Chapter 1

Educational Reform in the U.S. in the Past 30 Years: Great Expectations and the Fading American Dream

Rich Van Heertum and Carlos Alberto Torres

Abstract

<p>In this chapter we explore changes in the U.S. Educational system over the past 30 years. We argue that neoliberalism has dominated the debate, moving away from the progressive reforms of the 60s and 70s, and making economic imperatives the key focus of schooling in America. We start with a brief overview of educational organization and funding in the U.S. then move on to an historical analysis of the educational policies and rhetoric of the five presidents that have been in office during this period. We next consider the major trends over the past 30 years including the accountability and standards movement, privatization and school choice, professionalism and accreditation, resegregation and persistence of racial achievement gaps and the changing nature of educational research. We conclude by considering the broader implications of these changes, and the threat they pose to the role of education in social justice, democracy and freedom.</p>

Total Pages: 3-27 (25)

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