ERIC Number: ED424621
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998
How Public Middle Schools Serve Poor Students: An Analysis of Community Need and Perceptions of Principal and Middle School Effectiveness.
Pena, Robert A.
Helping urban principals and schools work effectively requires analyzing the urban school context. Ways in which schools can serve the poor are detailed in this study. The research employed three separate approaches: use of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to identify the primary concerns of residents from three economically depressed urban communities located in a city in the Midwest; exploration of residents' perceptions of efforts by eight middle school principals and school staff to address these concerns; and analysis of the perceptions of middle school personnel to determine how impoverished communities and the needs of poor residents and students were conceptualized and addressed by middle school staff, by school programs, and by activities, respectively. Findings reveal that although most persons rate the nation's public schools as average or below average overall, they rate schools in their communities much higher than they rate the nation's schools. Consistent concerns about family safety, finances, personal property, hope, the belief that others care, perceptions of the principal, and perceptions of middle school staff are described. It is hoped that educators can gain insights about what urban residents value in educational practice and reform and thus adjust teacher and administrator preparation programs accordingly. (Contains 12 references.) (RJM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
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