The resources will be made available to local school districts rather than retained at the state level. The third element is to align the education system to support reform through curriculum development, teacher training, and student assessment consistent with the content standards.
The detailed rationale for systemic school reform, as summarized by Smith and his colleagues, is based on eight major research findings:
These research findings support the proposition that the performance of the education system can be improved if its major elements are aligned to help all students meet more demanding content and performance standards. Since teachers and the general public do not have a clear conception of the goals of education, the role of federal and state governments is to articulate the goals through standards developed by the individual states. Achievement of these goals will require higher-quality teaching and better teacher training. With the addition of resources provided by the federal government through Goals 2000 and ESEA, schools will improve through systemic reform.
While previous school reforms have not been notably successful, the diagnosis given by Smith and his colleagues is that teacher training and educational assessments have not been properly aligned to support reform. This will be remedied under systemic school reform by inculcating content standards through teacher training and aligning assessments with performance standards. However, optimism about the effectiveness of the new approach to reform must be tempered by the fact that the education system does little to support change or even to sustain individual schools that appear to be effective. Persistence and time will be required for success.
The research findings that undergird systemic school reform have been produced by psychologists, sociologists, and political scientists. School performance research by economists has not been used in designing a new approach to