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Does School Participatory Budgeting Increase Students’ Political Efficacy? Bandura’s “Sources,” Civic Pedagogy, and Education for Democracy

Does School Participatory Budgeting Increase Students’ Political Efficacy? Bandura’s “Sources,” Civic Pedagogy, and Education for Democracy

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Does school participatory budgeting (SPB) increase students’ political efficacy? SPB, which is implemented in thousands of schools around the world, is a democratic process of deliberation and decision-making in which students determine how to spend a portion of the school’s

Does school participatory budgeting (SPB) increase students’ political efficacy? SPB, which is implemented in thousands of schools around the world, is a democratic process of deliberation and decision-making in which students determine how to spend a portion of the school’s budget. We examined the impact of SPB on political efficacy in one middle school in Arizona. Our participants’ (n = 28) responses on survey items designed to measure self-perceived growth in political efficacy indicated a large effect size (Cohen’s d = 1.46), suggesting that SPB is an effective approach to civic pedagogy, with promising prospects for developing students’ political efficacy.

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2021-05-01

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Accomplishments and challenges of the round three federal empowerment zone program

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The Empowerment Zones were created in 1993 under Clinton's administration, demonstrating a commitment to solving tough socio-economic problems in distressed communities. The main objective associated with this program was economic recovery of distressed communities by creating jobs and providing various

The Empowerment Zones were created in 1993 under Clinton's administration, demonstrating a commitment to solving tough socio-economic problems in distressed communities. The main objective associated with this program was economic recovery of distressed communities by creating jobs and providing various services to the indigenous populations. The designation of the Empowerment Zones went in three rounds (1994, 1998, and 2001), and although the types and amounts of federal incentives varied across rounds, the four principles around which the program originated remain unchanged: strategic vision for change, community based partnerships, economic opportunity, and sustainable community development. Since its inception, the Empowerment Zones program has been implemented in 30 urban and 10 rural communities in 27 states across the U.S. Two central questions lead the research of this dissertation project: 1) What have been the main accomplishments of the round three federal Empowerment Zones program in Tucson? 2) What have been the main challenges of the round three federal Empowerment Zones program in Tucson? By using a case study research design and various techniques for data collection and analysis (including the program package Atlas.ti), this study examined the accomplishments and the challenges associated with the round three designated Empowerment Zone in Tucson. Evidence was collected from multiple sources, including 24 interviews, over 60 local newspaper articles, relevant documentation, annual performance reports, and other sources. The analysis reveals that the program's implementation in Tucson was strong in the beginning, but after two years, the earlier success started to fade quickly. The shortcomings of program design became evident during the implementation phase and further in the inability of the administration to collect relevant data to demonstrate the program's success. The consequences of the inability to provide data for program evaluation influenced the enthusiasm of the administrators and program partners, and weakened the political support. The reduction in the grant component contributed to overemphasis of the business development component thereby ignoring most community development aspects essential for the success of the program in Tucson. This study did not find evidence for the claim that round three of the empowerment zones program based on federal tax incentives contributes to the creation of new jobs and the attraction of new business in economically deprived communities in Tucson.

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2013

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Harnessing the impacts of schools: new insights for sustainable community development

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This dissertation explores the unique role schools play in contributing toward a sustainable future for their communities. This was undertaken by first conducting a thorough review and analysis of the literature on the current utilization of schools as agents of

This dissertation explores the unique role schools play in contributing toward a sustainable future for their communities. This was undertaken by first conducting a thorough review and analysis of the literature on the current utilization of schools as agents of sustainable development, along with an evaluation of schools engaging in this model around the United States. Following this, a framework was developed to aid in the assessment of school-community engagements from the perspective of social change. Sustainability problem solving tools were synthesized for use by schools and community stakeholders, and were tested in the case study of this dissertation. This case study combined methods from the fields of sustainable development, transition management, and social change to guide two schools in their attempts to increase community sustainability through addressing a shared sustainability problem: childhood obesity. The case study facilitated the creation of a sustainable vision for the Phoenix Metropolitan Area without childhood obesity, as well as strategic actions plans for each school to utilize as they move forward on addressing this challenge.

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2013

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Understanding states' failure in sustained innovation from the diffusion perspective: the empirical study of the diffusion of EFOIA in the US states

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It is now fashionable to seek innovation in the public sector. As routine government practices have failed to solve complex policy problems, innovation is increasingly seen as the key to establishing public faith in government agencies' ability to perform. However,

It is now fashionable to seek innovation in the public sector. As routine government practices have failed to solve complex policy problems, innovation is increasingly seen as the key to establishing public faith in government agencies' ability to perform. However, not surprisingly, governments have often failed to support and maintain innovation over time. The purpose of this study is to examine what accounts for sustained innovation in government transparency. This is an in-depth analysis of the diffusion of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act (EFOIA) across the US states from 1996 to 2013. With the theoretical basis of policy diffusion, this study measures the degree of innovation among states by the timing of adoption, and by the extent of implementation. The factors that influence states' adoption and implementation of EFOIA will be compared, thereby explaining why some early adopters failed to maintain the leader position in innovation in government transparency through the implementation phase. The study findings show that the failure of early adopters in sustained innovation is the result of the conditional nature of diffusion mechanisms (i.e. socialization and learning) which operate differently at the adoption and implementation stages of EFOIA. This study contributes to a better understanding of the role of the legal environment created by the federal government, and the relationships between state governments in sustaining innovation in government transparency.

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2014

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An ethnographic case study of a school's engagement in a school-wide reform initiative

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Since the introduction of the common school in the United States (US), education has constantly been in a state of reform. Given the importance of student learning to the future state of our nation, it is important to understand how

Since the introduction of the common school in the United States (US), education has constantly been in a state of reform. Given the importance of student learning to the future state of our nation, it is important to understand how positive educational reform can be achieved. This ethnographic case study aims to try to understand how a reform effort works as an educational and a sociocultural process, and what the important contributing factors to actualizing school reform are, as well as the challenges of effective implementation. Specifically, this study focuses on a school-wide reform effort based upon Stephen Covey's Seven Habits (1989). Qualitative research methods were used to address the research questions in this study. The researcher drew upon interviews, observations, and artifact and field note collection to tell the story of an elementary school engaged in year three of a school-wide reform initiative from the viewpoint of 10 teachers involved. Three recurring themes emerged from the data. First, data indicate that school reform is most effective when a school culture is created that supports the activation of teacher voice, efficacy, and coparticipation. Second, time and support are factors impacting implementation. Third, teachers reported that the common language from the reform has impacted the culture of the school. The evolution of a school culture is not simple and is demonstrated in the different ways the teachers experience the reform. Questions of authenticity arise when the reform effort changes from a grassroots, bottom-up initiative to a more top-down, bureaucratized business model.

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2013

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Voices of social justice activist educators in Arizona

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The passing of anti-immigrant legislation in the state of Arizona over the last decade has exacerbated an already oppressive system perpetuated by globalization and its byproducts, neoliberalism and neoconservativism. The social justice activist educators who live and work with the

The passing of anti-immigrant legislation in the state of Arizona over the last decade has exacerbated an already oppressive system perpetuated by globalization and its byproducts, neoliberalism and neoconservativism. The social justice activist educators who live and work with the children and families most affected by these laws and policies must learn to navigate these controls if they hope to sustain their work. I have drawn from Freire's work surrounding the theories of praxis and conscientization to explain the motivation of these teachers, and the sociological theory of Communities of Practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998; & Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002), to explain how the group, Arizona Teachers for Justice serves as a space of learning and support for these educators. This dissertation is a multiple case study and has employed semi-structured interviews with four social justice activist educators to understand how social justice activist educators in Arizona cope and sustain their teaching and activism, particularly through their membership in groups such as Arizona Teachers for Justice. The teachers in this study are each at different stages in their careers and each teaches in a different setting and/or grade level. This cross section provides multiple perspectives and varied lenses through which to view the struggles and triumphs of social justice activist educators in the state of Arizona. The teachers in this study share their experiences of being singled out for their activism and explain the ways they cope with such attacks. They explain how they manage to fulfill their dedication to equity by integrating critical materials while adhering to common core standards. They express the anger that keeps them fighting in the streets and the fears that keep them from openly rejecting unjust policies. The findings of this study contribute to the discussion of how to not only prepare social justice activist educators, but ways of supporting and sustaining their very crucial work. Neoliberal and neoconservative attacks on education are pervasive and it is critical that we prepare teachers to face these structural pressures if we hope to ever change the dehumanizing agenda of these global powers.

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2013

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Neoliberalism and genocide: the desensitization of global politics

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The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of neoliberalism on the occurrence and intervention of genocide, particularly the ability to create othered groups through a process of dehumanization that desensitizes those in power to the human condition.

The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of neoliberalism on the occurrence and intervention of genocide, particularly the ability to create othered groups through a process of dehumanization that desensitizes those in power to the human condition. I propose Social Externalization Theory as paradigm that explains how neoliberalism can be used as a means social control to create subjects vulnerable to political and collective violence that is justified as the externalized cost of economic growth, development, and national security. Finally, the conflict in Darfur (2003 - 2010) serves as a case study to analyze the influence of neoliberal policies on the resistance of the International community to recognize the violence as genocide. Analysis of the case study found that some tenets of neoliberalism produce results that fit within the ideologies of genocide and that some aspects of neoliberalism assume a genocidal mentality. In this case, those in positions power engage in daily activities that justify some suffering as acceptable, thus desensitizing them to the harm that their decisions generate.

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2013

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Aging in place or aging and displaced?: a multi-site comparative case study of power, subjectivity, and community resiliency in public housing governance

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In an environment in which public values are often surrendered for market ones, the administration of public housing has increasingly devolved construction, management, and even ownership responsibilities to the private sector to cut costs. There is little known about private

In an environment in which public values are often surrendered for market ones, the administration of public housing has increasingly devolved construction, management, and even ownership responsibilities to the private sector to cut costs. There is little known about private management practices at public housing sites and how they shape the lives of its residents - half of whom are growing numbers of seniors and people with disabilities who are aging in place. This multi-site comparative case study involves three public housing sites that serve seniors and people with disabilities: one is privately-managed, one is publicly-managed, and one is privately-managed with public case management through the HOPE VI program. The intent of this comparison is to determine if there is a difference in management response by sector and whether differences pose a challenge to social equity.

Results indicate that there were social equity failures across all three sites with the private sites experiencing the most barriers for residents. The power-knowledge structure and perceptions of the residents shaped the institutions or staffing, services, policies, and amenities that either empowered the residents by helping them build a cohesive community; or it subjugated them by not offering space for community-building. In response, many residents' actions and beliefs were shaped by these institutions; however, in the face of resistance to management practices, they often exercised power through self-governing to achieve the satisfaction they desired. Recognizing that residents can exercise their own power, community resiliency to support aging in place may be achieved by supporting resident needs and drawing upon their expertise, assistance, and influential power to build stronger housing communities - an option with low costs but great gains. But in order to do so, the power-knowledge structure must be influenced to support this goal. This research describes the governance of public housing and the responses and relationships of both management and residents in these newly created public spaces. It then presents a model that can foster change in resident engagement and network building to support aging in place, and advance social and community resiliency, regardless of sector.

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2014

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Neighborhood development and school-community partnerships: the case of Barrio Promesa

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This study explores community development initiatives and school-community partnerships that took place during the period 1998 - 2010 in Barrio Promesa, a Hispanic immigrant neighborhood within a large metropolitan area of the South Western United States. More specifically, it examines

This study explores community development initiatives and school-community partnerships that took place during the period 1998 - 2010 in Barrio Promesa, a Hispanic immigrant neighborhood within a large metropolitan area of the South Western United States. More specifically, it examines the initiatives and partnerships carried out through three main sectors of social actors: a) elected officials, public administrators and their agencies of the city; b) the neighborhood elementary school and school district administration; and c) civil society inclusive of non-profit agencies, faith-based organizations and businesses entities. This study is bounded by the initiation of development efforts by the city on the front end. The neighborhood school complex became the center of educational and social outreach anchoring nearly all collaborations and interventions. Over time agents, leadership and alliances changed impacting the trajectory of development initiatives and school community partnerships. External economic and political forces undermined development efforts which led to a fragmentation and dismantling of initiatives and collaborations in the later years of the study. Primary threads in the praxis of community development and school-community partnerships are applied in the analysis of initiatives, as is the framework of social capital in understanding partnerships within the development events. Specific criteria for analysis included leadership, collaboration, inclusivity, resources, and sustainability. Tensions discovered include: 1) intra-agency conflict, 2) program implementation, 3) inter-agency collaboration, 4) private-public-nonprofit partnerships, and 5) the impact of public policy in the administration of public services. Actors' experiences weave a rich tapestry composed of the essential threads of compassion and resilience in their transformative human agency at work within the global urban gateway of Barrio Promesa. Summary, conclusions and recommendations include: 1) strategies for the praxis of community development, inclusive of establishing neighborhood based development agency and leadership; 2) community development initiative in full partnership with the neighborhood school; 3) the impact of global migration on local development practices; and 4) the public value of personal and civil empowerment as a fundamental strategy in community development practices, given the global realities of many urban neighborhoods throughout the United States, and globally.

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2014

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Dynamic secularisms: Christianity and the struggle for human rights in the Uruguayan Laïcité

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From 1973 to 1984 the people of Uruguay lived under a repressive military dictatorship. During that time, the Uruguayan government violated the Human Rights of its opponents and critics through prolonged imprisonment in inhumane conditions without trial, physical and psychological

From 1973 to 1984 the people of Uruguay lived under a repressive military dictatorship. During that time, the Uruguayan government violated the Human Rights of its opponents and critics through prolonged imprisonment in inhumane conditions without trial, physical and psychological torture, disappearance, and a negation of freedom of speech, thought and congregation. In this project, I argue that these violations of Human Rights committed by the military dictatorship added urgency to the rethinking by religious individuals of the Uruguayan model of secularism, the laïcité, and the role that their theology required them to play in the "secular" world. Influenced by the Liberation Theology movement, Catholic and Protestant leaders simultaneously made use of and challenged the secularization model in order to carve a space for themselves in the struggle for the protection of Human Rights.

Furthermore, I will argue that due to the Uruguayan system of partitocracy, which privileges political parties as the main voices in public matters, Uruguay still carries this history of Human Rights violations on its back. Had alternative views been heard in the public sphere, this thorny history might have been dealt with in a fairer manner. Thus, I call for further exploration of the "intelligent laïcité" model, which might ensure true democratic participation in the public sphere.

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2015