ERIC Number: ED412635
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Parents' Participation and Chicago School Reform: Issues of Race, Class and Expectations.
Rollow, Sharon G.; Bennett, Michael
Most studies of the early implementation of Chicago (Illinois) school reform have focused on the creation and early functioning of the Local School Councils (LSCs). This study is concerned with understanding the resources that different school communities have to embrace the LSC reform, the time frame needed to promote educational change, and the patterns of school micropolitics LSCs stimulate. Case study analysis of one poor, racially isolated elementary school in an African-American community is used to explore these issues. The intricate patterns of relationships among parents and community members on the LSCs and between the LSCs and the school principal were studied for over 5 years, from the first LSC in 1989-90. When reform was first passed, the school was characterized as a patriarchal family with the principal firmly in charge, a situation that was acceptable to all aspects of the school community, but one that was in conflict with the active decision making for parents supported by at least some of Chicago's reform advocates. Tracing the actions of the LSCs through the first three elected councils does not indicate that parents ever wanted, much less assumed, a strong governance role or much influence in educational issues. However, the LSC was effective in solving school-based problems such as building-security issues and the adequacy of the lunchroom food. The LSC also became a vehicle that allowed some parents to develop civic participation skills. By the third LSC, parents were strategizing with the principal to get things done. Key to understanding events at this school was understanding the actions of the principal, whose effectiveness was based on mutual trust and caring with the school community. His leadership was good for the school, although it was not clear that it would promote educational reforms in the future. (Contains 52 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Administrator Attitudes, Black Students, Case Studies, Community Involvement, Educational Administration, Educational Change, Elementary Education, Expectation, Instructional Leadership, Parent Participation, Participative Decision Making, Principals, Racial Differences, School Based Management, School Councils, School Restructuring, Social Class, Urban Schools
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, Madison, WI.; Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Madison.