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Systemic Reform

The contemporary education policy period marks a shift away from the idea that change happens organically, one school at a time. Instead, there is a focus on creating a systematic infrastructure to support change, and the goal is to achieve change across a large number of schools at the same time. In recent decades, there have been several types of systemic reform efforts in the United States and across other Western countries, most significantly the growth of state and federal systems of standards and accountability.

The publication of the 1983 report, A Nation at Risk, likely marked the beginning of the systemic reform movement in the United States. The report argued that students in U.S. schools failed to compete on an international level and lagged ...

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