By Douglas S. Reed
Over the last fifty years, the federal government's efforts to reform American public schooling have remodeled U.S. faculties from locally-run firms into advanced structures together developed via federal, country, and native actors. the development of this federal schoolhouse-an academic procedure with universal nationwide expectancies and practices-has essentially altered either schooling politics and the norms governing academic coverage on the neighborhood point.
Building the Federal Schoolhouse examines those matters via an in-depth, fifty-year exam of federal academic rules locally of Alexandria, Virginia, a prosperous but socially various suburb of Washington, D.C. The epochal social adjustments that swept via the USA some time past part century hit Alexandria with specific strength, remodeling its Jim Crow college procedure right into a new immigrant gateway district inside generations. alongside the way in which, the college method has struggled to supply caliber schooling for targeted wishes scholars, and has sought to beat the legacies of monitoring and segregated studying whereas concurrently keeping upper-middle type scholars. such a lot lately, it has grappled with country and federally imposed responsibility measures that search to spice up academic results. All of those coverage projects have contended with the present political regime inside of Alexandria, from time to time forcing it to a brink, and at different instances reconstructing it. all of the whereas, the neighborhood expectancies and governing realities of directors, mom and dad, politicians, and electorate have sharply limited federal projects, proscribing their scope while in clash with neighborhood commitments and amplifying them after they align.
Through an intensive use of neighborhood information, modern bills, college facts, and interviews, Douglas S. Reed not just paints an intimate portrait of the conflicts that the federal schoolhouse's construction has wrought in Alexandria, but in addition files the successes of the federal dedication to larger academic chance. In so doing, he highlights the complexity of the yank schooling country and the centrality of neighborhood regimes and native historic context to federal academic reform efforts.
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Extra info for Building the Federal Schoolhouse: Localism and the American Education State
Somewhat lost in the controversy over Rhee’s departure and Fenty’s defeat was Washington Teachers Union President George Parker’s loss to Nathan Saunders, in a runoff election at the end of November, 2010. Rhee and Parker had negotiated IMPACT, the controversial program of value-added teacher evaluation that linked teacher performance reviews (and pay) to a demonstrated ability to increase student test scores. While Parker and Rhee did not always see eye to eye, DC teachers held him responsible for the union’s inability to trim back Rhee’s reforms.
21 This is not to say, however, that the federal government was, at this time, unconcerned about the organization of schools and schooling. Indeed, the late 1950s saw the first major direct federal intervention in the administration of local schools, initially through desegregation court orders. Then, in the mid-1960s, Congress extended the Supreme Court’s hopeful, but tentative, foray into equal educational opportunity through the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
In other communities, however, a rapid policy churn produces wave after wave of reforms that often leave teachers, principals, parents, and even school district officials hunkered down, trying to wait out the current reform so they can get back to what they have done in the past. These two aspects of contemporary US educational reform efforts—their unevenness across time and place and their seeming inability to significantly alter educational outcomes for millions of students—frame a central argument of this book: The construction of the education state in the United States has produced profound changes in educational governance, but state-building does not always improve how children learn, despite the fervent belief of many reformers.