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ERIC Number: ED557483
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 201
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3039-6443-5
Exploring Support for the Extracurriculum in a Time of Fiscal Constraint and Standards-Based Reform: A Case Study of One Pennsylvania School District
Murphy, Mark Patrick
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
Although much has been researched and written about the value of extracurricular programs in U.S. public schools, few studies have addressed the combined effect that school reform initiatives, including myriad standardized tests, accountability measures, and massive financial crisis which have become more commonplace during periods of economic recession, have had on the extracurriculum. This study sought to document what has happened to extracurricular programs during such periods. In this research, the case study method was chosen to address this topic. A typical school district in Pennsylvania characterized by an average pupil population, reasonable expenditures per pupil, and mixed results in both curricular and extracurricular affairs was selected for examination. The study sought to identify and explain what was happening to student activities, co-curricular programs such as band, choir, and vocational education, and organized scholastic athletic programs during an unprecedented era of reform. Further, the study identified processes being used by school officials to evaluate the value assigned to and support for these programs and documented those involved in the decision-making process. Finally, the study also addressed whether or not the final actions of the school district were supported by the school community and if the stakeholders of the school district were given a voice in the decision-making process. The study concluded that while a formal process was devised and used by the district in evaluating its expenses and trimming a $1 million-plus deficit in the operating budget, the agreed-upon model was of limited practical use during the period of actual budget reductions. More importantly, the study argued that while many school districts choose to limit extracurricular programs as a cost-saving measure, the practice is both counterintuitive and counterproductive. Several poignant examples of program reductions and eliminations from within the district are juxtaposed with the available literature on extracurricular programs. Important narratives taken from interview data reveal significant insights into the decision-making process and roles of key decision-makers. The findings suggest that influential leaders and key school administrators are the most important figures in the decision-making process; community members expect them to identify and provide the best possible solutions for the district. This study's final conclusion, which is that a system of schooling void of extra- and co-curricular programs holds a narrow view of modern education, provides the foundation for the implications of the findings and for suggestions for further research. [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: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania