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Schools as Organizations and Teacher Professionalization

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Schools as Organizations and
Teacher Professionalization
Chapter 6
Schools as Organizations
“The schools that an individual attends
shape not only his or her life chances
but his or her perceptions, attitudes,
and behaviors.”
Education in the United States is one of
the nation’s largest businesses, $273
billion enterprise for elementary and
secondary education,50 million students
The Structure of U.S.
Education
“To understand education, one must look
beyond the classroom itself and the
interaction between teachers and pupils to
the larger world where different interest
groups compete with each other in terms of
ideology, finances, and power.”
School processes, the way in which school
cultures are created and maintained
U.S. system decentralized, equal opportunity
Governance
50 separate state school systems,
because federal government made no
claims of authority over education
Good part of education paid for by local
property taxes, tax payers have much
to say about how schools within
districts operate, through community
school boards
Governance
Federal government more involved
since the Civil Rights movement of the
1960s, led to founding of United States
Department of Education in the late
1970s
Size and Degree of
Centralization
As school system has been growing, it has
become more centralized
In the1930s, there were 128,000 public
school districts, by the late 1980s, less than
16,000…elimination of single teacher schools
(143,000 in the 1930s, only 777 in 1980s)
Elementary schools average of 91 in 1930s to
450 in 1980s, secondary schools from 195 to
513 in 1980s
Centralization
Average size of classrooms has
declined, elementary 19 from 34, and
secondary 16 from 22
As districts have become larger,
superintendents have become more
powerful, teachers fewer opportunities
to make fewer decisions regarding
curriculum, policy, and employment
Student Composition
Urban school districts have mostly minority
students, suburban populations often less
than 5% minorities
Schools are more diverse at the same time
there is increasing residential segregation
Few academic impediments to high school
graduation, social and personal impediments
Private Schools
28,000 elementary and secondary schools
with 5.6 million students
25% of schools, 12% of students, mean
student enrollment of 234, only 7% have
more than 600 students
Private schools not consolidating, but growing
remarkably
Most private schools have religious affiliation
Private Schools
Very little regulation by state authorities,
other than safety regulations and civil rights
Most private schools on the east and west
coasts
Roman Catholic schools are declining, 46%
decline from 1965 to 1983
Most private schools attract students who are
more affluent and have a commitment to
education
International Comparisons
Most countries have a National Ministry
of Education or a Department of
Education that has considerable
influence over the whole system
Most other systems not inclusive, but
have rigorous academic rites of passage
Great Britain
Early attempts to have a national system,
opposed by the Church of England and the
Roman Catholics, national system begun in
1870, but the Church of England maintained
its schools, so a dual system
In 1944 the Education Act created a national
system, free primary and secondary schools
for all children, the system recreated the class
system by channeling students into different
kinds of schools, elitist in nature
Great Britain
In 1988, the Reform Act established a
national curriculum and national
assessment goals, which led to
significant changes in Britain and Wales
More open and less stratified than
before, but still elitist, race and ethnic
stratified
France
Central government controls the educational
system right down to the classroom
level…two public school systems, one for the
elite and one for ordinary people
Highly stratified at elementary, secondary and
postsecondary levels
Efforts to democratize the system have not
been successful
About a third go on to higher education, but
only 15% graduate from university
The Former Soviet Union
In 1991 the Soviet Union abruptly ceased to
exist
Educational system after the Bolshevik
Revolution was highly stratified, centralized
and deeply ideological
In reality, the system was stratified with high
party members’ children receiving university
preparation and workers’ children receiving a
poor education leading to factory system
Japan
First national system of education in
1880s under the central authority of the
Ministry of Education, Science, and
Culture
After World War II, compulsory
education increased from six to nine
years with democratic principles of
equality of opportunity
Japan
Education system is highly competitive
Japanese students excel in every
measured international standard both
for top students and the other 95% of
the students
High work ethic, double system (Juku),
high value on moral education
Germany
Selects and sorts children at a young age
leading to a tripartite system at the
secondary level, Hauptschule, Realschule,
Gymnasium
Close connection between business and
schools, seen as a model of vocational
education
University education is state supported but
highly competitive, only 15% complete
School Processes and School
Cultures
“The school is a unity of interacting
personalities. The personalities of all
who meet in the school are bound
together in an organic relation. The life
of the whole is in all its parts, yet the
whole could not exist without any of its
parts. The school is a social organism.”
School Processes and Culture
Despotisms in a state of perilous equilibrium
(Willard Waller), vulnerable authority
structures…without the compliance of
students, the exercise of authority would be
virtually impossible
Teachers’ pedagogic goals often difficult to
reconcile with students’ social goals, and
administrators’ organizational goals shared by
neither teachers nor students
School Processes and Culture
“Because schools are so deeply political,
effecting change within them is very difficult.
Groups and individuals have vested interests.”
Bureaucracies characterized by explicit rules
and regulations that promote predictability
and regularity and minimize personal
relationships, can suppress individualism and
spontaneity
School Processes and Cultures
“Schools, as they are now organized, are
shaped by a series of inherent contradictions
that can develop cultures that are conflictual
and even stagnant.”
Four elements of change: conflict in
necessary, new behaviors must be learned,
team building must extend to the entire
school, process and content are interrelated
and how they go about change is important
Teachers, Teaching, and
Professionalization
Teachers are the key players in
education but their voices are seldom
heard and their knowledge is terribly
underutilized, and even devalued
Who Becomes Teachers?
Five to one females to males at elementary
level, one to one at the secondary level
Nine out of ten are white, and most are
middle aged
By 2002, 3 million teachers will be needed,
many new teachers needed because of rising
number of retirements
Teachers tend not to be strong academically,
and those who are, tend to leave teaching
The Nature of Teaching
“The central contradiction of teaching is that
�teachers have to deal with a group of
students and teach them something and, at
the same time, deal with each child as an
individual.’”
Rewards are derived from students, the only
positive feedback many teachers get
Very little is known about the links between
teaching and learning
The Nature of Teaching
The key in teaching is the exercise of control
The “dailiness of teaching” speaks to the
rhythms of the days, weeks, seasons
Few professions are as routinized and as
creative, with few rules to what it takes to be
a good teacher, one may be a sense of humor
Teacher Professionalization
Only partially professionalized,
especially at the elementary level
Teacher socialization is very limited
Difficult to think of ways to educate
inspirational teachers
Clearly a correlation between higher
levels of preparation and
professionalization
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