ERIC Number: ED400078
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
"Seeing" the School Reform Elephant: Connecting Policy Makers, Parents, Practioners, and Students.
Wagner, Tony; Sconyers, Nancy
This report is part of a multi-year project conducted by the Institute for Responsive Education (IRE) and Boston University components of the Center on Families, Communities, Schools and Children's Learning. The report draws on results of a series of focus groups and interviews conducted in 1994 and 1995 to explore how policymakers and parents, teachers, and students in local schools view school reform and family-community collaboration. Policymakers view school reform as necessary to maintain a competitive economic advantage and think parental involvement is crucial to reform efforts, but some are skeptical about parents' desire to be involved in their children's education. Policymakers from both the Democratic and Republican political parties are interested in and supportive of family-community-school partnerships. Parents express a sense of urgency about the need for fundamental changes primarily because of a perceived lack of student motivation and values. They are also concerned about offerings for non-college-bound students, enrichment opportunities, uncaring teachers, and high school structure. Practitioners are concerned about students' stress level and lack of motivation, scarce resources, and changes imposed by out-of-touch bureaucracies. Teachers hesitate to recommend major reform because of previous failed programs, but many see strong parental advocacy as a key to changing conditions. Students are concerned about boring classes but their major priorities are safety, the need for engaging school and extracurricular activities, and teachers' lack of respect for them. By examining the views of the four groups, an understanding of what must change in U.S. schools can be achieved. The practice of community partnership for school change must become a matter of both regular practice and policy. The report concludes with descriptions of promising new approaches to school reform, including IRE's Responsive Schools Project. (KDFB)
Descriptors: Administrator Attitudes, Decision Making, Educational Change, Educational Innovation, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Focus Groups, Interviews, Parent Attitudes, Parent Participation, Parent School Relationship, Participative Decision Making, Partnerships in Education, School Administration, School Attitudes, School Community Relationship, School District Autonomy, School Effectiveness, School Organization, School Restructuring, School Role, School Safety, School Schedules, Student Attitudes, Student Motivation, Student School Relationship, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Student Relationship
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center on Families, Communities, Schools, and Children's Learning.