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Education reforms and student achievement in the American states

Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University
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  • Education
  • Law


The educational reforms by the states in the early 1980s were aimed at toughening the school environment and enriching student learning. Critics said that gains in schooling and learning are incompatible goals. We found small but consistent gains in learning, but inconsistent consequences of reform on schooling. State-imposed reforms accomplished more in learning than schooling, but the measurement of educational changes are too rough to make elaborate statistical analyses fruitful. "Legislators legislated. Bureaucrats regulated. Commissions wrote reports. And all these groups pointed fingers and accused. The result was inability to address the real issues of schooling in America." Mary Hatwood Futrell (1989) "Don't destroy education reform now; it's working." Bill Honig (1990) "Many states have beefed up academic requirements for high school graduation. Much has been heard of stiffer certification requirements for teachers. The spasms have given us more homework for students, merit pay for teachers, career ladders, alternative schools, something for everyone. And the level of academic achievement across the nation is pathetic. James Kilpatrick (1990) "Reforms in public schools to date have been superficial and that nothing short of restructuring is needed. " Chris Pipho (1989)

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