When School Policies Backfire: How Well-Intended Measures Can Harm Our Most Vulnerable Students

When School Policies Backfire: How Well-Intended Measures Can Harm Our Most Vulnerable Students

Book Title: When School Policies Backfire: How Well-Intended Measures Can Harm Our Most Vulnerable Students

Publisher: Harvard Education Press

ISBN: 161250907X


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When School Policies Backfire: How Well-Intended Measures Can Harm Our Most Vulnerable Students

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Like medical practitioners, educators share the moral obligation to “first, do no harm.” But as this provocative volume shows, education policies do not always live up to this ideal, especially policies intended to help our most vulnerable students. When School Policies Backfire draws our attention to education policies designed to help disadvantaged students that instead had the perverse effect of harming them by exacerbating the very problems they were intended to solve.

The rigorous case studies that make up the book are contributed by a diverse group of scholars with different methodological approaches. The cases address important areas of education reform, from literacy and technology programs to school closings, school choice, and accountability policies. Each case shows how and why a particular program backfired. Taken together, they present a wide-ranging critique of the kinds of policies that compose the cornerstones of current education reform efforts.

Many books have examined policies that fall short of achieving their goals, or that result in unintended consequences. But few have documented the effects of policies whose failures have been so spectacular. When School Policies Backfire is a sobering reminder of the responsibility that policy makers and researchers bear for the well-being of our most vulnerable students.