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ERIC Number: ED560116
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Oct
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
In Theory, Yes: How Educators of Educators Discuss the Roles and Responsibilities of Communities in Education
Public Agenda
Some researchers believe that collaboration between schools and community stakeholders--including families, educators, community organizations, and businesses--is the key to improving public education. However, broad and inclusive community-school partnerships are rare. Instead, we frequently hear about friction between communities and their schools. Education leaders complain about disengaged parents, neighborhoods are outraged over the closing of community schools, policymakers vow to hold teachers accountable, and teachers' job satisfaction continues to fall while members of the public lose confidence in public schools. How can communities work together on the challenge of educating children? What roles and responsibilities do different stakeholders play in education, and who can bring those stakeholders to the table? What should educators expect from citizens and communities, and what should citizens and communities expect from their schools? This research sought to better understand barriers and opportunities for citizens and communities to shape their children's education by exploring the perspectives of one influential group of stakeholders: educators of educators. As professionals who train future teachers, principals, and superintendents, educators of educators influence the next generation of professionals who will serve American communities. Educators of educators' views and values can provide important insights into what future educators may or may not think is possible regarding communities' potential to actively engage in children's education and educators' roles in advancing such engagement. In the fall of 2013, Public Agenda conducted six focus groups with a total of 53 faculty members at schools of education in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles. Each group was comprised of tenured and untenured faculty, some of whom had experience as K-12 teachers or principals. Twenty-one interviews were also conducted with various members of educational institutions. This small-scale, exploratory project provides a picture of the complex mix of beliefs about communities and education that educators of educators hold. Key findings include: (1) Inadequate or unfair school funding, increasingly diverse and underprepared students, and what many described as an assault on public education from reformers, politicians, and businesses are considered the greatest challenges facing K-12 education today; (2) Few participants had ever seen schools and communities work together on a common vision for education or to find solutions to local education problems; (3) Nearly all of the interviewees placed schools at the center of the education process and considered schools to be responsible for gaining communities' trust and leveraging their resources; and (4) Participants felt that key features of the accountability movement--standardized testing, school choice, and school closures in particular--have undermined relationships between communities and public schools.
Public Agenda. 6 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016. Tel: 212-686-6610; Fax: 212-889-3461; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Public Agenda; Kettering Foundation
Identifiers - Location: California; District of Columbia; Illinois