The aim of this paper is to explain how errors in policymaking contribute to the minimal impact that structural, curricular and cultural changes have made on teaching practice in American schools.
Drawing on the author's research legacy, the paper extends an historical analysis to explore and explain current dilemmas of change in schools and schooling.
Over the last century, educational reforms have most often led to first order classroom change, represented by the development of hybrids of old and new teaching practices. Second order change at the classroom level has proven elusive. Factors at the policymaking level that explain the minimal impact on classroom practice include a misplaced trust in structural reform, an understanding of schools as complicated rather than complex systems, and the tendency not to distinguish teacher quality from the quality of teaching.
The paper proposes that the lack of impact of reform on classroom practice is explained in large part by errors in assumptions and thinking that policymakers commit, a focus seldom explored in research.
Cuban, L. (2013), "Why so many structural changes in schools and so little reform in teaching practice?", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 51 No. 2, pp. 109-125. https://doi.org/10.1108/09578231311304661Download as .RIS
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