8.11 Rethinking the Organization and Effects of Schooling: The Post-Industrial Conundrum
In this paper we explore the match between the dominant model of schooling and its effects and the experiences of children and adults in other sectors of society. We suggest that in comparison with other major sectors in which individuals are involved, public schools have lagged in completion of the modern project, that is, the rationalization of means and ends. It is this project that seeks to connect the structure and processes of schooling to a set of uniform predefined outcomes or effects. The school reform movement of the last quarter of the twentieth century has embodied this project in one form or another under a number of rubrics, including more effective schools, school restructuring, whole school reform, systemic reform, and standards. Because schools are still occupied with the completion of the modern project, they are not in a position to move beyond the modern model to provide consumers with the types of experiences they increasingly find in transactions with other service providers. These emerging consumer experiences are rooted in a post-industrial logic that emphasizes more intensive use of refined information technologies that support more differentiated and individualized conceptions of client needs and highly customized services and products.