Matching Items (10)

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Searching for Superman: The Role of Language in the Corporate Education Reform Movement

Description

This thesis examines media rhetoric promoting neoliberal education reform, including the advancement of school-choice systems and movements towards privatization. Films like Waiting for Superman and Won't Back Down have ushered

This thesis examines media rhetoric promoting neoliberal education reform, including the advancement of school-choice systems and movements towards privatization. Films like Waiting for Superman and Won't Back Down have ushered in new, markedly "progressive" narratives that show neoliberal reform as both a model for a consumer-led culture in education and as a path towards educational equity, a goal typically associated with public schools promoted as a public interest.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Arizona's mature education market: how school and community stakeholders make meaning of school choice policies

Description

School choice reforms such as charter schools, vouchers, open enrollment, and private and public school tax credit donation programs have expanded throughout the United States over the past twenty years.

School choice reforms such as charter schools, vouchers, open enrollment, and private and public school tax credit donation programs have expanded throughout the United States over the past twenty years. Arizona’s long-standing public school choice system enrolls a higher percentage of public school students in charter schools than any state besides Washington D.C. A growing number of Arizona’s charter schools are managed by for-profit and nonprofit Education Management Organizations (EMOs). Advocates of school choice argue that free-market education approaches will make public schools competitive and nimble as parents’ choices place pressures on schools to improve or close. This, then, improves all schools: public, private, and charter. Critics are concerned that education markets produce segregation along racial and social class lines and inequalities in educational opportunities, because competition favors advantaged parents and children who can access resources. Private and for-profit schools may see it in their interest to exclude students who require more support. School choice programs, then, may further marginalize students who live in poverty, who receive special education services, and English language learners.

We do not fully understand how Arizona’s mature school choice system affects parents and other stakeholders in communities “on the ground.” That is, how are school policies understood and acted out? I used ethnographic methods to document and analyze the social, cultural, and political contexts and perspectives of stakeholders at one district public school and in its surrounding community, including its charter schools. I examined: (a) how stakeholders perceived and engaged with schools; (b) how stakeholders understood school policies, including school choice policies; and (c) what influenced families’ choices.

Findings highlight how most stakeholders supported district public schools. At the same time, some “walked the line” between choices that were good for their individual families and those they believed were good for public schools and society. Stakeholders imagined “community” and “accountability” in a range of ways, and they did not all have equal access to policy knowledge. Pressures related to parental accountability in the education market were apparent as stakeholders struggled to make, and sometimes revisit, their choices, creating a tenuous schooling environment for their families.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Schooling gender: identity construction in high school

Description

For many adolescents, high school is a critical period of self-awareness, peer-influence, and identity construction. During this volatile period, young people explore how to express themselves in ways that range

For many adolescents, high school is a critical period of self-awareness, peer-influence, and identity construction. During this volatile period, young people explore how to express themselves in ways that range from conformity to non-conformity and transgression. This is particularly true when it comes to young people's understanding and expression of gender identity. For some youth, their personal form(s) of gender expression align neatly with social expectations; for others, it does not. When gender expression does not align with social expectations, students may be vulnerable to bullying or harassment by peers or adults. Often, youth who are policed and regulated by their classmates through bullying (or harassment, depending upon the relevant or implemented policy) are targeted based on their perceived identity, be that racial, ethnic, citizenship, or, most frequently, gender and sexuality. This project advances the need for research done from a critical youth studies perspective (both methodologically and ethically) and provides new insight into the types of language and practices used by youth to express, perform and "do" gender. Utilizing qualitative methodology, including participant observation, focus group and individual interviews, surveys, and the collection and content analysis of school ephemera, this research investigated how high school students navigate gender identity amidst other intersecting identities. This project examined how youth both "do" and "perform" gender in their everyday lives as high school students. Their gender identity is frequently understood amidst other intersecting identities, particularly sexual orientation, religion and race. These youth also pointed to several important influences in how they understand their own gender, and the gender identity of those around them, including media and peer groups. Because this research took place at two charter art schools, the findings also provided a framework for understanding how these two schools, and charter art schools more generally, provide alternative spaces for young people to experiment and play with their identity construction. Findings indicate that youth are forced to navigate and construct their gender identity amidst many conflicting and contradictory ideologies. Schools, media, and peer groups all heavily influence the way young people understand themselves.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Intergroup contact: Arizona school district and charter school leaders

Description

Arizona’s district and charter communities have a history of conflict, including working against each other when advocating policy positions at the state legislature. The purpose of this research was to

Arizona’s district and charter communities have a history of conflict, including working against each other when advocating policy positions at the state legislature. The purpose of this research was to improve the relationship between the district and charter communities through an intervention based on intergroup contact theory. Through her personal network, the researcher formed and facilitated the Arizona Initiative for Public Education Dialogue (AZ iPED), comprised of eight district superintendents and charter leaders. This mixed-methods, action research study explored what happened when Arizona school district superintendents and charter school leaders were brought through intergroup contact to discuss potential policies they could jointly support. This study addressed the following three research questions: To what extent does intergroup contact increase allophilia (positive attitudes) between Arizona school district and charter school leaders? In what ways do participants voice allophilia during in-group dialogue? How do school district superintendents and charter school leaders socially construct and negotiate narratives that support the conflict between their two communities? The members of AZ iPED met four times from October through December, 2016. Allophilia (positive feelings toward the outgroup) data included an Allophilia Scale administered at the beginning and end of the study and transcripts of first and second in-group district and charter focus groups. Results are reported through descriptive statistics, Wilcoxon signed ranks of matched samples, and content analysis. Findings indicated a non-statistically significant increase in allophilia. Content analysis also indicated increases in the quantity and quality of allophilia talk. Narrative analysis of conflict talk generated the four following themes: competition sets the stage for conflict, actions construct conflict, perceptions sustain conflict, and conflict causes feelings. Those themes provided structure for compiling a collective District Narrative and collective Charter Narrative, which were further analyzed through the lens of conflict-sustaining collective narratives. Narrative analysis of select portions of the transcript suggested processes through which conflict-sustaining narratives were constructed and negotiated during intergroup contact.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Neoliberal Dis/Investments at a Charter School Teaching the Whole Child

Description

There has been a robust and ongoing investment in demystifying the discursive and material conditions of neoliberalism. Scholars in communication have done much work to explore the various rhetorical effects

There has been a robust and ongoing investment in demystifying the discursive and material conditions of neoliberalism. Scholars in communication have done much work to explore the various rhetorical effects and processes of neoliberal discourses and practices. Many of these case studies have tethered their concerns of neoliberalism to the conceptualization of the public sphere. However, most of this research rests on the absence of those that try to “make do.” By privileging rhetoric after the fact, such studies tend to provide more agency to ideology than everyday bodies that engage in their own rhetorical judgments and discernments. In addition, scholarship across the board tends to treat neoliberalism as something dangerously and uniquely new. This framing effectively serves to ignore the longer history of liberalism and liberal thought that paved the path of neoliberalism the United States is now on.

With these two broad concerns in mind, this study centers a case study of a charter school in South Phoenix to focus on the vernacular rhetorics of those on the ground. Guided by public sphere theory, critical race theory, and intersectionality, I take up rhetorical field methods to explore how those involved with this charter school navigate and make sense of school choice and charter schools in the age of neoliberalism. Within this context, field methods permit me to locate the various discourses, practices, and material constraints that shape running, being educated at, and selecting a charter school. These various rhetorical practices brought to the forefront an interest and concern with the school’s whole child approach as it is rooted within Stephen Covey’s (1989) seven habits. Additional qualitative data analysis brings about two new concepts of neoliberal scapegoating and dialectical vernacular complicity. Finally, I discuss the implications of these findings as they speak to how rhetorical field methods, supported by intersectionality and critical race theory, invites critics to center more agency on people rather than ideas, and how that makes for a more complicated and nuanced neoliberal reality and modes of resistance.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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The framing of community in high school guiding statements: a comparative analysis of traditional public schools and charter schools

Description

This study describes how the concept of “community” is framed in traditional public and charter high school guiding statements and interviews with school leaders. Guiding statements from public high

This study describes how the concept of “community” is framed in traditional public and charter high school guiding statements and interviews with school leaders. Guiding statements from public high schools in Arizona were analyzed and interviews were conducted with principals from traditional public schools and charter school principals. The findings suggested similarities between traditional public high schools and charter high schools in their framing of the concept of community, suggesting that schools are loosely coupled to state and federal education departments in particular, and to varying degrees at the district level: The guiding statements and high school leaders generally distinguished between the “school as community” frame inside the school and the “the local community” frame focused on the community outside of the school. Both traditional public high schools and charter schools emphasized the importance of both frames and their connections with “the local community.” Differences between traditional public schools and charter schools were observed, as schools appeared to attempt to legitimize themselves in different ways to the communities they are located in. Despite open enrollment policies leading to inter-district enrollment, traditional public schools have a mandate to primarily serve students from a specific area and were framed in the guiding statements and by school leaders as being part of and serving a geographically defined community that they have close ties to, the “school as a member of community” frame. Charter schools, on the other hand, focused on creating and serving a specific educational community characterized by shared interests, ideals, and expectations (‘school as community”) and contributing to the community that the school is located in (“school as a contributor to community”).

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Hispanic parent participation: practices in charter schools

Description

This Qualitative Grounded Theory study is based upon interviews with charter school administrators, teachers and Hispanic parents to gather their perspectives on what practices encourage and elevate the participation of

This Qualitative Grounded Theory study is based upon interviews with charter school administrators, teachers and Hispanic parents to gather their perspectives on what practices encourage and elevate the participation of Hispanic parents in schools. There were three Guiding Questions utilized: 1) What culturally compatible methods are utilized in order to attract Hispanic parents to choose the particular charter school? 2) What culturally compatible methods does the charter school administration utilize to encourage Hispanic parental involvement in their child's education? 3) What are the benefits of greater Hispanic parent participation for children at these charter schools. Hypotheses were generated from the interviews base upon literature review. For Guiding Queston #1 there were five hypotheses based on a. Personal Interactions/Relationships, b. Environment, c. Language accommodations, d. Communication, e. Family Services. For Guiding Question #2, there were two hypotheses based on: a. Staff experience with Hispanic community and b. Leadership building. For Guiding Question #3, there were three hypotheses based on a. Home/School Partnerships, b. Academics, and c. Physical Presence.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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ONYX (Oohoo'aah, Na'nitin Yee nooseel Xploria): a proposal for an innovative school for Navajo children

Description

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to describe a new school model for Dine (Navajo) learners where Dine students will experience how to apply knowledge and skills personally, meaningfully, and

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to describe a new school model for Dine (Navajo) learners where Dine students will experience how to apply knowledge and skills personally, meaningfully, and socially relevant to life situations through the medium of Dine language and culture maintenance. This study explored a new way to perpetuate Dine (Navajo) culture and language through a model referred to as M.A.T.S. (Mathematics, Arts, Technology, Science, the renaming of STEM and STEAM). Oohoo’aah, Na’nitin Yee nooseel Xploria, which translates to a Center for Learning, acquiring knowledge and growing through a Navajo approach to exploration) is a public charter school serving students in grades K-3. As a public charter school ONYX is to serve all of Jeddito Community, with 98% ratio of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. ONYX will employ dedicated educators and community members with excellent work ethics who are committed to closing the achievement gap, while promoting a creative outlook on the world around them. Students will leave ONYX School with skills in Navajo Language and Culture with a foundation in M.A.T.S. ONYX School’s educational program will be driven by a belief that all learning will be academically rigorous with a well-designed curriculum to students in becoming lifelong explorers of learning and productive members of society. This will allow ONYX to stay true to the mission to promote K’e (relationship in Navajo Culture), respect for self, others, and environment, most importantly to use natural/traditional scientific skills passed on through Navajo culture. In the learning environment, there will be constant and continuous communication among administrators, teachers, parents, and community leaders. This form of instruction is also transferable to learning how to read and write in Navajo. The program will allow for students to use hands on approach with inquiry based learning with a foundation in Navajo traditional/scientific approach to learning.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Entrepreneurship and business performance indicators as determinants of Arizona charter schools quality

Description

This dissertation focuses on entrepreneurial and business performance indicators as determinants of Arizona charter schools' quality. The study utilizes a mixed-method inquiry with focus on qualitative research, exploration, and implementation

This dissertation focuses on entrepreneurial and business performance indicators as determinants of Arizona charter schools' quality. The study utilizes a mixed-method inquiry with focus on qualitative research, exploration, and implementation studies. It draws data from surveys with charter operators performed by Education Team Partners (ETP). All survey results are drawn from the ETP database. The study reviews the genesis and evolution of charter schools. It reviews the social agreement within the context of public policy analysis, and the public-private partnership nature within the context of entrepreneurship and business management. It attempts to develop a research-based foundation for future action research to complement the newly introduced performance management plan (PMP) measurement and evaluation system in Arizona. The research includes four group indicators for measuring charter schools' business productivity and performance. They are studied in relation to three groups of indicators for measuring charter schools' quality. The case studies include two existing and two future charter schools. Study results indicate that all participating charter operators confirm the significance of the liquidity ratio in relation to any aspect of charter school quality covered in this study. The participants indicated a strong relationship between the capacities of their schools to utilize external resources and all indicators of charter school quality. This study draws two important conclusions. First, charter schools are business organizations, despite the fact that they receive public funds. Operationally, they differ substantially from district schools and government agencies and depend on market forces. Second, charter schools cannot survive inefficient management practices, as market forces tend to drive them out of business, regardless of academic success and student achievement levels. The intended implications from this study include: first, increased awareness about the importance of understanding business indicators in relation to charter school quality; second, the need for more research associated with the business and finance components of charter schools. As the body of collective knowledge about charter schools expands, the relationship between various business indicators to measures of quality should be routinely studied within larger populations, which may allow for an improved measurement system and applications of advanced statistical methods.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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The most common school choice: student reenrollment and its associated factors

Description

This dissertation is based on an empirical study that focused on student reenrollment, an essential but largely overlooked element of school choice policies. Based on the school choice literature, I

This dissertation is based on an empirical study that focused on student reenrollment, an essential but largely overlooked element of school choice policies. Based on the school choice literature, I extended the hypothesis of parental charter school choice to the subject of reenrollment. In doing so, I referred jointly to theories from the fields of public choice and business, in order to better understand student reenrollment in a maturing education market. By tracking student enrollment records over multiples years and linking them to school attributes (socio-economic status, racial/ethnic composition of the student body, school quality label), student demographics, and student academic performance, I established a complex student reenrollment database. I applied a rigorous statistical model to this data, allowing me to identify a number of important insights about student reenrollment in a maturing education market. I described the reenrollment patterns at the state level, as well as a predictive model of reenrollment outcome at the individual level. My analyses indicate that student reenrollment was the most common school choice outcome: most students reenrolled in their present schools, regardless of that school's quality label; however, the student reenrollment rates in charter schools were lower than those in traditional public schools. I observed patterns of segregation in student reenrollment within Arizona, as reenrollment appeared to be significantly polarized with respect to school attributes and students' characteristics. There were two distinct patterns that appeared to coexist in Arizona's student reenrollment data: quality-oriented reenrollment and similarity-oriented reenrollment. The findings of this study extend the school choice literature to include student reenrollment. This study challenges the application of market metaphors in the context of school choice, which generally advocate the reform of public schools through encouraging students to switch, promoting school competition and thereby improving public education quality. Instead of using command and control policies to shame schools into improvement, however, policymakers and parents should employ school accountability policies and the practice of school labeling as a trigger to reinvest in struggling schools, rather than encouraging students to find a new one.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012