Trends in America's public schools: what will the future hold?

It is obvious to any perceptive observer of the American education scene, that programs and practices of most public schools have not kept pace with changes in our society. Some even suggest that the social problems being experienced, result from the inability of public education to prepare citizens to cope with life in the twentieth, let alone, twenty-first century. While little profit can be gained from any lengthy discourse attempting to fix blame for this lack of progress, it should be noted that educational change is almost always accompanied with controversy. A basic fear of the unknown and an instinctive precognition ofthe frustrations that can be expected from the introduction of change, serve as powerful deterrents to the dramatic improvement of public education. This is mentioned because if we are committed to a program of curriculum improvement, we must be prepared to face the difficulties associated with the changing of a bureaucratic social institution. While change does not always result in progress, there can be no progress without change. The major objective, therefore, is to support change that will result in progress while keeping controversy and frustration at a tolerable level. The accomplishment of this objective requires a comprehensive blueprint that outlines as succinctly as possible, the many phased attacks on the problem of educational improvement. This article represents such an initial step. It has been written for the purpose of giving an overview of the immediate and long range action essential in any program for curriculum improvement.