ERIC Number: ED307294
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Moving into the Next Phase of "School Effectiveness"--with Heavy Baggage: An Evaluation of a Districtwide School Improvement Project.
Pugh, Wesley C.
Using a microanalytic case study approach, school effectiveness/school improvement strategies in a Northeastern urban public school district are examined. Recent research findings have indicated inconclusive and, at times, negative results related to the implementation of such strategies. The 202,469 students enrolled in 257 schools within the school district studied represent a broad range of ethnic groups (63.4% were black). Prior to the school improvement efforts, the school district was characterized by political difficulties, fiscal instability, and internal turmoil. The improvement plan focused on the elementary level and included a desegregation effort. The data trends indicated that while a worsening of school climate in the school improvement project schools was not a dominant feature, no claims of improvement in the overall project could be determined from the data. Major stages of evolution were: (1) introduction of the program and assessment of staffs' understanding of the goals; (2) assessment of school climate variables; and (3) collective discussions and proposals for action by school building improvement councils that met with central administration staff to formulate plans. It appears that, although school effectiveness tenets are viable means of initiating educational reform, the major impediment to school effectiveness/school improvement projects appears to be the issue of implementation. Implementation and related issues suggest that teacher empowerment is a critical aspect of this and all other attempts toward producing quality education. The future direction of the urban school improvement project, which focuses on a holistic approach to educating the so-called "disadvantaged" or "at risk" student, is discussed. A 44-item list of references is included. (TJH)
Descriptors: Case Studies, Desegregation Plans, Educational Administration, Educational Environment, Educational Improvement, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, Ethnic Groups, Needs Assessment, Politics of Education, Program Evaluation, Program Implementation, School Districts, School Effectiveness, School Policy, Staff Development, Urban Schools
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, March 27-31, 1989).