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What’s Driving Educational Reform in America?

The release of “A Nation at Risk”, in 1983 declared, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.” Since its release, various constituencies have requested, and in some cases, demanded improvements in our educational system. And yet, almost 30 years later, reports continue to criticize the declining American educational system. The question to be asked is, who or what is driving this demand for educational reform?

Is it the governors who are demanding that schools need to be more effective while they are making draconian budget cuts eliminating teachers, closing schools and eliminating subjects that children come to school to enjoy?

Is it the regard for parents who work a 5-day workweek while their children attend school for only 4 days?

Is it the schools that are being asked to be globally competitive when they are closed every other Friday?

Is it the children who need individual attention but are sitting in classes where there are 39 other children sitting?

Is it the U.S. Department of Education who institutes a “Race to the Top” giving incentives to schools/districts who take the lid off of charter schools when only one out of five charter schools are performing better than traditional schools?

Is it the local superintendents who are eliminating sports, clubs, music, art and extra curricula activities because of the costs of bus transportation?

Is it the business people who are demanding that schools produce thinking, problem-solving productive citizens while supporting rote, regurgitating multiple-guess tests?

Is it educational leaders who support removing tenure from experienced classroom-trained professionals and are filling classrooms with lower-paid, less-experienced (in some cases, non-licensed) educators?

Is it the business community who are more interested in selling technology and high stakes tests than in improving instruction and learning?

What is driving educational reform in America are the financial pressures caused by politicians, business people, bankers, and financial managers.

Besides, children can’t vote!

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