Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 1982 Issue »

    The Federal Role in Educational Improvement

    Brenda J. Turnbull
    Educational improvement is fundamentally a local enterprise. The people who can bring it about are those who provide educational services—teachers, principals, perhaps local district administrators. Nevertheless, the federal government has sought a role for itself in stimulating and supporting improvement. Secretary of Education T. H. Bell remarked at this conference that an important federal task is to build state and local capacity in education. On the assumption that existing gaps in local capacity prevent greater educational effectiveness, the government has provided various kinds of resources with which it attempts to fill the gaps with knowledge and skills. The record of these efforts is mixed. None has worked exactly as intended, mostly because the people who are the targets of a federal improvement effort generally modify the federal plan to fit their own ideas and circumstances. Although this is to be expected and even welcomed if local initiative is crucial to educational improvement, it conflicts with the federal government's aim of making a visible and predictable difference with its programs.

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    Winter 1982 Issue


    The Federal Role in Education
    T.H. Bell
    The Federal Role in Elementary and Secondary Education, 1940-1980
    Carl F. Kaestle and Marshall S. Smith
    The Federal Role in American Indian Education
    Frank Anthony Ryan
    The Federal Role in Increasing Equality of Educational Opportunity
    Kenneth S. Tollett
    Federal Grants and Educational Equity
    Henry M. Levin
    Policy and Organization
    The Impact of State and Federal Educational Policy on School Governance
    David K. Cohen
    The Importance of the Federal Role in Improving Educational Practice
    Lessons from a Big-City School System
    Thomas K. Minter
    The Federal Role in Educational Improvement
    Brenda J. Turnbull
    The Federal Role in Educational Research
    P. Michael Timpane
    The Role of the States in Federal Education Programs
    Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin
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