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Title:Illinois Alliance of Essential Schools: A Qualitative Case Study of an Urban High School's Planning Year
Author(s):Washington, Eddie Lamont
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McGreal, T.,
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Education, Secondary
Abstract:The Coalition of Essential Schools, managed out of Brown University, is a voluntary organization of American secondary schools which promotes school reform along the lines of Nine Common Principles of Essential Schooling established by Theodore Sizer and others. Coalition membership means that each school will eventually integrate the Common Principles in the manner best suited to its needs. The Coalition operates on the principle that effective reform must be a bottom-up, self-generated, individualized process. Membership is predicated on demonstrated commitment to the Common Principles by a school's faculty; and in a mandated Planning year the faculty selects and tailors certain Principles to its school community.
This research is a case study of the Planning Year at "Bergerac" High School in Chicago. The researcher observed all meetings of Bergerac's Steering Committee, related meetings, inservices, and training sessions, and conducted formal and informal interviews with a variety of staff members. The case study is presented as a chronological narrative anchored by the deliberations of the Bergerac Steering Committee. The study's research questions address several dimensions of the year: dynamics of decision-making; selection and interpretation of Principles; function of leadership; kinds and levels of anxiety experienced by the participants; and, the nature of the resulting plan for the implementation of Essential schooling at Bergerac. A basic tenet of the Coalition is that such self-directed, self-generated change produces a feeling of ownership in and commitment to reform. The study asked whether this result had been achieved.
The researcher observed that faculty anxiety regarding reform was high and commitment was low until the faculty had gone through a process of interpreting the Common Principles as a transformation of the school's status quo. Throughout this process the Coalition goal of instilling change throughout the school community was subverted by the faculty's anxiety, resistance, and unpreparedness; and by the failure of leadership of the principal, the school's coordinator and the Coalition-assigned "coach."
The resulting Plan for the implementation of the Principles consisted of a reorganization of the existing tracking system with no genuine attempt to incorporate new pedagogies or to reform traditional ideas of schooling along the lines of the Nine Common Principles.
Issue Date:1993
Description:238 p.
Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9314958
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1993

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