ERIC Number: ED373424
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
A Geology in School Reform: Past Reforms Interact with New As a School District Implements Shared Decision Making.
This paper summarizes an ethnohistorical study of the way in which a medium-sized suburban school district's implementation of site-based, shared decision making interacted with attitudes and procedures created by earlier district reforms. A second focus is on how the adoption of a new curriculum framework, based on a whole-language philosophy and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards, was influenced by expectations left by the mandated use of criterion-referenced tests under the previous superintendent. Data sources included historical documents, interviews, and participant and nonparticipant observation. A total of 118 people participated in interviews or surveys: 2 school board members; 13 district administrators and specialists; the principal, an assistant principal, and a counselor from each of the district's three high schools; 9 building administrators at the K-9 level; 71 teachers; 7 support personnel; and 7 community members. The effectiveness of site-based, shared decision making was limited by two factors: (1) personnel unwillingness to implement policies; and (2) political and social considerations, such as the state budget shortfall. The new integrated curriculum framework was successfully implemented in the elementary schools and in one high school, but not in the junior high schools or the other two high schools. Shared decision making proved to be useful for addressing problems within the district's administrative control. However, the process did not alter the district's continued vulnerability to important regularities embedded within its social context. For example, decisions about school-based programs aimed at equalizing the educational opportunities of students continued to generate controversy. These findings suggest that the shared decision-making process can offer no more than a partial solution to problems facing school districts today. (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994).