ERIC Number: ED363976
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992
Reference Count: N/A
The Chicago Experiment: Enhanced Democratic Participation as a Lever for School Improvement.
Bryk, Anthony S.; Rollow, Sharon G.
Issues in Restructuring Schools, v3 p3-8 Fall 1992
In December 1988 the Illinois State legislature passed the Chicago School Reform Act, which sought to replace traditional bureaucratic control of the schools with a complex system of decision making by local schools. The act promotes three distinct sites of power in school communities: (1) parent-dominated local school councils (LSCs); (2) increased principal responsibility and accountability; and (3) increased teacher participation in decision making. Following a description of the reform's background, this paper expands the pluralist bargaining framework to one of "renewed democratic institutions." This perspective maintains that a renewed democratic politics, rooted in sustained local participation, is the necessary antidote to unresponsive societal institutions. This concept of school politics encourages attention to the nature of political discourse in school communities. At the core of strong democratic practice is sustained conversation about shared normative understandings. As yet, however, school communities still need to find ways to interact with outside technical expertise. Finally, Chicago school reform serves a broader community education function. The Chicago experiment holds promise of new knowledge about how democratic participation can be revitalized in major urban centers. (LMI)
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, Madison, WI.