Dean's Corner: Three Wishes For 2012

In the event that the turning of a calendar year is like an Aladdin’s lamp and I am entitled to three wishes, here are three wishes for educational policy in 2012 (and no, the first one is NOT the wish for three more wishes).
Wish #1
I wish that educational policy would reflect that public education is a social benefit, not solely a product for an individual to buy.
Human capital is the “stock” of knowledge, skills, and capacities that relates to an individual’s relative productivity in society. Social capital refers to the networks and social relationships that people build to develop collective productivity in society. Social capital, when developed equitably, has been seen as a foundation of democracy by such scholars as de Tocqueville, Burke, and Dewey. Yet social capital, when developed inequitably, can perpetuate societal disparity and disaffection. Education can be a strong democratizing force through the development and equitable transfer of social capital.
In the United States, recent educational reform has been driven by a human capital perspective: education is a product for individuals to buy/consume, and educational change is brought about by the reward or punishment of individual teachers. The countries that outperform the United States in educational attainment use a social capital approach: education is a collective benefit/necessity, and educational change is brought about by increasing the social capital of professional expertise at the school and district level.
Michael Fullan, a leading international scholar on educational change, explains this and related issues in a brief and cogent analysis of successful

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