The Process and Politics of Educational Governance Change in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Denver

Julie A. Marsh, Taylor N. Allbright, Danica R. Brown, Katrina E. Bulkley, Katharine O. Strunk, Douglas N. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In recent years, some U.S. school districts have shifted away from direct management of schools, toward systems in which some or all schools operate under enhanced autonomy, accountability, and parental choice. Yet dynamics driving these changes are understudied, and there are few comparative studies of system-level governance shifts. To address these gaps, we use extensive qualitative data to analyze change in Los Angeles, Denver, and New Orleans. Drawing on evolutionary theories, we find that external crises, state policy, and new actors triggered change, yet distinct contexts and change processes resulted in markedly different systems. Finally, in all three cities, concerns that emerging systems exacerbated long-standing inequities indicate that governance change is both an organizational and highly contentious political process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • district governance
  • portfolio model
  • punctuated equilibrium
  • school choice

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