Teachers and Teaching During Educational Restructuring and Reforms

  • Patrick J. W. McGinty
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 21)

Critical to understanding the work of teachers and the process of teaching during restructuring and reform is an appreciation of the historical, cultural and social, political, and ideological embeddedness of the expectations of teachers in national education policy as well as the “best practices” encouraged by individual reform and restructuring movements and agendas. Common to most discussions of restructuring and reform is the idea that school change — whether restructuring or reform — has seemingly occurred in “waves” as collective reactions to past or present political action or educational agendas and most often, this commonly accepted vision of “waves” of educational change agendas begins in 1983 with the publication of A Nation At Riskby the National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCEE, 1983).

Although the story differs slightly depending on the commitments, interests and intentions of the storytellers it remains generally consistent on the essential assumptions that there have been two distinct waves of reform. The “first wave,” the outcome of the publication of A Nation At Risksought to focus attention on the factors associated with managing schools and student progress — increasing graduation requirements, mandated curricula, time on task, and tightening administrative control (Cohen, 1989). The “second wave” of reform is often discussed in one of two ways: first, as an outright rejection of the programmatic suggestions contained within A Nation At Risk; or alternatively, as a reaction to the limited positive results of the “first wave” of reform. Given the varied origins of the “second wave” of reform, it came to include multiple initiatives and concerns and as a result wasn't a unified educational change initiative. However, despite the diversity of perspective and initial assumptions the commonality across the second wave was a generally accepted common goal — the radical, even systemic transformation of schools.


Educational Change School Reform School Organization School Change Teacher Burnout 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick J. W. McGinty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyWestern Illinois UniversityMacomb

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