ERIC Number: ED432807
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Democratic Decision Making Theory and Practice in a Public High School: A Call for a Better Understanding.
In this paper the work of democratic theorists is applied to an analysis of democratic decision-making in a public high school. The article opens with a brief description of democratic decision-making as a school-reform strategy. The data for the study were collected in 1998 and 1999 and were based on 52 interviews with teachers, administrators, students, and parents, and 45 observations of decision makers' meetings. The research focused on decision making as an end in itself, rather than as a means to a desired educational outcome, and centered on three questions: What is the appeal of democratic decision-making processes? What sorts of tensions arise from the processes -- what is difficult about democratic decision making? and How are the tensions attended to and/or resolved, if at all? The findings show that democratic theory is useful in explaining the issues that teachers, students, parents, and administrators articulate and reflect the concerns expressed by democratic theorists. The paper highlights the ways in which democratic theory may offer answers that schools involved in democratic decision-making may find useful. It concludes by suggesting that there is a need for researchers to develop an assessment tool that can be used to evaluate democratic decision-making processes. (Contains 44 references.) (RJM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).