The educational restructuring movement began with the publication of the now famous A Nation at Risk report, which provided convincing evidence that the quality of American schools was unacceptably low. Two waves of reform rolled across the country during the decade. The first emphasised “top‐down” initiatives put in motion by State governors who identified educators as the problem. The solution was greater accountability, closer supervision, tighter regulation, better teacher screening, tougher graduation standards, and a longer school year. Quickly disenchanted with the insensitivity and inflexibility of the first wave, a second began later in the decade which emphasised that educators were the solution, not the problem. The decade ended with importance given to “bottom‐up” reform initiatives emphasising deregulation, choice, school‐based management, and schools within schools.
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