Thursday, September 24, 2009

New article in Power and Education

I am very pleased to have an article included in the newest issue of Power and Education. See the contents listing here.

The Futility and Failure of Flawed Goals: efficiency education as smoke and mirrors

P.L. THOMAS Education Department, Furman University, Greenville, USA

Educational reform in the USA is traditionally grounded in mechanistic assumptions about accountability paradigms and narrow concepts of assessment; those reforms tend to ignore the burden of poverty and other external factors on student and school success. Focusing on accountability and testing strategies in the United States during the post-Nation at Risk era (1983), this article argues that mechanistic assumptions about school reform are inherently destined to fail because they are aiming at the wrong goals and ignoring the inherent imbalance of power among the stakeholders of teaching and learning; these patterns identified in US practices parallel dynamics and policies found internationally (standardized national tests in the United Kingdom, outcomes-based education in South Africa, and bureaucratic policies and corruption in Mexico, for example). Further, the discourse and tone of the discussion is a parallel argument about the nature of our scholarly discussions of education, often bound themselves by traditional (and mechanistic) assumptions about the nature of academic writing.

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