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A Prescriptive Agenda for School Restructuring - Essay Example

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Studies reveal that there is a relationship between the social or normative and technical dimensions of school restructuring suggesting that as schools shift towards more communal norms, they are also more likely to implement technical changes and revise their curricular and instructional practices (Mussoline and Shouse, 2001, 44)…
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A Prescriptive Agenda for School Restructuring
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Download file to see previous pages In their study School Restructuring as a Policy Agenda, Mussoline and Shouse (2001) highlights this relationship - between school restructuring and their consequent effect - by asking, "[t]o what extent should one expect the technical reforms linked to restructuring to produce consistent achievement effects across all types of schools" (p. 45). Taking a similar position, this essay will argue that school restructuring will not be successful, especially in less affluent schools with low socioeconomic status, if restructuring practices are reduced to a list of prescriptive policy agendas imposed upon schools due to the effect contextual factors have on the success and eventual outcome of restructuring.
Looking into the literature of school reform, there has been numerous practice identified by different schools of thought outlining ways for restructuring schools. From such literature, it is apparent that each restructuring practice have its own set of requirements for successful implementation. On the other hand, each school also has its own set of organizational and instructional characteristics that determine its ability to implement changes within the overall school structure which affect the effectiveness of school restructuring (p. 47). ...
and Murphy's study entitled "The Social contest of Effective Schools," Mussoline and Shouse identifies principal-teacher relations, decision-making, and parental involvement as factors that distinguishes a school's organizational and instructional capabilities (Mussoline and Shouse, 2001, 47). These factors also distinguish schools between high and low socioeconomic statuses (SES). According to Shouse, given the distinction between schools with low and high SES, there are certain kinds of restructuring practices that did not yield the same beneficial results when implemented in low SES schools if compared to schools with high SES (p. 48). Contextual factors therefore have a hand in altering the effects of restructuring practices among schools with low SES. Hence, it is only logical to conclude that prescribing a single policy agenda for school restructuring may not be beneficial for the school system, in general, and for low SES schools, in particular, if not all schools can positively benefit from the prescribed restructuring practices.
Contextual factors have significant effects on school restructuring in two ways: first, given the lack of social resources among low SES schools, these schools do not have the necessary safety nets present among high SES schools that reduces the risks of flawed, poorly executed, or highly complex instructional practices (p. 49). As Mussoline and Shouse argues, schools with high SES have more responsive students that increases the positive effects from restructured practices, especially those that prescribe constructivist and student-centered reforms. In addition, the academically oriented support structures present in these communities also helps reinforce the restructuring practices being implemented. Together, student ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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