to seem very suspect. Harry develops powerful new skills in magic, thanks to a textbook that once belonged to the mysterious Half-Blood Prince. And like 16-year-olds everywhere, Harry and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, experience the perils of love and heartbreak.

    As Harry's inevitable battle with Voldemort grows ever closer, he comes to understand exactly what it will take to defeat the Dark Lord for good. His mission leads him and Dumbledore to the darkest corners of the Wizarding world and into the depths of Voldemort's wickedness; and results in betrayals and sacrifices of epic proportions.

    With touching, funny revelations, a shocking conclusion, and an entirely new set of magical secrets yet to unfold, this sixth volume sets the stage for the monumental final battle to come.

    $9.99
    books;ebooks;pottermore ebooks | Ages 12 and Up
    Add To Cart
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) eBook
    Ages 12 and Up $9.99
Help | Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR NAME

* YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

* RECIPIENT'S EMAIL ADDRESS(ES)

(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.

INCLUDE A PERSONAL MESSAGE (Optional)


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.