Darling-Hammond's Reframing the School Reform Agenda
Reframing the School Reform Agenda:
Developing Capacity for
School reform to school restructuringManage complexity
find and use resources
learn new technologies, approaches, and occupations
We need a new kind of education and new forms of sch org
In contrast to yesterday's workers tomorrow's workers will:
design their own tasks
plan, construct, evaluate outcomes
cooperate in finding novel solutions to problems
Social complexity demands:
understanding and evaluating multidimensional problems &
managing demanding social systems.
Schools are not merely to deliver but help students construct
No longer cover the curriculum but be diverse, construct,
Change from designing controls to developing the
Capacity Building requires new policy tools.
Competing Models of Policy Making
100's of pieces of legislation has sought to improve schools:
adding course requirements
increasing testing requirements
mandating new curriculum guidelines
requiring new management processes for schools and districts
The Behaviorist view taught isolated info in small
chunks; however, we now know??, learners actively construct own
knowledge. Teachers must construct experiences for this to
happen. Teachers must have deep knowledge of subj matter and
lots of teaching styles.
Schools and teachers must ensure all studs learn to think
critically, to invent, to produce, and to solve problems. This
is not teacher proof because it requires responding to
The new reforms demand:
equity in ed resources
decent conditions (environment)
Reform in the 1980's:
decentralization and professionalizing teaching
problem with this is that solutions are constrained by
availability of teachers, their knowledge, school conditions.
You can't talk the talk unless you can walk the walk.
American education has been down this path too many
All reform has failed because it is incomplete. Some element
Currently two different theories of reform are working:
tightening controls: standards, standardization, national
teacher preparedness through ed, certification, workshops.
A Collision Course for School Change
NYState's Compact for Learning is an example
of how new
modes of teaching are encouraged but the Regents exams counter
Top-down suggests teachers can't teach. School-led
innovations will: 1) enable more creative forms of educ, 2)
dispel neg idea of teachers. Capacity-building mechanisms are
funded much less well than activities that control curriculum.
Mentor-teacher and teacher centers budgets were cut.
Policies are hamstrung because of the tangled bureaucracies
which have colliding policies. They want me to teach in a way
they can't test. Teachers see the conflict, but the state
doesn't fix it. That's the way it is, kid, so grow up. Students
understand this better than the teachers. Students create their
own policies and problem solve and learn.
Implications of the Competing Models
Two very different policies exist:
students are raw material, teachers administer info, and
students are tested. Easy. This is done in boxes: periods,
Individual time with kids. Because we have assembly line
teaching, training teachers is easy as is the curriculum.
new paradigm: constructivism.
In the first instance knowledge is imparted and in the second
knowledge is produced.
Dewey was seeking the "science of teaching" so he could teach
teachers. Lee Cornbach continued the research and discovered
"most effects are interactive." That is the environment is
constantly changing. It is protean. Teachers must adapt to new
complex situations daily including accounting for student's
culture, communities, etc, yet too often reform policies prevent
this. Reform is formulaic, recipes...
A 21st-Century Model of School Reform
If we are to move to a new model of school reform, we must
reframe the reform agenda.
Inservice sucks!! Support schools of education. Restructure
teacher ed. Look at medicine, law...
Support collegial discourse and inquiry: peer coaching, team
planning and teaching, collaborative research, prof conferences
state licensing and evaluation are needed to effect new
reforms. Internship, buddy teachers etc are crucial. No more
sink or swim. SBM/SDM stuff.
This means the politics of the school. How are they
developed? Bad communities when top down ensues. However:
org so kids don't fall through cracks.
create means for collegial inquiry
use authority responsibly.
To change things we must have collegial time so we can ask:
What do we want kids to do?
How will we know if they can do it?
What is our assessment tool?
How do we develop shared views?
How will we help kids get there?
This is the key to assessment reform.
The 8 year study in 1930's was significant in community
building. What we need today is a policy which encourages
schools to engage in a democratic dialogue. Thus the new model
of school reform must seek to develop communities of learning
grounded in communities of democratic discourse.