We Need a Third Wave of Education Reform

Lipsky, Dorothy Kerzner
January 1992
Social Policy;Winter92, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p43
Academic Journal
The article discusses a need for a third wave of education reform in the U.S., a comprehensive effort that places the student at the center of reform. The U.S. have seen two waves of school reform. The first, following in the wake of "A Nation at Risk," focused on external factors: higher standards, new curricula, strengthened teacher-certification requirements, and expenditure increases of more than a thousand dollars per pupil between the school years 1982 to 1983 and 1987 to 1988. The U.S. is in the midst of a second wave of reform that focuses on the roles of adults which include teacher empowerment, school-based management and parental choice. As generations of teachers have realized, they cannot learn for their students, it is the students who must do the learning. Students do their best when they feel respected. Yet, most often schools operate from a deficit model, one that concerns itself with student weaknesses and what the student does not know. The traditional concept of learning puts the student in a passive role as the recipient of teaching. The student is a vessel into which the school pours knowledge. Placing students at the center of school reform is not a solution to every problem. Rather, it is a point of view, a concept, a set of relationships.


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