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ERIC Number: ED564421
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 100
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 116
Laboratories of Reform? Human Resource Management Strategies in Illinois Charter Schools. Policy Research: IERC 2016-1
White, Bradford R.
Illinois Education Research Council
Charter schools are publicly-funded educational entities that operate independently from local school districts and are exempt from certain state and local requirements, particularly with regard to teacher personnel policy. In exchange for this flexibility, charter schools are held more accountable for results and may be shut down if they fail to meet the expectations described in their performance contract (or charter). The degree to which charter schools have leveraged both flexibility and competition for successful innovation has been the subject of much debate. The aim of this study is to investigate the human resource (HR) management policies and practices in Illinois charter schools. Many recent education policy initiatives at the federal-, state-, district-, and school-levels have zeroed in on human resource management reforms as a route to strengthen the learning climate by bolstering teacher effectiveness, and, in turn, improve student achievement. The theory of action undergirding these reforms is that by implementing more research-based, efficient, and strategic HR policies, schools will be able to recruit more talented teachers, support and improve the performance of the teachers in their buildings, and retain and reward their most effective educators. Because charter schools are granted additional flexibility in many areas of HR management, and because evidence suggests that many charter schools are exercising this flexibility, the charter school sector presents a promising venue to test this theory of action. To do this, the author begins by reviewing existing research on charter school teachers and human resource management in education. Next, he conducted surveys and interviews with Illinois charter school leaders to document the strategies they use to attract, develop, and retain high quality teachers, and use descriptive statistics and examples from practice to present these findings and highlight trends across differently-situated charter schools. He then analyzed these responses to discern overarching themes in these practices across schools and HR functions. Finally, the author examines the relationships between distinct sets of HR management practices and school outcomes which the theory suggests ought to be affected--teacher retention, school climate, and student achievement. It is the hope that these analyses will demonstrate the degree to which Illinois charter schools are leveraging the flexibility allowed by the state's charter law to drive more strategic management of their human resources and yield findings about the effects of HR practices that can help guide personnel policies in both the charter and non-charter school sectors, where appropriate. The following are appended: (1) Phone Interview Protocols; (2) Online Survey; and (3) HR Practices by School Characteristics.
Illinois Education Research Council. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Campus Box 1064, Edwardsville, IL 62026. Tel: 866-799-4372; Tel: 618-650-2840; Fax: 618-650-2425; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Joyce Foundation
Authoring Institution: Southern Illinois University, Illinois Education Research Council
Identifiers - Location: Illinois