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ERIC Number: ED549202
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 187
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-9123-0
Leadership of Civic Learning: A Multiple Case Study of Two Middle Schools
Molnar-Main, Stacie A.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
The nationwide focus on standardized testing, as outlined in the No Child Left Behind Legislation (NCLB, 2003), has prompted many public schools to focus their instruction on preparing students for high-stakes tests in literacy, math and science. While NCLB may be lauded for its intent to ameliorate achievement inequities among subgroups of students, the disproportionate focus on a narrow range of curricular outcomes has had the effect of marginalizing some forms of learning. This is particularly evident within schools that are under significant pressure to perform on standardized tests. One area of the public school curriculum that is neglected by federal legislative mandates is civic learning. Defined as the product of formal and informal educational experiences that support students' cognitive and behavioral development in service of democratic citizenship, manifestations of civic learning are closely linked to conceptions of the civic mission of public education. The present study explored the intersections between educational leadership and civic learning in order to understand ways in which formal and informal leaders are working to advance this area of the public school curriculum in the context of NCLB. Using a multiple case study design, the research investigated how educational leadership was enacted in two middle schools that were simultaneously working to address achievement gaps and provide rich civic learning opportunities to students. The study was framed by four research questions and analysis was informed by two analytic constructs, adaptive work and distributed leadership. The research questions were: 1) Who engages in leadership of civic learning in two Pennsylvania schools acting to advance the Civic Mission of Schools (CMS) recommendations and how is that leadership enacted?; 2) How is civic learning understood and described by key educational leaders within these contexts?; 3) What challenges and opportunities are confronted as educators work to advance the CMS recommendations?; and 4) How do these leaders deal with these challenges and opportunities within their contexts? Case analyses revealed the types of distributed leadership networks and activities that supported civic learning in each school. Results of cross-case analyses underscored the role of formal and informal leaders in creating conditions for distributed leadership of marginalized curricular areas. Finally, results of the study demonstrated how dynamic interactions between schools and communities support the advancement of particular approaches to civic learning and its leadership. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001