This volume consists of a collection of essays devoted to study of the most recent educational reform in Russia. In his first decree Boris Yeltsin proclaimed education a top priority of state policy. Yet the economic decline which accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union dealt a crippling blow to reformist aspirations, and to the existing school system itself. The public lost faith in school reform and by the mid-1990s a reaction had set in. Nevertheless, large-scale changes have been effected in finance, structure, governance and curricula. At the same time, there has been a renewed and widespread appreciation for the positive aspects of the Soviet legacy in schooling.
The essays presented here compare current educational reform to reforms of the past, analyze it in a broader cultural, political and social context, and study the shifts that have occurred at the different levels of schooling 'from political decision-making and changes in school administration to the rewriting textbooks and teachers' everyday problems. The authors are both Russian educators, who have played a leading role in implementation of the reform, and Western scholars, who have been studying it from its very early stages. Together, they formulate an intricate but cohesive picture, which is in keeping with the complex nature of the reform itself.
Contributors: Kara Brown, (Indiana University) * Ben Eklof (Indiana University) * Isak D. Froumin, (World Bank, Moscow) * Larry E. Holmes (University of South Alabama) * Igor Ionov, (Russian History Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) * Viacheslav Karpov & Elena Lisovskaya, (Western Michigan University) * Vera Kaplan, (Tel Aviv University) * Stephen T. Kerr, (University of Washington) * James Muckle, (University of Nottingham) * Nadya Peterson, (Hunter College) * Scott Seregny, (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) * Alexander Shevyrev, (Moscow State University) * Janet G. Vaillant, (Harvard University)
Ben Eklof is Professor of History and Education at Indiana University and Director of the Institute for the Study of Russian Education, as well as editor of Khronika: Chronicle of Education in Russia and Eurasia. Among his books are Russian Peasant Schools (1986), Soviet Briefing (1989), School and Society in Tsarist and Soviet Russia (ed., 1993), Democracy in the Russian School (ed., 1993), Russia's Great Reforms, 1855-1881 (ed.,1994), The World of the Russian Peasant (ed., 1990). Recently, he edited the two volume English language translation of Boris Mironov's acclaimed Social History of Imperial Russia, 1700-1917. Prof. Eklof continues to work on a volume on the daily life of the Russian school before the Revolution, and to publish on education in the post-Soviet era.
Larry E. Holmes is Professor of History at the University of South Alabama. His publications include: The Kremlin and the Schoolhouse: Reforming Education in Soviet Russia, 1917-1931 (1991); Sotsial'naia istoriia Rossii: 1917-1941 (1994); and Stalin's School: Moscow's Model School No. 25, 1931-1937 (1999). A book, Grand Theater: The Administration of Schools in the Russian Republic, 1931-1941, is under preparation.
Vera Kaplan started her professional career as a history teacher in secondary school, then as lecturer and senior lecturer in the institutions for higher education in Leningrad, USSR. After her emigration to Israel in 1992 she joined the Cummings Center for Russian and East European Studies as a research associate. Currently she leads a research project 'The Teaching of History and Formation of New Historical Narrative in Post-Soviet Russia.' Dr Kaplan authored a number of scholarly papers on the history of Russian education, as well as on educational policy and history teaching in contemporary Russia and co-edited a volume entitled, The Teaching of History in Contemporary Russia: Trends and Perspectives (Tel Aviv, 1999). Alongside her research work, Dr. Kaplan teaches courses on modern Russian history at the Department of History, Tel Aviv University.