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ERIC Number: EJ796327
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 40
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 68
ISSN: ISSN-0034-527X
On the Margins in a High-Performing High School: Policy and the Struggling Reader
Franzak, Judith K.
Research in the Teaching of English, v42 n4 p466-505 May 2008
This article extends recent work on the consequences of literacy-learning reforms by complicating the notion of "policy." Through a qualitative study in one high school, I explored how policy in its many forms, including the ways it was perceived and misperceived, shaped the literacy learning experiences of marginalized adolescent readers. Employing critical policy analysis, I considered the perceptions of five ninth-grade students who had previously participated in a reading strategies course, four district- and school-site administrators, and four ninth-grade English teachers. Findings suggested that official ("inscribed") policies were immobilized in the focal classrooms; that unwritten understandings (what I call "phantom policies") concerning required canonical texts were powerful influences; that literary study did not ensure that students became better readers; and that policies that emphasized the study of literature (rather than reading strategies) served to further marginalize struggling readers. I argue that because teachers play key roles in constructing and enacting policy at the classroom level, they must be actively enlisted in the formulation and critique of policies affecting their students. (Contains 3 tables, 1 figure and 2 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A