US - Education Policy, from Cochran

US - Education Policy, from Cochran - church as the...

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Education Policy (from Cochran et al., American Public Policy: An Introduction, 9 th ) The pluralistic nature of American society produces disagreement over the basic values that guide education policy. Changes in education policy act to create conflict and controversy. Much of this conflict can be traced to two opposing traditions within education theory, conservative and liberal thought. Conservative thought ties personal development to an emphasis on individual initiative and responsibility. Conservatives tend to view variability in initiative and ability between people as natural. These variations place the burden on each individual for educational achievement, and justify resulting economic and social inequalities. Societal rewards are accumulated through competition. This emphasis on the individual places traditional conservative thought in general opposition to an expansion of federal involvement in education policy. Conservatives emphasize the responsibility of the family, state government, local school boards, and private institutions, such as the
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Unformatted text preview: church, as the appropriate structures for determining educational policy. Liberal/Progressive thought reflects a conviction that government has an obligation to compensate for individual deprivation resulting from social inequities. Liberals emphasize programs designed to eliminate the effects of privilege, discrimination, and individual differences in ability. A value of liberalism is the creation of an educational system that promotes equality of opportunity. This concern with equality leads progressives to advocate an expanded role for the federal government in education policy. Liberal thought underscores the federal government’s role in promoting equality in other policy areas, such as civil rights. These achievements provide a framework for advocating an expansion of the federal role in education policy as a means to remedy past policies by local school boards and state governments, which, as in the case of segregation, produced unequal educational opportunity....
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