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ERIC Number: ED551116
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 317
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-3544-7
Navigating the Language and Demands of School Leadership in an Age of High-Stakes Accountability: A Case Study of High School Principals
Bonasera, Mark
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, New York University
Today's public school principals lead under conditions of significant pressures for change. At the local level, principals are the primary receivers and interpreters of the discourses and demands for change coming from central administration. Principals must make sense of these discourses and demands for change at the local school level, and they must decide how they will respond to these demands in their own practice and in their work with teachers. The purpose of this interpretive case study was to examine the language of reform that the New York City Department of Education is using to shape the practices of principals and teachers at the local school level and to see how these demands are shaping what principals think and do as local school leaders. Data were collected over a period of two years using in-depth personal interviews with school principals, visiting school sites, and analyzing internal documents exchanged between the DOE and school principals. This study reveals that these principals struggle to make sense of the many demands placed on them by the DOE. They feel conflicted about spending too much time doing things that satisfy the DOE, but do not address the real needs of the students they serve. They must continually decide how they will use, modify, or reject the language and demands of the DOE, and they often feel torn between meeting those demands or doing the more important and satisfying aspects of their job. This problem is magnified by the fact that the NYC DOE relies almost entirely upon written communication to impose reform and assess change. Therefore, these principals spend large portions of each day managing DOE demands on-line and completing what they see as futile and often duplicative paperwork. As a result, all of these principals are deeply conflicted about continuing their work as school principals. [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: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York