Matching Items (8)

155425-Thumbnail Image.png

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

150018-Thumbnail Image.png

I have to go on: the effect of a mother's death on her daughter's education

Description

Parents die during the lives of their children. If the child is an adolescent, that death will impact the student's education immediately or in subsequent years. Findings show the death

Parents die during the lives of their children. If the child is an adolescent, that death will impact the student's education immediately or in subsequent years. Findings show the death of a mother does impact the daughter's education. It is imperative educators are willing to work with the student at the time the death occurs as well as in the ensuing months. Seidman's (2006) three-interview format was used as a template for the interviews of 11 women, ranging in age from 19 to 78 and whose mothers died when the women were adolescents. The interviews were primarily conducted in one sitting, transcribed, and then analyzed for common themes that connected to the research on the topic. Those themes include grieving, the role of caring in education, the role of teacher as the second mother, mother-daughter relationships, and the impact of parent death on schooling. These themes from the data cross cut with thematic strands within the study's theoretical framework: the nurturing and empathetic role of the mother, a desire of the daughter not to be different, and the ethics of caring. Findings in this study reveal that the negative impacts of mother loss are felt in diffuse ways, such as a lack of academic or emotional encouragement. Many women discussed the need and availability of support groups including groups at colleges. One practical implication of these findings is schools need to become caring communities in which caring is the norm for all students and teachers, thereby providing all students with needed support in times of crisis. The implications for further research include the impact of the mother death on the education of daughters, how volunteering with an organization related to the cause of the mother's death assists the daughter and types of programs most important to a student's success in post-secondary education. Adolescents are in a time of great change in their lives, and for a daughter, the loss of a mother has an everlasting, life-changing impact.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

154092-Thumbnail Image.png

A multiplicity of successes: capabilities, refuge, and pathways in contemporary community colleges

Description

Community colleges, like all higher education institutions in the United States, have not been immune to the increased national focus on educational accountability and institutional effectiveness over the past three

Community colleges, like all higher education institutions in the United States, have not been immune to the increased national focus on educational accountability and institutional effectiveness over the past three decades. Federal and non-governmental initiatives aimed at tracking and reporting on institutional outcomes have focused on utilitarian academic and economic measures of student success that homogenize the goals, aspirations, and challenges of the individuals who attend these unique open-access institutions. This dissertation, which is comprised of three submission-ready scholarly peer-reviewed articles, examined community college students’ conceptualizations and valuations of “student success.” The research project was designed as a multiple methods single-site case study, and the data sources consisted of a large-scale student e-survey, follow-up semi-structured interviews with a heterogeneous group of students, semi-structured interviews with faculty and administrators, and a review of institutional documents. The interviews also incorporated two experimental visual elicitation techniques and a participatory ranking exercise. Article One introduces and operationalizes the author’s primary conceptual perspective, the capabilities approach, to develop a more comprehensive framework for understanding and evaluating community college student outcomes. This article documents the methodological process used to generate a theoretical and an empirical list of community college capabilities, which serve as the basis of future capabilities-based research on community college student success. Article Two draws on the student interview and student visual elicitation data to explore the capability category of “refuge” – a new, unexpected, and student-valued purpose of the community college as a safe escape from the complexities and demands of personal, home, and work life. In light of recent efforts to promote more structured and prescriptive college experiences to improve graduation rates, Article Three explores students’ perceptions of their pathways through the community college using the participant-generated and researcher-generated visual elicitation data. Findings indicate that students value the structure and the flexibility community colleges offer, as well as their own ability to be agents and architects of their educational experience. Taken together, these articles suggest that student success is less linear and more rhizomatic in structure than it is currently portrayed in the literature.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

157315-Thumbnail Image.png

Private Costs, Public Benefits: An Analysis of 25 Years of Coverage on Access to Higher Education in Influential U.S. Newspapers

Description

Higher education enrollment and degree attainment rates have increased in the U.S. Yet higher education has remained inaccessible to many. Low- and middle-income students and students from particular

Higher education enrollment and degree attainment rates have increased in the U.S. Yet higher education has remained inaccessible to many. Low- and middle-income students and students from particular racial and ethnic backgrounds enroll and attain degrees at lower rates than their peers. To gain insight into the topic of access to higher education, I used social constructionist, critical, and socio-cognitive perspectives to conduct a descriptive, content, and discourse analysis of 1,242 articles about access to higher education published from 1994-2019 in eight influential U.S. newspapers. I also explored the historical and social context in which this coverage was situated. I found that access to higher education was considered an important topic in the articles I analyzed. I also found that while definitions of access to higher education were varied and often intersected, content related to costs and funding of higher education dominated the coverage. In addition, a tension between public and private benefits of access to higher education emerged in the articles I analyzed, as did a tension between public and private costs of access to higher education. These costs and benefits were often misaglined in coverage. The most salient benefit of access to higher education in the majority of articles was a public benefit, which primarily benefits society. However, a private entity or higher education institution was deemed responsible for covering the costs of access to higher education in the majority of articles. This research could be used to promote more nuanced coverage on access to higher education as well as policies, practices, and additional research that addresses the multiplicity of ways in which disparities in access to higher education are created, sustained, and reproduced.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

151657-Thumbnail Image.png

Is it really up to me?: academic and life tensions for "double first-generation" college students

Description

This study examined the experiences of first-generation college students who were enrolled in online degree programs at a traditional brick-and-mortar university located in the western United States. These students were

This study examined the experiences of first-generation college students who were enrolled in online degree programs at a traditional brick-and-mortar university located in the western United States. These students were viewed as "double first-generation" because they were not only the first in their family to pursue a bachelor's degree, but were also among the first generation in the history of American higher education to pursue public, postsecondary education in an entirely online format. The research was designed as a multiple methods case study that emphasized qualitative methods. Being exploratory in nature, the study focused on participant characteristics and the ways that they responded to and persisted in online degree programs. Data was collected through research that was conducted entirely online; it included an e-survey, two asynchronous focus groups, and individual interviews that were conducted via Skype. Grounded theory served as the primary method for data analysis, while quantitative descriptive statistics contextualized the case. The results of this study provide a window into the micro- and macro-level tensions at play in public, online postsecondary education. The findings indicate that these pioneering and traditionally underserved students drew from their diverse backgrounds to persist toward degree completion, overcoming challenges associated with time and finances, in hopes that their efforts would bring career and social mobility. As one of the first studies to critically examine the case of double first-generation college students, this study extends the literature in meaningful ways to provide valuable insights for policymakers, administrators, faculty, and staff who are involved with this population.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

150804-Thumbnail Image.png

Beginning teachers' production of pedagogical content knowledge: a cultural historical perspective

Description

Few would argue that teacher effectiveness is a key lever in education reform and improving the overall quality of public education, especially in poor and working class communities. To that

Few would argue that teacher effectiveness is a key lever in education reform and improving the overall quality of public education, especially in poor and working class communities. To that end, the importance of supporting and developing beginning teachers is of utmost importance in education, thus requiring deep understandings of the process of learning to teach. Yet, most conceptions of teacher learning struggle to capture the social, cultural, and historical context of teacher learning, particularly in understanding how learning and the production of knowledge is situated, active, and complex. One example of this limitation comes from the field of research on pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and its importance in developing effective beginning teachers. This study characterizes beginning teachers' production of PCK within a cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) framework. This study finds that the teachers produce PCK mostly based on their own individual experiences and reflections, receiving little assistance from the structures intended to provide them with support. The self-produced PCK is uneven, underdeveloped, and relies on teachers to use their sense of agency and identity to navigate dissonant and unbalanced activity systems. Over time, PCK production remains uneven and underdeveloped, while the individual teachers find it more and more difficult to bring balance to their activity systems, ultimately resulting in their exit from the activity system of teaching in their district and school.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

149947-Thumbnail Image.png

Teacher learning within literacy instruction: reflective & refractive considerations on the community, interpersonal, and individual planes

Description

This qualitative study explores the learning experiences of two first-grade teachers in a progressive public elementary school in the southwestern U.S. Participants inquired into their literacy instruction practices within

This qualitative study explores the learning experiences of two first-grade teachers in a progressive public elementary school in the southwestern U.S. Participants inquired into their literacy instruction practices within their reading-workshops. Weekly inquiry group conversations between teachers and researcher informed a perspective of learning as participation. During the semester-long study, two key questions guided design and implementation: 1) What is the nature of teachers' learning experiences related to their literacy instruction practices, contextualized within an inquiry group? 2) How do those learning experiences reflect and/or refract the community, interpersonal, and individual planes of analysis? An ethnographic perspective informed data collection and analysis; data were collected through weekly inquiry-group conversations, bi-weekly classroom observations, and in-depth interviews. A learning framework of community, interpersonal, and individual planes of analysis served as an analytic tool used in conjunction with a modified analytic induction. Teachers' case studies offer unique accounts of their learning, contextualized within their specific classrooms. Findings are discussed through narrative-based vignettes, which illustrate teachers' learning trajectories. On the community plane, apprenticeship relationships were evident in teachers' interactions with students' parents and with one another. Interpersonal interactions between teachers demonstrated patterns of participation wherein each tried to teach the other as they negotiated their professional identities. Analysis of the individual plane revealed that teachers' past experiences and personal identities contributed to ways of participation for both teachers that were highly personal and unique to each. Affective considerations in learning were a significant finding within this study, adding dimensionality to this particular sociocultural theory of learning. The ways teachers felt about themselves, their students, their community, and their work constituted a significant influence on what they said and did, as demonstrated on all three planes of analysis. Implications for practice include the significance of professional development efforts that begin at the site of teachers' questions, and attention to teachers' individual learning trajectories as a means to supporting educators to teach in more confident and connected ways.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011