In 1993, a qualitative study by the Kettering Foundation titled “Divided Within, Besieged Without: The Politics of Education in Four American School Districts” called attention to the dysfunctional relationships operating within school districts.
Relying on in-depth interviews with school and community leaders and focus groups with parents and teachers, the report portrayed school districts beset by fragmentation, turf wars and political infighting. It predicted reform initiatives would be derailed by the central office-teacher divide, by the prevalence of distrust and miscommunication and by the distance between education professionals and the citizens in their communities.
Twenty years later, knowing that much had changed, Kettering asked the FDR Group to replay the research with a new set of school districts. We again relied on the case study method, paying several visits to each of four districts, conducting one-on-one and focus group interviews with over 100 parents, community leaders, teachers, board members and central office and school administrators.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!