ERIC Number: ED407709
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Organizational Capacity for School Improvement: Teacher Reports in Magnet and Nonmagnet Schools.
Hausman, Charles S.; And Others
Magnet schools have recently been promoted as a school-improvement tool to liberate the poor from inferior schools. This paper presents findings of a study that assessed differences in organizational capacity for education reform between magnet and nonmagnet schools. Do families have a choice of better schools--schools with greater capacity to help students achieve higher standards? The paper utilizes the conceptual framework of O'Day, Goertz, and Floden (1995) to focus exclusively on differences in organizational capacity between magnet and nonmagnet schools. Data were obtained from a survey that compared 10 magnet schools and 10 nonmagnet schools in both Cincinnati, Ohio, and St. Louis, Missouri. The survey of a total of 988 teachers produced an overall response rate of 70 percent. The results of the study are mixed and lend themselves to multiple interpretations. Both critics and supporters of school choice can find evidence to bolster their claims. Although an overall difference in teachers' reports of organizational capacity was found in favor of magnet schools, the variance accounted for was a modest 7.07 percent. Moreover, only two of the five dimensions of organizational capacity--organizational structures and management, and resources--accounted for differences in organizational capacity between magnet and nonmagnet schools. Choice in and of itself appears to only go so far in terms of enhancing organizational capacity and schools for all children because resources are controlled at the district level. Most importantly, it appears that the dimension of organizational capacity on which no differences were found may have the most influence on student performance. In summary, it appears that choice enhanced the dimensions of organizational capacity that are the most directly altered and for which there is least evidence of possible impact on student performance. Three tables are included. (Contains 31 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).