What Might it Mean to Democratize School Reform?
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The goal of education is to prepare individuals for the new world of global connections, competition and the labor market by means of an educational process that works to get students ready for activity, responsibility and deliberation. Within these issues schools and teachers are the focus of much concern. Many reform efforts work to remove autonomy from the school. “Deskilling,” viewing school improvement through the lens of packaged programs that work to script teachers, prescribe what they should do in their context, and pull more and more control to central authorities, is not a new phenomenon. Recently, however, teachers have been recognized as necessary leaders in school reform.How might those based in universities proceed to work and change the situation we find in schools? Rather than one-shot, one-way school reform efforts and programs which are known to have little impact compared to long-term, collegial work, our work with schools should be based on building professional relationships. Democratic school reform is possible. By working (as it was mentioned) to link schools, universities and communities in engaged, reciprocal, networks of support we can strengthen the outcomes and the success of school reform in ways that lift up students, teachers, communities, universities and democratic societies themselves.
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