Educational Reformers or Keepers of the Status Quo : Governors Reubin Askew and Jimmy Carter.
Educational reform has been an important area for debate in the southern states since the end of the Second World War. From desegregation to equity in funding, southern governors have pushed their states in the direction of their parties, their promises and their personal political beliefs. Some of these changes have been progressive in that the reforms increased the ability of marginalized groups to participate in the economic, political and social power of each state. The same legislation contained consequences like state-wide testing that maintained the racial, political, social and economic status quo. Two governors who served in the 1970s, Reubin O'Donovan Askew of Florida and Jimmy Carter of Georgia, sought to equalize educational opportunity in their states. Both wished to address the needs of children who had been denied educational opportunities in the past and both wished to increase spending on education in their states. While their purposes were progressive, both reform packages contained accountability based on state-wide testing. In this article the author addresses two questions: did the testing component reverse the access that minority and impoverished students were given through the intended educational reforms, and was the testing a necessary political trade-off for passage of the equalization legislation? In analysing the acceptance of testing by two southern governors, we may be able to understand the current trend in the United States and to develop educational policies that are more progressive in their results as well as their intentions and that answer the needs of our diverse student population.
Centre for Study of History of Education.
Paedagogica Historica, 42:01-02, 211-224
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