ERIC Number: ED408121
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Moving Mountains: Reform, Resistance, and Resiliency in an Appalachian Kentucky High School.
Porter, Maureen K.
This dissertation examines how stakeholders in an Appalachian Kentucky high school addressed educational problems that they 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, and the multiple and often conflicting ways in which reform became real in one community's life. Prominent in the local response to KERA was resistance to state-mandated policies. Resistance fueled state threats of punitive action to encourage compliance, 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 school and community, the research examines six interwoven themes 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) respect for the contributions and opinions of less educated stakeholders; (4) use of statistics to legitimize stakeholder interests and authority; (5) sharing or withholding information and effects on the change process; and (6) metaphors of the mountains reflecting strong local connection to place and progeny. Contains 20 references. Appendices include an extensive personal narrative on doing ethnography, sample informed-consent forms, and data collection instruments. (Author/SV)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Kentucky Education Reform Act 1990