ERIC Number: ED402124
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Moving Mountains: Reform, Resistance and Resiliency in an Appalachian Kentucky High School.
Porter, Maureen K.
This dissertation, which won the Dissertation of the Year Award, examines how stakeholders in an Appalachian Kentucky high school addressed educational problems that they had targeted for reform. Set against the backdrop of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA), this ethnographic study describes the challenges of effectively coupling top-down state mandates with bottom-up advocacy and engagement. Prominent in the local response to KERA was resistance to state-mandated policies. Resistance fueled state threats of punitive action to encourage compliance with standardized goals, but paradoxically, these threats engendered greater resiliency among stakeholders to make the high school reflect local priorities and ways of working together. Drawing on over a year of participant observation at "Central High School" and extensive interviews in the school and community, the research examines six interwoven themes that are critical for understanding local paradigms and paradoxes: (1) desire for local control and "taking care of our own," but also ways in which local vested interests undermined more equitable means of taking care of all students; (2) ideal of "solving things face to face," contrasted with power differentials based on family name, wealth, race, and gender; (3) respecting the contributions and opinions of stakeholders with less formal education; (4) use of statistics to legitimize stakeholders' interests and authority; (5) sharing or withholding information and the effects on the change process; and (6) symbols and metaphors reflecting connections to place and community. Includes table of contents for the complete dissertation. (Author/SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Kentucky Education Reform Act 1990