September 20, 2011 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

The beginning of any school reform decisions should begin with philosophy: What do the reformers believe that education or school districts or schools should be? Philosophy is the “why” of anything. Therefore, philosophy is the beginning. From the philosophy comes the reason for what schools should be doing, how they should be doing it, where they should be doing that, when they should be doing that, and who should be doing it.

Educational philosophies should act as guidelines for decision-making when it comes to school reform. When politicians, businessmen and parents clamor for change, the educators need to balance these demands for change with their philosophies of education. The overriding question – why? – has to be asked each time for each change. The guidelines are established by educational philosophies. Within these guidelines educators must implement change to continue improvement in education.

There are four aspects to educational philosophy. Schools need to be nurturing environments that are places of learning. Schools are given the responsibility of passing on the knowledge and culture of civilization from one generation to the next. Schools produce lifelong learners who finds fulfillment in their lives. The development of philosophy should incorporate as many different views as the community offers. Philosophies should be relatively simple to provide for the flexibility needed in the modern changing world.

When the philosophy has been developed, it should become a working instrument. When calls for change or a changing world begins to affect a school, the decision on what changes need to be instrumented and how they should be incorporated within a school environment can be made based on the school philosophy. For example, there is a major movement to increase the length of the school day. Philosophy requires us to ask “why?” Many of those that support this change hold to the belief that the school is little more than a daycare center. Philosophy tells us that a school is a place of learning. How then do we offset the length of the school day to fulfill this obligation of the philosophy? More time in school can often be beneficial in today’s world. More is not always better. In some cases the school day is so long that it serves diminishing results. Young children – primary grade level – did not benefit as much as older children – secondary school. The decision on the school’s part to lengthen the school day must meet the demand of the philosophy. What purpose does a lengthen school day served? How will it be implemented? How will programs within the school be affected? These are just to name a few of the questions that are faced by school administrators and school board members. Decisions such as these also impact other aspects of education. These include budget considerations, resource management, and personnel costs.

Some school systems it will philosophy that their services are more of a daycare center in a learning institution. When faced with a decision concerning length of the school day, the decision becomes very easy. “How long do the parents work?” becomes the major concern. The quandary in today’s world seems to the drive to “improve education.” The means from the political circle is to increase the school day. There philosophy seems to be based on the “more is better” concept. Working parents often are willing to accept this to solve the problem of child care either before or after school. This one issue is just an example of the difficulties that school boards and administrators must face when confronted with a changing world.


The mission of education is to provide an opportunity for learning. From this mission grows the philosophy. From this philosophy develops the educational structure of the school. Unless a philosophy is established, school reform will only result in chaos.


Entry filed under: School Reform.

Educator’s Thoughts on School Reform Teacher Preparation

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