Article Summaries

Qualitative Research

 

 

Daniel R. Fruit

Yokota AFB

PSC 78 Box 2256

APO AP 96326-2256

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Road to Classroom Change." In Educational Leadership. December 1995/January 1996, pp. 10-14.

A. Why has school-based management failed to improve schools?

1. Power doesnít devolve to the site

a. Rules from state and local authorities prevail

- Example: Kentucky MANDATES site-based management

- but then specifies ways to teach.

2. Implementation problems

a. How should data be gathered from non-administrators not clear.

b. Itís unclear what should fall into site-based managementís sphere.

3. Ambiguous missions

a. Without a clear mission, attention of members gets diverted

4. Time problems

a. Little time for these kinds of meetings from teachers, non-educators

5. Expertise problems

a. Resources for development are limited for these councils

b. Personal agendas might become the agenda

6. Cultural constraints problems

a. Non-administrators not trained for decisions like budgeting

b. Teachers/administrators may not welcome interference

7. Motivation problem

a. Very few become involved (4% in Kentucky)

b. Itís a no-pay job.

c. Teachers often would rather use time on the classroom.

B. Suggestions for Improvement

1. Begin with a clear mission focused on teaching and learning

a. some schools start with a retreat.

2. Set clear and explicit goals for decision-making process

3. See that the process is seen as a means, NOT an end in itself

a. i.e. donít make "power" the goal

4. Alter governance structures to give non-administrators real power and authority.

5. Increase parental involvement in site-based councils.

a. training sessions would help.

6. Redesign schedules to help with parent participation.

7. Invest in high-quality professional development.

8. Obtain the resources to make good decisions (research).

9. Get political support from the administrative hierarchy, i.e. district

10. Reward accomplishments

11. Build a school culture based on improvement.

C. How does this relate to International School

1. This is really describing an "ineffective board."

2. There are similar problems in terms of the problems, definition, roles.

3. The problems with these councils could, just as easily describe ANY educational change.

4. Recommendations, generally, would help in terms of improving a board.

D. My Reaction

It seems strange that anyone expects site-based management to do very much. The administration generally view it as a hindrance. Beyond that, compared to schools overseas, site-based councils seriously lack the time and the control to much effect schools. For every ten minutes that these councils can devote to any task, the administration can devote 50. At best, site-based management seems politically correct. There are some useful suggestions, above, but they might just as well hold for any school wanting to improve and, with a little editing, might be presented as a model of school improvement without site-based management.

In terms of international schools, the data above seems to suggest that school boards can be far more successful that site-based management. People have more time, for one thing, and thereís less of a hostile bureaucratic structure. Almost all of the above suggestions, then, might make for an effective international school.

 

 

"The Role of the Francophone School Trustee in Ontario." in The Ontario Institute for Education, June 1991, pp. 28-50.

A. The role of the trustee is changing in Ontario in general

1. more time spent these last 20 years

2. more interested in policy and finance

3. some demanding office space

4. typical trustee is: a woman or retired person

B. The Francophone (minority) school trustee

1. French language considered essential part of culture

2. French authors believe that culture should be a part of education/English donít.

3. Various legislative acts and rulings have tried to preserve French.

a. officially allowed in Ontario schools as instructional language 1967.

C. Assimilation and Francophone Governance

1. Before 1967, Francophones did less well by several measures

a. 1/2 the percent in college; double the drop-out rate

2. Some writers felt that French instruction will improve performance in ESL also.

3. French instruction seemed to help

a. Percentage graduating nearly equal by 1969.

D. French Schooling and Conflict in the Public (non-Catholic) schools

1. Conflict over whether to local school boards to get teaching in French.

a. At first, EACH school had to approve French high school instruction.

2. Governmental response

a. tightening of requirements for instruction in French.

b. create FLACs (French Language Advisory Committees) for decision effecting the schooling of French speaking families

c. Establishing a Language Commission.

3. Ontario School Board Act (if it passes legal challenges) would give more power to Francophones

4. French want their own school boards

a. Presently there are French sections to common school boards.

E. Francophone School Trustee as shown on a 1989 Questionnaire

1. Most come from boards that have a separate French section

a. only 2 districts have separate French school boards.

2. How the French board members differ

a. more of a "team spirit" among the French board members.

b. French spend more trouble on "coalition building."

c. Unhappy about having a "French section."

d. See the schools as vital to preserving culture.

F. How does this relate to the International School

1. The French here are the "minority group" at an international school.

a. at first, with no representation

b. now, with separate, but not really equal, positions

2. Is the French view of their position unique or typical?

3. Itís important to note that the Anglophiles failed to co-opt the Francophones.

a. giving more concessions seemed to INCREASE the appetite for autonomy

b. this should give pause to American-dominated boards

G. My reaction to this

It was an interesting history of a minority group trying to preserve its culture. The Francophone example seems to suggest what can happen when a disaffected group is not represented at a school. It begs the question: Do the French feel so embattled because they are a minority traditionally granted little autonomy in Ontario, or is this a natural/appropriate way in which to preserve their culture via the school.

If the French are correct, that as a minority they must preserve language to preserve their culture, then the demands of groups like the Japanese, at various international schools, for native tongue instruction should be met or they should be left to start their own groups. The French position, here, though, may not necessarily apply to a host country. If the host country is the dominant group outside the school walls, then educating them in English might be perfectly sensible.

Itís also interesting to note that the French, once they identified their goal of separate school boards and instruction in French through the high school level, settled for nothing less. If this is typical of language minorities, it bodes ill for international schools with multi-ethnic bodies. The French case seems to suggest that conflict and division are inevitable and that any concession will merely whet the appetite. If the French situation is unique, however, then schools might try to negotiate with language minorities who ask for instruction in their native tongue.