Saturday, August 13, 2016

Charter Schools’ 25th Anniversary: Why This Reform Has Lasted (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Charter Schools’ 25th Anniversary: Why This Reform Has Lasted (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Charter Schools’ 25th Anniversary: Why This Reform Has Lasted (Part 2)

Charter Schools - Dividing Communities since 1991

In investigating school reforms that have taken place over the last century and a half, I have divided them into incremental and fundamental changes (see hereand here). Incremental reforms are those that aim to improve the existing structures of schooling; the premise behind incremental reforms is that the basic structures are sound but need improving to remove defects. The car is old but if it gets fixed it will become dependable transportation. It needs tires, brakes, a new battery, and a water pump–incremental changes. Fundamental reforms are those that aim to transform, to alter permanently, those very same structures; the premise behind fundamental reforms is that basic structures are flawed at their core and need a complete overhaul, not renovations. The old jalopy is beyond repair. We need to get a completely new car or consider different forms of transportation–fundamental changes.
If new courses, new staff, summer schools, higher standards for teachers, and increased salaries are clear examples of enhancements to the structures of public schooling, then the introduction of the age-graded school (which gradually eliminated the one-room school) Progressive educators’ broadening the school’s role to intervene in the lives of children and their families (e.g., to provide medical and social services) in the early 20th century, and more recently the introduction of charter schools in the 1990s are examples of fundamental reforms that stuck.
The platoon school, classroom technologies from film and radio to laptops and tablets, project-based learning, and charter schools, however, are instances of attempted fundamental change in the school and classroom since the early 20thcentury that were adopted, incorporated into many schools, and, over time, either downsized into incremental ones or slipped away, leaving few traces of their presence. Why did some incremental reforms get institutionalized and most of the fundamental ones either became just another part of the “system” or simply disappeared?
Some scholars have analyzed those hardy reforms that survived and concluded that a number of factors account for their institutionalization (see here andhere).

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