A description of restructuring in nationally nominated schools : legacy of the iron cage?

by Mark Berends, M. Bruce King

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The rhetoric of restructuring reforms overshadows what we really know about restructured schools. Analyzing data from a nominated sample of restructured schools, this article proposes some relevant dimensions and criteria of restructured schools, and it describes how focused and comprehensive restructuring is in them. For the proposed themes or dimensions of restructured schools--student experiences, professional lives of teachers, governance, and community coordination--schools tended to meet more restructuring criteria in the areas of students and teachers. Significantly fewer nominated schools were restructured in governance and community coordination. Schools tended to be more focused in their restructuring efforts in the areas of teacher professional life and community coordination than in the areas of student experiences and governance. Only 18% (29 of 159) of the schools were comprehensively restructured. If this sample is representative of restructured schools in the United States, restructuring may be much less prevalent than the reform rhetoric suggests.

Originally published in: Educational Policy, v. 8, no. 1, March 1994, pp. 28-50.

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