Empowering Teachers and Parents: School Restructuring Through the Eyes of Anthropologists

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A much-needed examination of the impact on teachers and parents of the effort to improve our schools through restructuring, this book looks at professionalization and parent empowerment programs from the ground level rather than from the large-scale policy level. The editor, active in both policy setting and monitoring implementation, approaches the subject with an overarching view that weaves together a set of diverse case studies that examine some of the most notable efforts in this area of school reform. The first section demonstrates the tremendous difficulties involved in attempting to reshape the culture of public school teaching, noting both institutional resistance to change and the personal resistance of the professionals who are, in theory, being empowered through this approach. The second section details the problems of launching parent empowerment opportunities, in a large urban setting, and a contrasting case examines the choice of enrollment option. Here, too, these studies examine the effectiveness of these programs. The conclusion reflects on the opportunities such innovations provide for researchers and assesses the importance of such research in shaping the innovations themselves through evaluations while they are in process.