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ERIC Number: ED466680
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Apr-1
Pages: 45
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Searching for Empowerment: The Structuration of Decision-Making Groups in Urban Schools.
Showalter, Joseph W.
Pennsylvania's Philadelphia School District implemented an action plan that mandated establishment of small learning communities (SLCs) in all schools. SLCs were intended to increase teacher professionalism and effectiveness by bringing decision making power to the local level. This paper examines how two elementary schools' SLCs implemented decision making using the Comprehensive Support Process (CSP), which was intended to shift responsibility and accountability directly to teachers. Using structuration theory as a conceptual framework, this study investigated factors affecting the empowerment and transformative capacity of participants in the process. Structuration provides a comprehensive paradigm of agency, offering insights into how actors structure their environment through praxis. A structurational perspective conceptualizes organizational structure, power, and legitimacy as produced and reproduced through the agency of participants. The structure of a social system is therefore both its medium and outcome. Data collection involved teacher interviews, observations, and document analysis. Viewed through the duality of structure, results indicated that implementation of the CSP gave teachers little control or choice in their decision making. Teachers often found themselves either asking for permission or using their meeting time to follow procedures rather than make decisions. Consequently, the decision making process was seldom empowering or effective. (Contains 60 references.) (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A