Let's see a show of hands: How participation in school reform affects teachers' work

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Title: Let's see a show of hands: How participation in school reform affects teachers' work
Author: Olszewski, Brandon Troy, 1978-
Abstract: Arguably, the most popular current in school reform today is around "small schools". Small schools reforms are predicated on a body of research that suggests students learn better in smaller schools--or, schools of about 400 students or less--rather than large, "comprehensive" high schools. While existing studies of these reforms highlight the benefits for students and the challenges associated with school restructuring, they avoid a frank discussion of how school change affects teachers. Further, these studies fail to address how the politics of change affect prospects for sustainable success. This project redirects the focus of school reform research back towards teachers' work and the importance of democratic teacher participation via an examination of the Oregon Small Schools Initiative, an Oregon-based small schools reform. Using original survey and interview data, I examine how the politics of reform mediate the effects of school conversion on teachers' work. My data suggest that teachers from schools that engaged in a democratic change process fared better than their peers from schools where change was implemented in a more authoritarian fashion. I found that the relationship between politics and work is largely based on that fact that, in democratic schools, teachers had more power and voice regarding school conversion, and school administrators were more likely to listen to and incorporate teachers' feedback into the restructuring process. By viewing teacher criticism as constructive input--as opposed to simply "resistance"--personnel from democratic schools were better able to decide upon a locally appropriate model of reform that fit the needs of both their teachers and students.
Description: xv, 224 p. : ill. A print copy of this thesis is available through the UO Libraries. Search the library catalog for the location and call number.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/10366
Date: 2009-06


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