Frank’s Framework: England

Frank’s Framework has three elements: Policy Effectiveness, Theoretical Adequacy, and Empirical Validity.

by. Michael Carver

This blog post will take a look at England through the eyes of this Frank’s framework by addressing some of the questions that arise from that framework.

Policy Effectiveness:

“How do sources and degrees of support and dissent affect action on an issue or proposal?” (Kubow, 2007, p. 274)

The Education Reform Act (ERA) of 1988 had a major impact on the state and educational role in England. It put forth some broad changes. The two liberal and more conservative parties struggled with completing their own agenda. The conservative party utilized political pressure, media, and public appeals to push their agenda in restructuring the educational system to their views. They used their political support to reform the educational policies to a view that better fit the conservative ideals.

Theoretical Adequacy:

What reasoning and justifications are associated with the issue? (Kubow, 2007, p. 274)

One of the purposes of the ERA was to improve the educational system and to incorporate a more entrepreneurial system. The implementation of the ERA from a theoretical adequacy point seems to be the increase in school performance. The provisions of funding set forth and ability for parents to choose where their children went to school was meant to force the schools to improve or go out of business. The idea is that parents will want to send their children to the schools that perform the best, which would push schools to become better.

Another purpose of the ERA was to promote homogeneity between the different schools. Having a nationalized curriculum was supposed to allow for the schools to be able to all be on a level playing field.  This was meant to also empower parents in choosing their schools. However, this attempt also led to the fear that the schools would be able to at some point be able to choose the parents instead of the intended parents choosing the school. This led to a reinforcement of differences between schools instead of the intended goal of homogeneity.

Empirical Validity:

Is there any empirical evidence regarding the reform? (Kubow, 2007, p. 180)

From the beginning of its inception there have been doubts voiced about the validity of the goals the ERA claimed it outcomes would be about educational equality. Parents and others have voiced their opinions about the disparity that actually existed between the stated goals and outcomes and what seemed to be really happening. There is very little if any empirical evidence to suggest that the ERA achieved its intended goal. Kubow states, “Even early research following the ERA’s inception suggested that some empirical justification existed for the apprehensions voiced about the system’s potential to provide equitable opportunity” (Kubow, 2007, p. 185). This seems to say that the empirical evidence available suggest the ERA achieved the opposite of the initial goal.


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