CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

More Harm Than Good in "Failing" Schools: The Rise of the Standards-Based and Market-Driven Education Reform Models and their Adverse Implications in a High-Poverty Urban District

Rachel Simon, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Mary Summers

Date of this Version: 28 March 2017

 

Abstract

The national dialogue surrounding education policy has long been centered around two core strategies: the standards-based and market-driven reform models. Both approaches were firmly entrenched in federal law through the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), and have since continued to act as guiding forces of reform in urban districts nationwide. This thesis examines the academic and political debates that have shaped the standards-based and market-driven reform models, and explores their implications within high-poverty schools. Since 2001, the School District of Philadelphia has rigorously implemented these reform strategies in an effort to boost the achievement of poor and minority youth; the district thus offers a useful case study for analyzing the assumptions and effects of standards-based and market-driven reform. While both strategies aim to reduce educational inequity, they have produced a range of adverse outcomes that disproportionately affect disadvantaged students in Philadelphia’s high-poverty schools. The district’s agenda has served to strain scarce resources, dilute educational quality, demoralize students and teachers, and fracture community ties in schools already grappling with the challenges of concentrated poverty and deep inequality. This thesis ultimately concludes that the standards-based and market-driven reform models – both within and beyond Philadelphia – have all too often done more harm than good in many high-poverty schools. In order to mitigate and avoid such consequences in future reform efforts, a broader dialogue is needed regarding the influences of poverty, resource scarcity, trust, and community stability on the academic achievement of low-income and minority youth.

Discipline(s)

Political Science

Suggested Citation

Simon, Rachel, "More Harm Than Good in "Failing" Schools: The Rise of the Standards-Based and Market-Driven Education Reform Models and their Adverse Implications in a High-Poverty Urban District" 28 March 2017. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania, https://repository.upenn.edu/curej/206.

Date Posted: 15 May 2017

 

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