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ERIC Number: ED410072
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar-15
Pages: 30
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Advocacy and Ideology: Confrontation in a Rural School District.
McKerrow, Kelly
This paper presents a critical qualitative account and analysis of resistance and contestation over the decision-making process in a special education program. The parties involved were four parent advocates, who formed an advocacy organization, and the school administration in a rural school district in the Midwest. A subtle but powerful bias against rural parents by educators and an accompanying "urban bias" to most educational research frame the context in which this detrimental process took place. How these groups used the elements of cultural capital (income and material resources, work and competence, confidence, and networks) in their efforts to achieve domination is examined. The organizational reaction of "cooling out the mark" (consoling or placating advocates in such a way that the structural inevitability of their failure is concealed from them) provides an additional dimension for understanding how such organizations exclude outsider input. None of the administrative or advocacy activities resulted in legitimate shared decision making as intended by law. Both groups used hegemonic cultural assumptions to justify the build-up of capital to limit the other group's domination of the process. This focus on "winning" and allegiance to a dysfunctional organizational ideology usurped genuine attempts to make decisions that were mutually shared by the administration and parent advocates. If the issues that face special education are precursors to issues of restructuring, this case should serve as an example, albeit a bad one. It exposes the futility of pursuing organizational strategies that are antithetical to shared decision making and ultimately, restructuring. Contains 35 references. (TD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A