Why School Boards Will Be Obsolete in 2025 Essay

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¶ … School Boards will be Obsolete by 2025

Global Trends

As early as 1948, the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights declared that, "Everyone has a right to education."

Universal basic education by definition must provide minimum education.

All citizens should have easy access to universal basic education and it should be free.

In the twenty-first century, nations will become both more competitive and yet more interdependent, and their future ever more dependent on the knowledge, skills and resourcefulness of its people, creating new opportunities and difficulties for education.

Globalisation brings with it a mix of opportunities and threats for every nation, culture and educational system.

The removal of barriers and new technologies will create new possibilities for intercultural exchange and dialogue.

There is the danger, though, of a new global imperial regime in which one political, economic and communication culture is unilaterally favored over all others.

Increasingly educational goods and services are being privatized.

In a highly competitive and polarized world, there has also been a significant growth in the 'shadow education system' -- the world of private tutoring.

More than half of the students in secondary school receive tutoring in countries like Japan, Mauritius and the Republic of Korea.

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In South Korea, spending on private tutoring in 1996 was half as much again as public expenditure.

Such growth in privatization of educational services appears to be a social response to inadequacies in government support for education, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, and can only lead to further exacerbation of inequalities and polarization.

Commercial activity in educational goods and services can be expected to grow substantially and education itself will become more 'globalised.'

TOPIC: Essay on Why School Boards Will Be Obsolete in 2025 Assignment

Highly capitalized educational publishers are shifting from marketing individual titles to marketing services to local publishers, while modern testing agencies are following a similar path.

Standards for educational performance are becoming international.

The student body, faculty, courses and teaching provided by major universities are all being increasingly 'internationalized.'

Technology will become increasingly mobile, meaning that opportunities for learning will - and already do - exist everywhere, all the time.

The barrier of geography is being transcended by technology, creativity and a desire to "go global."

New advances in hardware and software are making mobile "smart phones" indispensable tools.

Just as cell phones have leapfrogged fixed line technology in the telecommunications industry, it is likely that mobile devices with internet access and computing capabilities will soon overtake personal computers as the information appliance of choice in the classroom.

Applications are increasingly moving off of the stand alone desk top computer and increasingly onto server farms accessible through the Internet.

The implications of this trend for education systems are huge; they will make cheaper information appliances available which do not require the processing power or size of the PC. The challenge will be providing the ubiquitous connectivity to access information sitting in the "cloud."

The trend in classrooms around the world is to provide an information appliance to every learner and create learning environments that assume universal access to the technology.

Whether the hardware involved is one laptop per child (OLPC), or -- increasingly -- a net computer, smart phone, or the re-emergence of the tablet, classrooms should prepare for the universal availability of personal learning devices.

With the emergence of increasingly robust connectivity infrastructure and cheaper computers, school systems around the world are developing the ability to provide learning opportunities to students "anytime, anywhere."

This trend requires a rethinking of the traditional 40-minute lesson. In addition to hardware and Internet access, it requires the availability of virtual mentors or teachers, and/or opportunities for peer-to-peer and self-paced, deeper learning.

Education systems are increasingly investigating the use of technology to better understand a student's knowledge base from prior learning and to tailor teaching to both address learning gaps as well as learning styles. This focus transforms a classroom from one that teaches to the middle to one that adjusts content and pedagogy based on individual student needs -- both strong and weak.

The ordered classroom of 30 desks in rows of 5 may quickly become a relic of the industrial age as schools around the world are re-thinking the most appropriate learning environments to foster collaborative, cross-disciplinary, students centered learning. Concepts such as greater use of light, colors, circular tables, individual spaces for students and teachers, and smaller open learning spaces for project-based learning are increasingly emphasized.

OECD school systems are increasingly empowering teachers and networks of teachers to both identify and create the learning resources that they find most effective in the classroom. Many online texts allow teachers to edit, add to, or otherwise customize material for their own purposes, so that their students receive a tailored copy that exactly suits the style and pace of the course. These resources in many cases complement the official textbook and may, in the years to come, supplant the textbook as the primary learning source for students. Such activities often challenge traditional notions of intellectual property and copyright.

The collection, management, sorting, and retrieving of data related to learning will help teachers to better understand learning gaps and customize content and pedagogical approaches.

Assessment is increasingly moving toward frequent formative assessments which lend itself to real-time data and less on high-pressure exams as the mark of excellence. Tools are increasingly available to students to gather their work together in a kind of online portfolio; whenever they add a tweet, blog post, or photo to any online service, it will appear in their personal portfolio which can be both peer and teacher assessed.

The role of the teacher in the classroom is being transformed from that of the font of knowledge to an instructional manager helping to guide students through individualized learning pathways, identifying relevant learning resources, creating collaborative learning opportunities, and providing insight and support both during formal class time and outside of the designated 40 minute instruction period. This shift is easier said than done and ultimately the success or failure of technology projects in the classroom hinge on the human factor and the willingness of a teacher to step into unchartered territory.

These trends are expected to continue and to challenge many of the delivery models fundamental to formal education as it is practiced in most countries.

U.S. Trends

The governance system for the nation's schools evolved over the course of more than 200 years, starting in Massachusetts when local selectmen determined that running both towns and schools in expanding communities was too great an administrative burden.

Although states increasingly provided for a statewide system of primary and secondary schools in their constitutions, they did not immediately establish a state governance structure specifically for education. It was not until 1837 that the first state board of education and the office of state superintendent were established (another first for Massachusetts).

School districts were institutionalized in the 19th and early 20th centuries, a time when travel and communication technologies that are currently taken for granted did not yet exist.

In 1900, just 8,000 automobiles were registered nationwide, and just 17 out of every 1,000 people had access to a telephone.

Although school districts have grown through consolidation since the fin de siecle, their shapes, norms, and roles are the products of an era when coordinating and overseeing teaching and learning from a distance of even 50 miles would have been costly and difficult and when there was no sensible alternative to geographically compact school systems.

Current initiatives designed to improve the level of decision making by teachers are a continuation of various educational reforms that have taken place in the United States since the early 1980s.

The first wave of such reforms followed the publication of a Nation at Risk by the National Commission on Educational Excellence in 1983 that sounded a call for increased accountability.

A second wave of reforms restructured schools based on an increased commitment to school-based management.

The latest wave of reform initiatives has been focused on the increased need for increased participation of school staff in the decision making process and teacher empowerment through a shared decision-making process.

The waves of reform initiatives that have influenced the nation's schools in recent years have also resulted in increased accountability for teachers and administrators.

Boards of education currently remain a fixture of school governance; however, their effectiveness has come under increasing scrutiny and criticisms in recent years.

This scrutiny has become particularly intense following the 1992 publication of the influential report, Governing Public Schools: New Times, New Requirements, which suggests a reassessment of school board governance, has prompted a steady stream of articles and studies scrutinizing the role of school boards, their ability to govern, and their contribution to education reform.

Critics cite low voter turnout in school board elections as compromising boards' real democratic value and fostering the tyranny of small, intensely active, single-issue constituency groups.

School boards are increasingly being regarded as undemocratic that have failed to provide accountable alternatives.

In recent years, the chronically weak performance of several high-profile urban districts has… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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