Skip to Content

Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 86, Issue 3, 2011

The Politics of Education and Equity in Turbulent Times


In the latest issue of the Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, guest editors Tamara Young and Bonnie Fusarelli examine the effects of the modern financial crisis on the American education system. Broken into two interrelated segments, the issue begins with a section entitled, "Demographic Changes, Privatization, Accountability, and School Finance." Focusing on the issues that have formed because of the tension between school reform efforts and the recent financial crisis, the first segment outlines how policy makers and educators alike have responded to the changing demands of the modern educational environment. The issue continues the discussion in a section entitled, "The Obama Administration, U.S. Congress and Teachers Unions," which takes a closer look at President Obama's stimulus policy and its overarching impact on the administration's educational agenda, as well as the challenges facing continued and sustained reform. When taken together, the articles contained within the issue's two sections provide a wide and clear view of the politics of today's education systems.

Guest editors Young and Fusarelli introduce the issue with an article called, "The Politics of Education and Equity in Turbulent Times." The piece outlines the ramifications of the modern recession, noting the fiscal crisis' impact on child poverty rates, school funding, and class sizes. The authors go on to state that because of the fiscal restrictions posed by the recession, policy makers must establish government priorities about the role, purpose, and funding of public education. 

Lance Fusarelli begins the first section of the issue by discussing broad demographic changes in today's society and the impact of these changing demographics on today's educational systems. He argues that discussions centered on test scores and school performance are too narrow, and that policy makers need to place increased emphasis on the greater social contexts surrounding these reform movements. Bulkley and Burch shift to a discussion of outside organizations' involvement in the education process, focusing primarily on the impact of both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and how those organizations differ.

Maxcy studies recent reform history to understand the future priorities of education reform policy, focusing closely on the rise in popularity of pay for performance programs and the national focus on performance accountability. Berry and Harrington further the discussion in their piece on the challenges posed to states by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The article discusses the Obama administration's attempts to re-envision the federal role in education through its report, A Blueprint for Reform. The authors argue that, though the Obama administration addresses many of the challenges facing the states, it has fallen short in addressing the sheer magnitude of the issues. Picus and Odden then conclude the first section with a discussion of school finance. The authors acknowledge and address the financial issues facing schools in today's economic climate, and then move to provide suggestions for ways in which schools can reduce expenditures while still maintaining a focus on high student performance.

McDonnell and Weatherford begin the second segment of the issue with an article discussing Obama's use of the stimulus package to promote educational reform and whether the administration will be able to sustain these reforms in the long-term. From stimulus reform to a focus on institutional change, the issue continues the discussion of long-term education reform in DeBray and Houck's article, which outlines the issues facing the next reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The article analyzes the role of traditional party politics, interest groups, and historically pro-education reform coalitions in the institutional process of education reform, outlining the factors acting against Obama's proposed education agenda.

Young shifts the discussion from institutional change to the topic of teachers unions, where she argues that the unions will maintain their societal niche if they not only resist reforms, but also adapt to reform initiatives while working collaboratively with reformers to outline the future of the profession. Bonnie Fusarelli concludes the issue with her article on the continued problems facing policy makers in the modern fiscal climate. 

The Peabody Journal of Education would like to extend its gratitude to Tamara Young and Bonnie Fusarelli for organizing this wonderful issue.  The PJE is thankful as well to all the authors for their contributions, without which this issue on the politics of education and equity in the current economic climate would not have been possible. We hope practitioners and researchers alike will find this discussion of policy and reform insightful and useful.

CONTENTS
Journal abstracts are linked to titles.

The Politics of Education and Equity in Turbulent Times: An Introduction
Tamara V. Young and Bonnie C. Fusarelli
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 211-214.

PART I - Demographic Changes, Privatization, Accountability, and School Finance

School Reform in a Vacuum: Demographic Change, Social Policy, and the Future of Children
Lance D. Fusarelli 
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 215-235.

The Changing Nature of Private Engagement in Public Education: For-Profit and Nonprofit Organizations and Educational Reform
Katrina E. Bulkley and Patricia Burch 
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 236-251.

The Politics of Priorities in Turbulent Times: Policy Logics, Faces of Power, and Reform Possibilities
Brendan D. Maxcy
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 252-271.

States and Their Struggles With NCLB: Does the Obama Blueprint Get It Right?
Kimberly Scriven Berry and Carolyn D. Herrington
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 272-290.

Reinventing School Finance: Falling Forward
Lawrence O. Picus and Allan R. Odden
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 291-303.

PART II - The Obama Administration, U.S. Congress, and Teachers Unions

Crafting an Education Reform Agenda Through Economic Stimulus Policy
Lorraine M. McDonnell and M. Stephen Weatherford
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 304-318.

A Narrow Path Through the Broad Middle: Mapping Institutional Considerations for ESEA Reauthorization
Elizabeth DeBray and Eric A. Houck
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 319-337.

Teachers Unions in Turbulent Times: Maintaining Their Niche
Tamara V. Young
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 338-351.

Policy Lifeboats for Anticipated (and Continuing) Storms: The Politics of Education in Turbulent Economic Times
Bonnie C. Fusarelli
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 3: pages 352-358.


Quick Links

 
©