Effecting Change in a Politically Charged Environment

Effecting Change in a Politically Charged Environment

Debra Vance Noelk
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch057
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While it is accepted that those individuals with large amounts of money are able to exert power more easily than those without money, there are other resources available that assist strategic leaders in making effective change. Thousands of local and national education groups have formed in recent years to protest current education policies and to have a voice in the policy and decision making process. Strategic leadership enables these groups to have a positive impact on educational policies and decisions. This chapter will examine the process by which two groups, United Opt Out and the Loudoun Education Association, were able to utilize social media in conjunction with strategic leadership in order to effect change in a politically charged environment.
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Reform is a recurring theme in American public education. From Hoarce Mann and the Common School Era (Cremin, 1951) to the Progressive Era with John Dewey (Callahan, 1962), education has been the focus of multiple reform movements. Fast forward to the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the current reform movement – the age of accountability. This reform is like the others with both supporters and critics. However, now technology plays an integral role in the reform movement. For the first time, social media is being used to inform and mobilize the public into action.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Activism: The process of using active methods to encourage public participation for a particular cause.

Corporate Reform: The efforts of large corporations and foundations to change and impact education policy and curriculum.

Proficiency Level: A level based on a test score at which students are ranked at below, on, or above grade level.

Opt Out: To choose not to participate in something. Often used with of - to opt out of a project.

NCLB – No Child Left Behind Act: The law passed in 2001 that required the use of high stakes tests to determine student proficiency levels.

Social media: Websites or applications that allow users to interact and share information and network with one another. Examples include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

High Stakes Tests: Test scores that are used to determine punishments (such as sanctions, penalties, funding reductions, negative publicity), accolades (awards, public celebration, positive publicity), advancement (grade promotion or graduation for students), or compensation (salary increases or bonuses for administrators and teachers).

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