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  1. 1. Applying a Critical Framework to Understand Educational Restructuring in England - Two Germanies: Historical Ideological Perspectives; Pages 178-191 Lisa Smith Chapman College University EDUU 607
  2. 2. Tools as the Critical Evaluation of Educational Reform  Theoretical adequacy  Policy effectiveness  Empirical validity
  3. 3. Theoretical Adequacy of the ERA  Results of the ERA were more political than pedagogical  Reform was to reverse England’s economic decline, maximize human resource, and stimulate social progress  Based on theoretical foundation of human capital formation  Assumption that national economic improvement is connected with education improvement
  4. 4. Two guiding assertions of the ERA  Accountability  Clearer management roles  Administration of prescribed curriculum  Regular assessments  Holds educators and educational leaders responsible  Parental choice and localized control  Parents allowed to chose schools  School funding tied to enrollment  Schools must raise standard to attract students  Faced school closure with inadequate enrollment  Reduced teacher autonomy by increasing interest in parent preferences and aligning instructional practice accordingly
  5. 5. Broad ERA Goals  Address lack of standards  Government adopted a highly detailed national curriculum  Expectations that schools will “bring 80 to 90 percent of all pupils at least to the level of pupils of average ability in individual subjects”  Make available the educational rigor long available to the English elite extended to society  Potential to promote greater homogeneity in schools throughout the system  Policy reinforced differences from school to school rather than a standard educational experience
  6. 6. Flaws of the ERA  Proponents philosophy is the policy would help empower the parents of British schoolchildren, however, ERA’s move to curricular standards and assessments allowed little parent input  Funding latitude to certain schools but not to others  Educational variation within the school system  Freedom of parent choice is illusionary  Parents were free to chose which school to teach the centralized curriculum  Relationship of the reform’s measures to its promised outcome  Meaningful factor for assessing accomplishment is the equitability of educational financing and distribution  England’s reformed schools are potentially elitists  Diagnoses of the educational system’s problems received little attention  Failed to directly attack underlying causes of ineffective schooling
  7. 7. Theoretical Adequacy Questions – Teachers can apply these questions in thinking about plans for change that they encounter in school  Is there a theoretical foundation for the proposed reform?  What is the hypothesized relationship of the reform to its stated outcome?  Are the claims being made in favor of the reform theoretically sound? Plausible?  What other factors might theoretically account for the observed outcomes?  Is the reform program taking those factors into consideration?
  8. 8. Policy Effectiveness of the ERA  Appeal of choice school enlisted the support of the English citizenry for changes  Furthered the interests of the business and industry sectors sympathetic to conservative ideologies  Problem of serving the minority populations continued to grow  Teachers objected to the national curriculum because of its emphasis on factual learning and had little input in its development  Major expenses in developing and implementing its standard curriculum and national tests, and constant adjustments  Similar to NCLB  No teacher flexibility in curriculum  Expected to adhere to instructional directives  Impeded teachers from applying professional judgments; accommodations, unexpected situations, and ability levels  Popular schools were crowded  Due to constant revisions, teachers had insufficient time and resources to do their job properly
  9. 9. Policy Effectiveness Questions – Teachers can apply these questions in thinking about plans for change that they encounter in school  Is there support for this reform (e.g., public, governmental)?  Will there be threatened interest groups that will attempt to sabotage it?  What are the resource allocation, teacher training, and cost requirements of the reform?  How long will it take to implement it, and is it enough time being given to adequately assess it?
  10. 10. Empirical Validity of ERA  Polls and survey results concluded that a relatively high level of support existed among both parents and teachers just after the reform was put into place  Others refuted those claims using detailed anecdotal information  Parents had mixed feelings about the new system  Perception was the schools and curriculum were vulnerable to political manipulation  Parents identified themselves and consumers and schooling as a product  Little evidence existed on the validity the reform supplied what the parents needed  Research prior to the reform suggested that parents cared more about student happiness, extra-curricular offerings, and school location than instructional excellence  Government ensured that parents would receive an annual report identifying their school’s standing on a number of counts  Did not address broader interests among the parents such as general student contentment  Early research showed that some empirical justification existed about the system’s potential to provide equitable opportunity
  11. 11. Empirical Validity Questions – Teachers can apply these questions in thinking about plans for change that they encounter in school  Is there any empirical evidence regarding the reform?  Is research available elsewhere regarding the successes of similar programs?  If research was conducted, how satisfactory was the research design?  What kind of claims and interpretations are being made of the research findings?  Are the research findings unequivocal or ambiguous? What might account for these findings?
  12. 12. Conclusions Regarding ERA  Similarities between Britain and the United States are obvious  Calls for educational change have been enthusiastic and relentless  Critics encouraging change identified educational reform as a key to national economic progress, especially to the forces of globalization  Differences between Britain and the United States are obvious  England has enacted reform more quickly  British model had limitations in terms of its potential to demonstrate that choice and competition can drive successful change  The British plan was self-contradictory
  13. 13. Sociopolitical Factors Shaping Education in England and Germany  England  Germany  Factor  Factor  England has retained strong links to its  Enormous war penalties on the aristocratic past Germans contributed to a near loss of  Response confidence on the German economy  Mid 19th century “public schools” were  Hyperinflation was so pronounced privately endowed schools as a charity during the early 1920s, a U.S. dollar for poorer members of society was worth several trillion marks  Wealthier members were educated with  Response tutors  Adolf Hitler rose to power  Educational Implications  Educational Implications  Growth of middle class and the  Schools were one of Hitler's’ most Industrial Revolution brought a important mouthpiece for propaganda demand for a secondary school that  Contemporary German school system might exclude the working class reflects safeguards against manipulation  Public schools were reformed to provide an alternative to exclude the poor
  14. 14. Education and New Challenges in Post-Reunification Germany  No similar popular input or normal policy formulation process existed  Integration of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) into the Federal Republic of Germany (FDG) resulted in the overturning of East Germany’s patterns of social commitment  East Germany was authoritarian in its control of education  Directed the country’s teaching and learning with a level of manipulation that matched the country’s economy
  15. 15. Two Germanies: Historical and Ideological Perspectives  Germany was divided following WWII as a result of ideological differences among the Allies  Soviet Union embraced socialist beliefs  Western Allies supported capitalism
  16. 16. The Context of Reform: Schooling in the Former GDR  Three overarching functions of the country’s school system  Guarantee society’s economic development  Dismantle class structures and establish a classless society  Ensure allegiance to the ideals of communist SED (Socialist Unity Party) party and the active engagement of East German citizens in securing the party’s objectives
  17. 17. Polytechnical Upper Schools  Unified the tandem aims of academic and vocational education  10-year institutions  Attended 6 to 16 years of age  Emphasis on science and math  Near universal mode of education for East German youths  Embodied the principle of a classless society  All students attended the polytechnical school together  Aimed to produce well-rounded and versatile citizens and become contributing members of the working class  Polytechnical education was “not any special subject of instruction”, but rather, was intended to “penetrate all subjects,” linking them with practical activity, especially with manual skills”  In the Marxist conception, their contributions in the workforce would create an “unprecedented expansion of productivity” that would render class distinctions meaningless
  18. 18. Polytechnical Upper Schools…continued  Youth’s allegiance to communist ideals were pursued in a number of ways  A focus in civic class influence political values in students  Membership in the Free German Youth organization was necessary for East German youths to secure their prospects for advancement  Premilitary training was in the curriculum  Teacher monitored student activities noting progress toward outcomes that were ideologically favorably and interceding sometime heavy-handedly when students behaved unfavorably