The current wave of educational reform is complex and situated in market-based initiatives coupled with a renewed emphasis on local autonomy, deliberation, and community—middle-of-the-road reforms. In practice, schools are challenged to develop organizational forms that can support collaboration and community engagement, alongside the bureaucratic and accountability-driven reforms that demand more oversight, transparency, and demonstrable results. Our intent in this paper is to begin to map the emerging contradictions and opportunities that the complex reform climate presents for practitioners through a case study of a personalized learning charter school. In so doing, we illustrate how a community of teachers within a charter school navigated their work in the current policy climate. We found that explanatory frames that focused either on the market-oriented policy design or the democratically oriented structural mechanisms inside of schools were limited in their ability to help us account for what we were observing—that is, how teachers and staff used strategies of community and collaboration to reorganize how the accountability press from above unfolded in their school and in their day-to-day practices. We ultimately found that literature on collaborative community provided a compelling framework through which to interpret these findings.
Response to this Article
Bingham, A. J.
, Burch, P.
Navigating Middle of the Road Reforms through Collaborative Community.
Democracy and Education,
(2), Article 1.
Available at: https://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol25/iss2/1