Redesigning American Education

1st Edition

James Coleman, Barbara Schneider, Stephen Plank, Kathryn Schiller

Routledge
Published February 19, 1999
Textbook - 191 Pages
ISBN 9780813391021 - CAT# K373727

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Summary

Drawing on several principles of sociological theory, James S. Coleman and his colleagues construct a new design for American schooling. The authors present compelling evidence on the deficits of our educational system compared to other countries, arguing that the problems are the result of inappropriate incentives for teachers, students, and parents.Asserting that most American school systems are driven by administrative needs, the authors propose school designs that would shift the focus to student achievement output as the driving force behind public education. The move from an administratively driven system to an output-driven system would require the use of external standards; a method of evaluating school and student performance gains over time; a means of rewarding students, teachers and parents for academic performance gains; and the encouragement of informal norms that would support the new educational goals. Basing their recommendations on two national longitudinal data sets, each with a sample of over 1000 schools exhibiting variations in organizational design, the authors identify specific variations that have been shown to promote growth and achievement.

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