Education Reforms for Sustained Change
In the first section of this paper, an analysis of three education reforms in the international, national, and state levels will be provided. The second section will assess the reforms with respect to unanticipated results related to sustaining change. Every Student Succeeds Act, Common Core States Standards, and Interim List of Eligible Programs are the three reforms that will form the basis of discussion.
Reforms are enacted to change public education by making it more accessible, of high quality, and that meets job market standards. Though agencies involved in instituting reforms vary in agenda and motivation, in the last decades, USA and other countries emphasize on reforms that improve student achievements rather than the traditional basis of inputs.
Section 1: Education Reforms
- National reforms
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is one of the nationally oriented education reforms that were enacted into public law in 2015 (NCES 2015). As a replacement of No Child Left Behind Act, the reform intends to make the national government get deeply involved in education. ESSA reduced the Department of Education’s mandate over state education programs such that states and districts can set their testing standards, assessments, and involvement procedures.
Though testing standards are not to change, states were given the authority of determining them. Moreover, students are to be examined in math and languages on a yearly basis from grade three to eight, but for grades nine to twelve they are tested only once. The Act mandates schools to assess students at least once in grades three to five, six to 10, and 10 to 12.
The tests may be done to assess thinking skill and understanding through portfolios and projects, by using a single exam, or through numerous assessments. On accountability, states are to provide ESSA plans to U.S.A Department of Education after thorough consultations with various stakeholders. States have the powers to offer input on expected ratings for exam standardization and graduation fees (Ballotedia 2014). Lastly, states are to determine schools that require government interventions to attain the required measurable progress.
- State reforms
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) was instituted in 2010, and it’s supposed to feature the required knowledge that K-12 students should acquire in Mathematics and English Language Arts through the 12 grades (DFA 2015). The standards are supposed to establish common education standards in all the states and ensure that the students are adequately prepared for future jobs.
Since it’s difficult to achieve consistent standards in all the states, the government tends to deny funding under Top Program and Federal Race for states that didn’t adopt the common standard. Through the standards, students are to delve into in-depth analysis and understanding with fewer topics being covered.
- International education reforms
Interim List of Eligible Programs (ILEP) was established in 2014 under Regulatory Reform of the International Education Sector and the Student Immigration Regime policy. The rules intend to eliminate abuse on student immigration, offer protection to international students, and support education providers that maintain high-quality standards. After the closure of more than ten low-quality providers, the reforms were initiated so that only colleges and universities that offered quality education attracted global students.
The number of courses that were visa eligible significantly reduced and education programs was scrapped from the system (Times 2013). Moreover, schools offering English language courses are supposed to meet certain quality and immigration criteria if they were to be listed on ILEP second edition, GNIB cards including renewals are to be offered for 8 months; learner protection initiated for all programs, advance fees to be secured by schools so as to achieve comprehensive escrow processing, and complete time tables offered to English language students for sessions that the colleges will be on holidays.
Section 2: Unanticipated Results Related to Sustaining Change
- National reforms
Unanticipated result: By giving states the authority to determine their testing standards, assessments, and engagement processes, there is a high probability of getting variations of standards across the states to the extent that graduates will possess distinct levels of knowledge and skills.
Analysis: Even though the standards remain the same in all the states, it is not possible for the states to set consistent measures since teachers and education officers are different, funding is different, and school attendance and performance rates differ. Instead of the government getting more involved in establishing standard evaluation and testing measures, the result may be variations education quality and accountability across the states.
Causes of the unanticipated result: The unanticipated variation in knowledge and education development is caused by micro issues including differences in performance and attendance rates, differences in motivation rate, and power control issues. Moreover, the results may be politically influenced plus government funding may differ across the states.
Impact on the sustainability of education reform: The results are negative with respect to the sustainability of education reforms since they lead to variations in the quality of education offered across states and it becomes difficult to rate effectively rate the performance of schools when measurements standards centralized. On the other hand, centralization of measurement standards may lead to sustainability of education reforms since they give the government more mandate over education and through its intensive involvement, implementation of reforms for positive change is highly likely.
- State reforms
Unanticipated result: Implementation may only happen in a few states, and it will not be done over the same period.
Analysis: Implementation of the common standards may not materialize over the same period owing to the fact that the process is slow and politicized, costly, requires extensive teacher training and new textbooks. The government did not stipulate how it would offer complete funding of the project and being that states are many, the standards may not be implemented in all the schools.
Causes of the unanticipated result: Micro issues leading to the unintended result are the lack of adequate teacher training and resources including textbooks and computers needed to take the new tests, and exams are to be conducted based on the different standard measures applied in schools. Moreover, the process is politically impacted since legislators are involved, and also state funding is not assured since the government hasn’t identified the sourcing platforms.
Impact on the sustainability of education reforms: The result does not lead to sustained reforms since the implementation is the main aspect of reforms. If the reforms are not implemented at all, or not implemented over the same period, coming up with new reforms would be futile thus it does not lead to sustainability of the reforms.
- Global reforms
Unanticipated result: The stringent measures may lead to fewer colleges admitting students with the result being a decrease in education opportunities for international students.
Analysis: When schools are many, majority of students from different backgrounds can access the visa eligible courses but barring some courses, and restricting admissions in the few schools would lead to a reduction in the number of applicants. The majority of people avoid studying abroad due to bureaucracies and a lot of requirements, and since the new reforms intend to raise the admission standards, students will lose opportunities to study their preferred courses.
Causes of the result: Reduction in opportunity levels for international students is macro influenced since standards for determining the quality effectiveness of education providers is done on an international level. The standards determine the type and number of causes that a school can offer, plus requirements for students which are macro managed.
Impact on the sustainability of education reforms: The reform is essential in sustaining education reforms which intend to support the quality provision of education. When admission and education provision measures are stringent, the certified providers compete on the basis of quality leading to improvement of education. Improved education quality is elemental in sustaining education reforms.
Analysis of the unanticipated results
Reforms are mostly instituted to improve education quality by stipulating the core education aspects necessary to equip learners with skills and knowledge relevant to the job market. Moreover, the reforms are also formulated to increase education opportunities for students from different sectors and income backgrounds. However, if the reforms are not followed up with the resources necessary for effective implementation, the expected results may not be forthcoming.
Additionally, unanticipated results happen when all factors necessitating the reforms are not considered. Since it’s not possible to satisfy all stakeholders involved in the process, the government puts in place measures that must be followed by all states and education providers so that the degree of variance is not high.
Education reforms are instituted to improve the quality of education and making it more accessible to students from poor backgrounds. Moreover, international bodies are involved in ensuring that international students are protected and that they get high returns from pursuing the education in foreign nations. Comprehensive analysis of the reforms that ensures all stakeholders are satisfied and efficient implementation are essential in sustaining education reforms.
America-Next (2012). K-12 Education Reforms: A Roadmap. America-Next Journal, 3-12. Retrieved from http://americanext.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/America-Next-K-12-Education-Reform.pdf
Ballotpedia (2014). Every Student Succeeds Act. Encyclopedia of American Politics, 1-5. Retrieved from https://ballotpedia.org/Every_Student_Succeeds_Act
Department of Foreign Affairs (2015). Reform of the International Education Sector and Student Immigration System. DFA, 1-23. Retrieved from https://www.dfa.ie/media/embassybrazil/newsevents/Reform-of-the-International-Education-Sector-eng.pdf
Freddy, A. (2013). A Curriculum Crunch for California. Los Angeles Times, 1-4. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/22/opinion/la-ed-common-core-20130422
National Center for Education Statistics (2015). State Education Reforms. NCES. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/statereform/aas.asp