ERIC Number: ED433386
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
How Schools Choose Externally Developed Reform Designs. Report No. 35.
Urban districts around the United States are attempting systemic change by offering schools a "menu" of externally developed school reform designs. Yet, how do faculties who are relatively unfamiliar with the designs choose among them? This question is addressed by analyzing qualitative data collected in the Memphis City Schools (Tennessee), a New American Schools scale-up jurisdiction, within a framework of sociological theory on organizations. Data were collected at six schools, each of which was using a different restructuring design. Interviews were held with principals and with 8 to 10 teachers in each school. Findings show that schools seldom made well-informed, free choices about restructuring designs, even when opportunities to gather information were readily available. Instead, schools' reform choices were characterized by bounded rationality or a desire for legitimacy, and were sometimes governed by normative factors and power relations rather than functional calculations. Implications for how schools and districts can make better choices about reform designs are discussed. An appendix describes the eight restructuring designs used in the Memphis schools in 1996-97. (Contains 39 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk, Baltimore, MD.