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Conceptual Framework for Educational Policy Makers

In his book Five Minds for the Future, author Howard Gardner claims that educational policymakers assume that educational goals and values are self- evident (Gardner, 2006, p. 17). He argues that most educational goals do not measure up to the rapidly changing world. Todays children are one of the most well- informed generations so far and educational policies should take advantage of this fact. We must acknowledge all the different forces that play in our daily lives, see diversity and change as opportunities and give our children the right education for this kind of world. The following paper sets a conceptual framework for educational leaders and policy makers to build a vision that encompasses elements which directly or implicitly affect educational goals. These elements are built on social and educational theories. Socialization and Education Socialization is the process through which societies perpetuate themselves by acquiring certain things to conform and blend in such as language, traditions, dress code, etc, while education sis the process of maturing through the acquisition of knowledge. Policy makers should be aware of the socialization process in education. The former is inevitable in schools because schools are ultimately social entities (relationship between students and teachers, teachers and parents, students and student). Although both socialization and education seen conflicting concepts at a first glance (once people acquire knowledge they might become critical of their environment and change existing norms) socialization actually gives a context to all meaning and values we face in schools.

Socialization happens in schools in one of three purposes: reproduction, readjustment, and reconstruction. Reproductions means that schools work preservers of heritage and culture; in readjustment schools retain parts of the past but also adjust to contemporary needs and change in society; and in reconstruction schools prepare the children for the future by examining the past to learn from mistakes and reconstruct a better future. Policy makers should be able to steer the socialization process to achieve their required vision; thus, schools would know what they are doing and accept responsibility. Habitus If one is to use Bourdieus metaphor of games to describe the social life, Habitus would be described as the capacity the player acquires through repetition or experience in order to improvise the next move or next play. It is the ways of thinking, acting, performing bodily habits, and acquiring tastes. It is the lifestyle that characterizes each social class. People grow up in their habituss norms without questioning the latters origins. They adapt to the social classs tastes and morals unconsciously; hence, the reproduction of social classes. Policy makers should be aware of these hidden structures that guide our dispositions and gear us towards certain norms. Habitus is the trap that policy makers can fall into; thus, unwittingly setting policies that will help in society reproduction of certain prejudices. Bourdieu suggests that although schools are envisioned by policy makers as places for social reform, they are former helping, even if it is unintentional, in reproducing the inequalities that govern social classes. The best example of how a habitus can affect education is the highly conservative Bell Curve Theory in which the authors argue that people who score high on IQ tests have a better opportunity to graduate from universities and would end up in high-paying professions; they live

in upscale areas and send their children to better schools. While people who score low in IQ tests are more likely to drop out of schools, fall below poverty lines, get divorced, pursue criminal careers, or become dependents on social welfare. The authors also suggest that East-Asians score higher scores than Americans; while African Americans score below white Americans. Theories like this one which some argue that it is borderline racist can have major influence on educational policy makers by using the results of the standardized tests to channel funds or change educational goals. The Ten Fallacies of George Counts Counts held a vision that involves the United Sated of America as a whole country, the path to achieve this vision is through education and teacher leadership; however, he believed Counts that all education contains a large element of inevitable imposition. He examines ten fallacies which underlay his opposition to all forms of imposition; therefore, policy makers should be aware of these fallacies. Fallacy 1: Man is born free Fallacy 2: The child is good by nature Fallacy 3: Child lives in a separate world of his own Fallacy 4: Education is some pure and mystical essence that remains unchanged from everlasting to everlasting Fallacy 5: School should be impartial in its emphases and that no bias should be given instruction Fallacy 6: The great object of education is to produce the college professor, the individual who adopts an agnostic attitude towards every important social issue Fallacy 7: Education is primarily intellectualistic in its processes and goals Fallacy 8: School is an all-powerful educational agency Fallacy 9: Ignorance rather than knowledge is the way of wisdom Fallacy 10: Major responsibility of education is to prepare the individual to adjust himself to social change Counts argues that man is restricted in his freedom by an imposed culture of a dominant group. Children are good by nature; however, guidance for children is found in the culture and society.

Children should not be isolated from the activities of adults; thus, school society should not be isolated but bound together by common educational purposes. Next, education should not unchanged and independent of society; it should rather be dependent on cultural surroundings. He believes that schools could and should not be impartial; they must shape attitudes and impose ideas. Moreover, he believes educational leaders should be able to gather facts m make decisions, and act. Education should produce social leaders and not college professors. Equally important to intellectualism in education is the element of faith or ideal which moves children into the same vision of a reformed society and engages their loyalties. Although this might contradict the title of his book, Counts insists that schools are not all powerful but part of many formative agencies. Although some form of imposition is inevitable in schools, educators should make an effort to influence the growth of a child in a deliberate direction by enforcing one habit over the other. Finally, teachers should not prepare students to adapt to social change; instead teachers should endeavor to assume responsibility and become a social force that would prepare children to develop a firm mentality and a vision of the possibilities that lie ahead. Leaders and Visions People in leadership roles often turn to policy making process in order to achieve their visions. To be an effective leader, one must have strategies in order to gain the respect of others as a leader. There are four main strategies which include: vision, communication, trust, and establish self regard. All these strategies are important for leaders to have in order to properly lead an organization, group, etc (Bennis and Nanus, 2003). The critical point is that a vision articulates a view of a realistic, credible attractive future for the organization, a condition that is better in some important ways than what now exists. (Bennis and Nanus, 2003, p.82). When one has a vision, it is for a time in the future not the

present or the past. A vision can come in the form of a dream, a sign, a goal, or even a certain statement for what one is trying to pursue. There is an emphasis on the role of the leader to make visions real. School leaders can help in making visions real by various ways: communicate effectively with teachers, networking inside and outside schools to generate trust and consensus for the vision, and personifying the vision by becoming an embodiment of the vision values. School leaders often use frameworks that involve models of planning for their visions. Through these models (linear and organic), policies can be shaped and modified in order to come up with possible outcomes and plans of action that would help fortify these visions. Democracy in Education Policy makers should also be aware of central issues that govern policy making in a democratic society. Some of these issues were discussed by Amy Gutman in her book Democratic Education in which she raises questions about educational goals and the process of making decisions in education planning. Gutman argues that democratic education should avoid the socialization trap of reproduction by presenting a vision in which decision making in the educational field happens through deliberation as opposed to the popular democratic notion that majority rules. Delibeartion allows all parties to be part of the decision making process; thus, enabling the group to achieve a vision of the group wants. Five Minds for the Future Policy makers should come up with explicit educational goals that cultivate five different minds: Disciplined, Synthesizing, Creative, Respectful, and Ethical. Howard Gardner suggests that policy makers should know what kind of an individual emerges from school; thus, by

designing policies that shape these minds, schools will graduate students who are successful, creative, and able to make decisions without being overwhelmed by the multitude of information they will face on daily basis. Without ethical responsibility and respect, the world holds a dreary future filled with wars and prejudices. Gardner believes that the Educational system as a whole including policy makers should ensure that this ensemble of minds is cultivated. We all use theories to guide our actions, some our implicit and others are explicit (Hoy and Miskel, 2008, p.4). Mintzberg captures this dilemma by saying that our minds do not carry full realities; the former cannot handle so much information; instead they carry impressions of realities that are translated into implicit theories manifested in our actions. (Hoy and Miskel, 2008). The theories and elements discussed in this paper may seem too idealistic to be translated into tangible goals for policymakers, but they can guide their planning in order to serve a vision that holds a better future for coming generations.

References George Ritzer, ed: Social Theorists of the 20th Century. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Retrieved from: http: // Bourdieu Memon, W. (2010). The bell curve book review. Retrieved from http:// -bell-curve Counts, G. (1932). Dare the schools build a new social order?. (1st ed.). New York: Stratford Press, Inc. Retrieved from Bennis, W., Nanus, B. (2003). Leaders: Strategies for taking charge. New York: Harper Collins Gardner, H. (2008). 5 Minds for the Future. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Press. Hoy, W. & Miskel, C (2008). Educational Administration: Theory, Research and Practice (8th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.