Institutional logics in los angeles schools: Do multiple models disrupt the grammar of schooling?

Julie A. Marsh, Taylor N. Allbright, Katrina E. Bulkley, Kate E. Kennedy, Tasminda K. Dhaliwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The structure of US public education is changing. Rather than exclusive district management of schools with standardized programs, new types of systems have emerged. In the case of portfolio systems, advocates argue that choice, performance-based accountability, and autonomy challenge traditional schooling and foster a diversity of options for parents. Yet there is limited empirical evidence on these claims. Our mixed-methods study examines the values and reported practices of schools in Los Angeles. We find limited evidence of variation across schools. Rather, institutional forces appear to be shaping common commitments to academics, whole child support, community, and professionalism, with some fine-grained differences connected to organizational characteristics. Ultimately, this lack of diversity and the complexity of multiple logics do not appear to challenge the idea of a shared grammar of schooling across schools. This research advances our understanding of institutional logics in schools and provides implications for policy and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-651
Number of pages49
JournalAmerican Journal of Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


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