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ERIC Number: EJ819645
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Dec
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 193
ISSN: ISSN-1570-0763
The 2006 Willower Family Lecture the Evolving Nature of the American High School: A Punctuated Equilibrium Model of Institutional Change
Murphy, Joseph
Leadership and Policy in Schools, v5 n4 p285-324 Dec 2006
Over the last quarter century, the American high school, like the larger educational industry in which it is embedded, has been subjected to a good deal of critical analysis. Using a longer lens provided by historical research on the development and growth of the American high school as well as an especially robust theory of organizational change ("punctuational thinking" and the punctuated equilibrium theory of organizational change), the author reveals how the evolution of the high school has been punctuated twice since its formative design was established in the 1800s, each time fundamentally recreating one's understanding of secondary education. He also highlights the reality that "structural inertia is a property of all organizational forms." That is, inside the larger chronicle, he conveys how once the environmental pressure for recasting cooled, the new form of the high school entered an extensive period of continuity, inertia, and marginal change, the conditions often glimpsed by frustrated change agents. The author concludes that prevailing views of secondary education as a hopelessly stuck institution are basically wrong. Rather, using the two frames (historical analysis and the punctuated equilibrium theory of organizational evolution) he maintains that the American high school is in the midst of a second major revolution--or "upheaval"--one that promises to overhaul secondary education in the US as dramatically as the first recreation between 1890 and 1920. (Contains 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A