ERIC Number: EJ1021007
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Strengthening Partnerships: How Communication and Collaboration Contribute to School Improvement
Rubinstein, Saul A.
American Educator, v37 n4 p22-28 Win 2013-2014
For most of the past decade, this author has studied union-management efforts to improve public education, and has witnessed extraordinary examples of teachers, union leaders, and administrators working together to improve teaching and learning. In this article, seven case studies on collaborative partnerships between teachers' unions and administrators from districts located across the country and a mix of urban, rural, large and small schools are analyzed. He identifies themes and patterns common to all these districts: (1) Motivation for initiating collaboration; (2) Strategic priorities for improvement; (3) Supportive system infrastructures; and (4) Sustaining characteristics. Rubenstein then reports on the partnership attitude and climate survey data from the California Academic Performance Index (API), and social network analysis. The API includes standardized test results in math, English, social studies, and science, as well as graduation and dropout rates. Social network analysis explores who teachers and administrators communicated with on a regular basis, how they communicated, and what topics they discussed. When the data analyses were completed, the relationship of school-level partnerships (based on the partnership survey) with school-level collaboration (based on the network survey), Rubenstein found that those schools with the strongest partnerships also had the highest levels (density) of teacher-to-teacher communication, meaning that more teachers discussed student performance data, curriculum, articulation, instructional practice, and mentoring with one another in stronger-partnership schools than in weaker-partnership schools. The author concludes with recommendations for policymakers to implement in order to improve collaborative reform efforts. These partnerships take work and are difficult to sustain, but once a culture and system of collaboration is institutionalized, great results do emerge.
Descriptors: Unions, Labor Relations, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Motivation, Cooperation, Educational Administration, Partnerships in Education, Interprofessional Relationship, Interpersonal Communication, Mentors, Participative Decision Making, Problem Solving, Academic Achievement, Teachers, Principals
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.aft.org/newspubs/periodicals/ae
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A