the top. Perhaps not surprisingly, the resulting efforts exhibit a somewhat monolithic yet
myopic set of reforms. We are too aware that this approach lauds much of what educators
warn against. This includes uniformity and standardization, the prioritizing of one set of
values over others and the reducing of a potentially wide and rich set of curricula to a
limited and narrow grouping of core standards deemed necessary for all; a common
curriculum.
Previous reform efforts have had a variety of impacts on the schools we now
inhabit; from the Common School of the 1800s to the rise of industry’s influence in
school and social efficiency at the turn of the last century, to life adjustment, the
humanistic 60s and 70s and a return to standards in the 90s catalyzed by A Nation at Risk
a decade before. The Presidential calls to action since A Nation at Risk include America
2000, Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Each has raised the ante
for states to standardize and test students and increasingly to hold teachers accountable
for students’ scores. The culmination to date, one might say, is the resulting Common
Core of State Standards currently recognized (though tentatively) by some 42 states.
While scholarly inquiry in education, or any discipline, is not immune from shortcomings
and failings, true inquiry in education seeks the betterment of schooling and the lives of
the students within. And while current standardized reform efforts attempt to evade
review by the scholarly community, we must continue to seek what best serves students
and society in an ever-changing global community.
The authors in this Yearbook clearly differ from those who call for a limited
selection of curricular items to be chosen by a central power. The contents of this
Yearbook raise other concerns that school could and, as argued, should be broaching.
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