National mandates and statewide enactments: Inquiry in/to large-scale reform
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- National mandates and statewide enactments: Inquiry in/to large-scale reform
- HINES, MARY BETH; CONNER, JENNY; CAMPANO, GERALD; DAMICO, JAMES; ENOCH, MELISSA; Nam, Daehyeon
- Reading First; Professional development; teacher research; university-school partnerships; No Child Left Behind; In-service reading teachers; K-3 reading teachers
- Issue Date
- UNIV WAIKATO
- ENGLISH TEACHING-PRACTICE AND CRITIQUE, v.6, no.3, pp.76 - 91
- Since the inauguration of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) in the United States, with a billion-dollar budget to induce educational reform, American schools have been under the microscope for meeting accountability standards for students. The performance pressures have intensified as the consequences for not achieving academic benchmarks have escalated. Schools have been mandated to report on student performance as measured by standardized tests and other instruments using scientifically based research. Across the nation, state departments of education, supported by federal funding, work diligently with schools to implement instruction and assessment practices required by NCLB. In this article we will examine one state’s response to NCLB. Specifically, we will analyze the impact of an action research project on the teaching and learning of reading teachers at sixty schools involved in the Indiana Reading First program. Reading First, the reading education component of NCLB, provides funding for professional development in schools that have not successfully achieved their designated benchmarks in reading. We present a brief synopsis of the controversies surrounding Reading First, debates necessary for understanding the politics of large-scale reform initiatives as they materialize on local and national playing fields. Next, we describe the rationale, goals,
and phases of the action research project. We then look across the teachers’ action research projects to consider their impact. Next, we examine one teacher’s project in more depth. In the last section of the paper, we reflect more critically on the successes and shortcomings of the action research projects as well as the struggles of working with/in a large-scale systemic reform initiative.
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