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Center for Public School Renewal

Publications

The publications available here are original versions of articles written by Barry McGhan and published in various newspapers (primarily The Detroit News) and educational journals. These original articles may vary slightly from the published version because of minor editorial changes. They are listed by the topics below, and include a brief overview.

School Choice/Charter Schools
The Teacher's Role
Anti-Vouchers/Tax Credits
Compulsory Education
School Achievement, Social Class and Race
Testing/Accreditation
School Mathematics
Computers in Schools
Other Topics

Future plans include the development of articles that will be published here for the first time. Writers who would like to make a contribution should email us. We are especially interested in any articles--pro or con--on the topic of teacher-led schools.

School Choice/Charter Schools

"Teachers Can Also Benefit From School Choice." The Detroit News. November 11, 2003. (Argues that school choice has been a feature of public education for years before charter schools started to spread. It is popular and will grow. Teachers can find ways to take advantage of it through decentralization of districts.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"What's the Hope for Urban Education?" The Detroit News. October 15, 2000. (Tells the story of an early charter school type reform attempted in the Detroit School District in the late 1980's.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Put Kids Ahead of Adults in School Choice." The Detroit News. April 9, 2000. (Analyzes a pro- and anti-choice slogan in terms of their economic benefits for adults over their educational benefits for children.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"School Choice Gets Stuck in Politics." The Detroit News. March 23, 2000. (Discusses different types of charter schools and how some of them may be more politically attractive than others.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Public Educators Should Accept Choice." The Detroit News. August 12, 1999. (Recounts reasons why school choice proposals like charter schools are here to stay and how public school educators can adjust to them.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Accountability is Key to Charter Schools." The Detroit News. October 22, 1998. (Discusses the importance that establishing accountability has to the success of charter schools.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"MEA Remains Clueless on Charters." The Detroit News. February, 20, 1998. (Discusses the possible reasons why the Michigan Education Association may not be more supportive of charter schools as a mean of school reform.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Charter Schools Put Reins in Teachers' Hands." The Detroit News. July 13, 1997. (Discusses reasons why public school teachers should take a look at starting charter schools.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Free Market May Not Work With Education." The Detroit Free Press. October 1, 1995. (Discusses some aspects of the commercial economy that may not be translated into public education.) Reprinted with permission.

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The Teacher's Role

"State Aid Could Limit Teacher Cuts." The Detroit News. April 11, 2004. (If most of the state's foundation grant is sent directly to the school to be spent, rather than to the district, teachers would have more control over exactly what cuts need to be made. They might even be able to create a "rainy day" fund in their budget to soften cuts in future years.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Let's Give Teachers More Muscle to Fix Education." The Detroit News. May 21, 2003. (Recommends moving authority to spend money to the school level, based on the effectiveness of such changes in certain school districts.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"A Fundamental Education Reform: Teacher-led Schools." Phi Delta Kappan. March, 2002, p. 538ff. (Proposes putting teachers at the center of reform through non-traditional forms of governance which increase the professional status of teachers and increase collegiality within schools, through either wholesale restructuring, or incremental modifications.)

"Empower Teachers to Improve Public Schools." The Flint Journal. September 2, 2001. (Recommends empowerment as a means of achieving school improvement.)

"Don't Make Teachers the Villains for Problems Imported Into Schools." The Detroit News. February 5, 2001. (Questions the simplistic ways "failing" schools are identified and suggests an alternative viewpoint.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Let Teachers Improve Schools." The Detroit News. July 6, 2000. (Reviews the difficulties in achieving school improvement and recommends putting teachers at the center of reform efforts in order to make them meaningful.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Merit Pay Debate Needs New Thinking." The Detroit News. October 21, 1999. (Presents a possible conversation that could take place between a school superintendent and a teacher union official that could lead to reasonable compromise by both sides.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Teachers Alone are Pathfinders of Reform." The Detroit News. April 24, 1997. (Discusses low probability that top-down education reform will work without teachers' input.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Salary Question Needs Teacher Input." The Detroit News. March 20, 1997. (Discusses need for new ways of looking at teacher salaries.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Don't Blame Teachers for Low Standards." The Detroit News. October 10, 1996. (Discusses the idea that teachers meet the standards that are set by others in authority, whatever they are.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"School Reform: Ain't 'Bout Nuttin' But Time." The Clearinghouse. July/August, 1995. (Discusses the lack of teachers' time as a major roadblock to reform.)

"Accountability as a Negative Reinforcer." American Teacher, November, 1970. (Discusses the effect of accountability as an aversive reinforcement on teacher behavior.) Copyright 1970, American Federation of Teachers. Reprinted with permission.

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Anti-Vouchers/Tax Credits

"School Vouchers Confront an Uphill Battle in Michigan." The Detroit News. July 7, 2002. (Reviews the likely future of vouchers in Michigan in the wake of the Supreme Court pro-voucher ruling.) Reprinted with permission of the Detroit News.

"Vouchers Need More Candid Talk." The Detroit News. November 29, 2000. (Suggests several points where pro and con positions on vouchers, if each side was more condid, could lead to a better understanding of the issues.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Public Schools Deserve More Freedom." The Detroit News. February 25, 1999. (Characterizes the interest in vouchers as a sign that public schools need to be operationally more like private schools.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Vouchers and Credits: Dumb and Dumber." The Detroit News. December 17, 1998. (Discusses the flaws that both school vouchers and tax credits have as proposed reforms.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Vouchers are One Form of Choice." The Detroit News. October 9, 1997. (Discusses the negative implications that vouchers have for producing real school reform.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Vouchers A False Education Solution." The Detroit News. November 14, 1996. (Discusses the fundamentally undemocratic nature of vouchers.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Drawing a Line on Public School Interest." The Detroit News. September 5, 1996. (Discusses the differences between education as a private commodity and a public interest.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

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Compulsory Education

"Education - Why Compulsory?" The Ann Arbor News. September 30, 2001. (Proposes a voluntary public school system as a more responsive and effective type of public schooling than now exists.)

"Choice and Compulsion: The End of an Era." Phi Delta Kappan. April, 1998. pg 610-612. (Discusses the basic reasons why school choice appeals to parents and how public schools might respond to this appeal.) Copyright Phi Delta Kappan, International, 1998. Reprinted with permission.

"Compulsory School Attendance: An Idea Past Its Prime?" The Educational Forum. Winter, 1997. (Discusses the reasons for eliminating compulsory education and creating systems of voluntary public schools.) Reprinted with permission of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.

"School Choice: Make Attendance Voluntary." The Detroit News. January 14, 1996. (Discusses the compromises forced on public schools by compulsory attendance laws which are not faced by private schools.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Dear State Board: Deregulate This!" The Detroit News. August 31, 1995. pg. 7G. (Discusses the advantages to eliminating compulsory school attendance.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

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School Achievement, Social Class and Race

"Michigan Wages War on Schools' Poor." The Detroit News. July 13, 1995. pg. 15A. (Discusses the improper use of achievement tests to accredit schools.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Keeping the Net Higher For Some." Education Week. May 18, 1994. pg. 34, v. 13, #34. (Discusses some functional aspects to schools' contribution to social stratification.) Reprinted with permission.

"Racism Lives Today." UTF Action (now Interaction), January 28, 1972. (Discusses presence of racism in society in spite of court decisions and civil rights legislation.) Reprinted with permission.

"Urban Schools Promote Racism." UTF Action (now Interaction), February 11, 1972. (Discusses various aspects of institutional racism in schools.) Reprinted with permission

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Testing/Accreditation

"Keeping MEAP Tests Improves State Curriculum." The Detroit News. January 25, 2004. (Discusses threats to changing the 30 year-old state test.) Reprinted with permission fromthe Detroit News.

"No Easy Answer to School Accreditation." The Detroit News. December 18, 2001. (Discusses Michigan efforts to establish a workable, flexible and accurate accreditation system.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Where's the Beef on Curriculum Core?" The Detroit News. February 15, 1996. (Discusses the phony nature of required tests for a curriculum that is not required.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"The Politics of Curriculum Reform." Secondary Education Today. Spring, 1994. (Discusses the political climate of state testing programs.)

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School Mathematics

"'90's New Math Offers Valid Approach." The Detroit News. January 2, 1998. (Discusses the benefits that new mathematics curricula will have for students.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Can It be True that All Children Can Learn Mathematics?" NCSM Newsletter. October, 1995. (Discusses the "all children can learn math" viewpoint in relation to beliefs in human intelligence and suggests arguments to support the view that all can learn.) Reprinted with permission from NCSM.

"MEAP: Mathematics and the Reading Connection." Mathematics in Michigan. Summer, 1995. (Discusses the portion of mathematics achievement on the MEAP test which can be predicted by reading achievement.)

"An Image For Change in Mathematics Education." NCSM Newsletter. Spring, 1994. (Discusses a metaphor which can be used to communicate the process of curriculum change.) Reprinted with permission from NCSM.

"'Keep the Faith,' Math Teachers." Education Week. February 17, 1993. pg 26, v.12, #21. (Response to Chester Finn's critique of the NCTM Standards.) Reprinted with permission.

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Computers in Schools

"Computer Education: At School? At Home? Who's Kidding Whom?" Contemporary Education, Summer, 1988. [Reprinted in Education Digest, December, 1988] (Discusses difficulties in using computers for education of children at home. Reprinted with permission from Contemporary Education.

"The Computer: Education's Trojan Horse." Social Policy, Fall, 1985. (Discusses positive and negative aspects of school computer use by looking at the nature of the computer vs. the nature of education.)

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Other Topics

"It Takes More Than the Right Attitude to Fix Public Schools for the Poor." The Detroit News. September 17, 2000. (One of a pair of pro/con essays on what is needed to improve public education for urban children.)

"Social Promotion Has No Easy Solution." The Detroit News. July 8, 1999. (Discusses the complex issues behind the seemingly simple ideas of retention vs. social promotion.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Where Do Democrats Stand on Education?" The Detroit News. July 30, 1998. (Reviews Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidates education positions.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Money Does Indeed Matter in Education." The Detroit News. June 4, 1998. (Discusses the false idea that school spending is unimportant in improving education.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Sense of Fair Play is First Step to Civility." The Detroit News. June 12, 1997. (Discusses what schools can accomplish with respect to character education.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"Public School Goals Often In Conflict" The Detroit News. December 26, 1996. (Discusses multiple goals pressed on schools which can't be achieved because they conflict.) Reprinted with permission from the Detroit News.

"The Possible Outcomes of Outcome-Based Education." Educational Leadership. March, 1994. pp. 70-72. (Discusses some positive and negative aspects of OBE.)

"How I Learned to Quit Being a Snob and Love Vocational Education." School Shop/Tech Directions, April, 1992. (Recounts a mathematics teacher's experiences working in a vocational school.) Reprinted with permission.

"The Student Movement: Where Do You Stand?", The Clearinghouse, October, 1971. Reprinted in Crucial Issues in Contemporary Education, edited by T.W. Hipple, Goodyear, 1973. (Discusses eight types of adult responses to student activism.)

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