National Academies Press: OpenBook

Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now! (1995)


Suggested Citation:"SYSTEMIC REFORM." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"SYSTEMIC REFORM." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
Page 16

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would factory workers need to engage in The following careful analysis of a problem? “When we bring technology The second problem seeks to develop two problems into a school, we must make the skills required in an information age. It encourages students to work through it a total part of the mission functionally are very problems in innovative and thoughtful of education, not just a ways, developing the skills they will need similar. But the differ- peripheral item.... But to cope with a rapidly changing world. ences between them highlight The recognition that schools must technology alone is not change their objectives for learning is the contrast between educa- enough. If we leave the sys- reflected in one of the most important tion’s past and its future. tem as it is, we are not going things to emerge from the school reform movement of the 1980s—a general consen- to accomplish the changes EDUCATION’S PAST: sus that U.S. schools should move toward that we need. To be success- What percentage of 500 is 30? “world class” national standards describing A: 6%. B: 16.7%. C: 60%. D: 166.7%. ful, we need to bring tech- what a student should know and be able E. None of the above. to do at different grade levels. To date, the nology and restructuring content of education has often been a EDUCATION’S FUTURE: together with a focus on the hit-or-miss proposition in the United States. The facts: In 1991 the education budget right kind of standards. Whenever a student moved, a teacher of a certain city was $30 million out of a could never be sure just what he or she Together, these are the keys total budget of $500 million. In 1992, the learned in a previous school. Parents had education budget of the same city is $35 to systemic reform.” little idea what levels their children were million out of a total budget of $605 mil- —ROY ROMER, expected to reach year after year. lion. The inflation rate for the year was GOVERNOR OF COLORADO In the 1970s and 1980s, many states 10%. The tasks: 1. Use the facts to argue and localities put in place minimum com- that the education budget increased from petency standards centered on low-level 1991 to 1992. 2. Use the facts to argue skills and scattered factual knowledge. But that the education budget decreased while these standards raised the perfor- from 1991 to 1992. mance of the students who had been doing The first problem aims at the objectives of worst on standardized tests, they did little the factory-model school. Aspiring to any- thing more sophisticated than the ability 1991 to do simple calculations would have seemed The National Science Foundation, 1989 wasteful. Why working with 26 states, launches The National K-12 Statewide Systemic Initiatives SYSTEMIC Research (SSI’s) to reform mathematics, Council releases science, and technology education. Roy Romer. 16 “Everybody REFORM Counts,” which 1990 – 1994 advocates dra- 1986 matic reform of Coalitions of teachers and professional The National Governors precollege societies develop standards in science, Association recommends a broad mathematics history, geography, English, art, and civics. range of reform initiatives, includ- education. ing opening schools year-round and greater choice among public 1983 1989 & 1991 schools in “A Time for Results.” In “A Nation at Risk,” the The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics releases 1986 National Commission on national standards for mathematics learning and teaching. Excellence in Education warns The National Science Foundation that “the educational founda- joins the Department of Defense in 1988 1990 tions of our society are expanding the national network. 1985 presently being eroded by a T1 (1.54 Mbps) Virtual reality, simulation, and rising tide of mediocrity that The business-based Committee for backbone of edutainment software becomes the threatens our very future as a Economic Development calls for the National fastest-growing software market. 1981 1989 nation and a people.” educational standards in its report Research and 18% of schools have some ”Investing in our Children.” Education At an “education summit” in 1991 1984 sort of computer Network is Charlottesville, Virginia, President Bush and the nation’s governors 98% of schools have comput- Apple Computer introduces upgraded to 1981 agree to set performance goals for ers, though most do not have the Macintosh and its T3 (4.5 Mbps) useful, up-to-date software. IBM introduces the IBM PC graphical user interface. service. the nation’s schools.

I n response to the to meet the broader needs of these stu- build on the other. The national standards dents or their higher-performing peers. must be geared toward a future when tech- many reports of serious Today, alliances of teachers and pro- nology will permeate our everyday lives. inadequacies in U.S. fessional education organizations have Technology, in turn, provides a means for schools, national think- developed or are developing national stan- students to achieve the standards. If stan- dards in mathematics, the arts, science, dards establish goals for education, then ing about the state of English, history, geo- technology provides a means to achieve K-12 education under- graphy, foreign lan- those goals. “Today, national standards went a remarkable guages, civics, and The cooperative development and serve as the basis for physical education. widespread voluntary adoption of national change in the 1980s. These standards are standards will have a profound effect on reform. They provide the The governors of various voluntary and are American education. Striving for national guidance system for states emerged at the fore- meant to be adapted standards will demand major changes in change. They are the articu- to the unique charac- the ways that teachers and other educators front of educational reform, teristics and needs are trained and sustained throughout their lation of the agreed-upon turning the call for action of each class- careers. It will require reform agenda... . This into measurable changes room. Still, for that all students be important insight has taken the first time in “A statistical generation of given the opportuni- within their states. By students is passing through this nation’s his- ty to learn, because hold in the minds of all our decade’s end, the governors tory, they estab- it is unjust to hold our schools largely leaders in a remarkably and President Bush had lish high nation- students to high untouched by our commit- short span of time.” al benchmarks national standards agreed to establish stan- ments to change and unaf- —JIM EBERT, toward which all and not give them dards and performance goals schools, teachers, fected by our new standards the means to attain JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY to be in place by the year and students can those standards. In of achievement. . . . We aspire. this way, national 2000—a process that has must begin now to change The develop- standards touch been formalized in the Goals ment of national standards and the upon virtually all educational practices fun- 2000 legislation passed by explosion of information technologies aspects of education damentally to touch the uniquely suited to education are oc- and provide the Congress and signed by lives of students today, to curring simultaneously, and each can framework for sys- President Clinton. tem-wide reform. shape the teachers for In contrast to earlier tomorrow, and to invest in 1993 reform activities, today’s the technical infrastructure The National Academy of systemic reform efforts are that will enable us to realize Sciences and National Academy of broad-based, deeply rooted, Engineering sponsor the convoca- the possibilities of a future and cognizant of the need tion “Reinventing Schools: The yet to be discovered.” to have national standards Technology Is Now.” —PAMELA J. KEATING, implemented through local UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON 1993 reform. They recognize the need to support all compo- NCSA releases Mosiac for Macintosh and Windows computers, opening nents of the educational the door for distribution of government information, electronic publish- ing, and commerce via the World Wide Web of the Internet. system consistently and (1997) high-resolution, continuously. 1994 Over this same period Large, flat-panel, Apple, IBM, and Motorola join forces to introduce high-definition color displays sup- information technology has RISC-based personal computers and servers. porting three-dimensional graphics moved from an era of main- 1993 enable in-school creations of artifi- 1994 frames to local area net- 3DO releases cial realities to be shared in the works and network connec- RISC-based Cornell’s CU-See-Me video conferencing software classroom. (reduced allows teachers and students to interact through tivity. By coupling the wider (1997) release RISC- (2000) instruction set desktop videoconferencing over Internet where use of technology in educa- computing) there are no phones. Sega and Nintendo Standards for tion to the systemic reform home enter- based game machines with power learning in 1995 effort and by using the tainment equal to that of available personal all disciplines 1994 emerging curriculum stan- systems with National Research Council computers. are defined, power equal President and cooperating scientific measurable, dards as guides to the devel- to that Clinton signs and teaching organiza- and in place (1997)-(1999)systems go online. opment of educational soft- of personal Goals 2000 tions release national sci- in fulfillment ware, new models of K-12 computers. legislation. ence education standards. Global digital cellular satellite of Goals 2000. education can be catalyzed.

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Today's children have grown up immersed in a world of computers and other information technologies. They play video games; they listen to music on digital compact disks; they help their families program the computerized controls of videocassette players. With all of the exciting innovations in computer technology, children have the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge without ever leaving home. Schools by comparison can seem dull.

Education reformers have been developing new approaches for improving the way in which children learn and interact in the classroom. They now must consider the "technology gap" that exists between the technologically rich experiences children have outside the classroom and the comparatively low-tech, in-school environment. The aim is not just to outfit more classrooms with computers. Schools should be changed so that they encompass and guide out-of-school activities that already embrace technology.

Not only is this vision possible, it also is feasible, according to Reinventing Schools. This document, available only as an on-line publication, is based on a meeting at which hundreds of leaders -from government, education, and the entertainment and information technology industries-developed strategies for reinvigorating the K-12 educational process by integrating the school experience with the information technology that has captured children's imaginations.

Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Academy Industry Program of the National Research Council, Coca-Cola Endowment Fund of the National Research Council, and Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine.

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