The last couple of years have been tough for educational reformers. As a friend of mine put it, “the reform community is suffering from a low-grade depression.” As a profession, we seem to be adrift among changing priorities and an inability to make significant academic improvement or to help students prepare for a fundamentally different workplace. Across the country, there has been retrenchment or confusion regarding more rigorous standards, the number and types of state-level assessments, newly-created teacher evaluation systems, and stronger accountability measures.
Some degree of the pendulum swinging back was to be expected. However, in some cases, poor implementation and lack of follow- through contributed to the public discontent; in others, a failure to understand the systemic nature of district or school reform frustrated progress and strengthened the case of those fighting to keep the status quo.