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ERIC Number: ED485889
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Apr
Pages: 63
Abstractor: ERIC
From Bystander to Ally: Transforming the District Human Resources Department
Campbell, Christine; DeArmond, Michael; Schumwinger, Abigail
Center on Reinventing Public Education
Although policymakers and academics tend to overlook the behind-the-scenes role that district human resources (HR) departments play in education, the HR office's effect is far from small. HR departments determine whether qualified teacher candidates make it to the classroom, or slip through the cracks. They can help principals find teachers who meet their school's particular needs, or they can offer only perfunctory administrative support during the hiring process. The old adage that "the devil is in the details" is as true in school reform as it is elsewhere. One of the important details is the back-office support provided by district human resource offices. This report sheds some light on how today's school districts are rethinking this critical district function. It provides an introductory look at the issues surrounding HR reform by considering three districts that are actively engaged in reshaping their HR offices: Houston Independent School District, Milwaukee Public Schools, and San Diego City Schools. To varying degree, each of these districts was in transition from a bureaucratic to a more performance-oriented approach to education, and had found that its HR office was not providing schools with the support they needed. Based on 49 interviews with district and school personnel during the 2002-03 school year, the report's aim is to identify some key issues that leaders in districts elsewhere can use to begin thinking about how they might make their HR office more efficient or effective. Conclusions about the overall impact of HR reforms on teacher quality or school improvement as well as other broad generalizations about school reform and HR, however, are beyond the study's scope. One of the report's central conclusions is that transforming the district HR function requires a combination of two things: administrative reforms to increase the department's capacity and close attention from district leaders. Appended are: (1) Methods; (2) The Three Districts in 2001-02; and (3) Acknowledgments. [Report funded by a grant from The Wallace Foundation.]
Center on Reinventing Public Education. University of Washington Bothell Box 358200, Seattle, WA 98195. Tel: 206-685-2214; Fax: 206-221-7402; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Washington Univ., Seattle. Center on Reinventing Public Education.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A