Harvard Educational Review
  1. Commissions, Reports, Reforms, and Educational Policy

    Edited by Rick Ginsberg and David N. Plank.

    Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995. 280 pp. $59.95

    In this comprehensive and insightful volume, Rick Ginsberg and David Plank bring together a diverse group of policymakers and academics to uncover the appeal and efficacy of nationally recognized commissions in influencing educational policy. The authors analyze the impact of blue ribbon panels and reform efforts, such as the 1966 Coleman Report; the 1983 landmark report from the National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at Risk; and the much publicized school reform efforts in South Carolina, which helped propel former governor Richard Riley to become U.S. Secretary of Education.

    The authors view commissions as having two different perspectives: those that see their primary purpose and influence as beginning the process of school reform by generating public support for educational change, and those that see their role as having symbolic importance only. In both cases, commissions play an important role in shaping policy. The authors' perspectives, though, stand in contrast to Paul Peterson's foreword, which calls the very purpose of the book into question: "Why are educational commissions a dime a dozen? Why are they worth that but little more?" (p. ix). Peterson posits that a commission "gives the appearance of doing something and shifts the blame to someone else" (p. x), and that policy reports have not improved and show no promise of improving a "stagnant" educational system.

    Despite the thematic non sequitur from the foreword to the text of the book, this volume is important reading for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers interested in moving policy into practice.

    D.A.G
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    Abstracts

    The Colonizer/Colonized Chicana Ethnographer
    Identity, Marginalization, and Co-optation in the Field
    By Sofia Villenas
    "To Take Them at Their Word"
    Language Data in the Study of Teachers' Knowledge
    By Donald Freeman
    Inclusion, School Restructuring, and the Remaking of American Society
    By Dorothy Kerzner Lipsky and Alan Gartner
    Sustained Inquiry in Education
    Lessons from Skill Grouping and Class Size
    By Frederick Mosteller, Richard J. Light and Jason A. Sachs

    Book Notes

    Saving Our Sons
    By Marita Golden

    This Is How We Live and Tapori

    Wasting America's Future: The Children's Defense Fund Report on the Cost of Child Poverty
    By Arloc Sherman; Introduction by Marian Wright Edelman; Foreword by Robert M. Solow

    Blacked Out
    By Signithia Fordham

    Works about John Dewey 1886–1995
    Edited by Barbara Levine

    Natasha
    By Matthew Lipman

    Diversity in Higher Education
    By Caryn McTighe Musil, with Mildred Garcia, Yolanda Moses, and Daryl G. Smith

    Handbook of Qualitative Research
    Edited by Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln.

    Commissions, Reports, Reforms, and Educational Policy
    Edited by Rick Ginsberg and David N. Plank.

    The Multilevel Design
    By Harry J. M. Huttner and Pieter van den Eeden.

    Search and Seizure in the Public Schools (Second Edition)
    By Lawrence F. Rossow and Jacqueline A. Stefkovich