AuthorPack, Robert Harold
AdvisorHeckman, Paul E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis multiple case study examined one start-up and one conversion charter school in California. Eighty hours of classroom observations and thirteen teacher interviews were the basis for this descriptive comparative study. The research was guided by the following questions: (1) Do classrooms and school structures in these two charter schools appear different than traditional public schools; (2) Have teachers' methodologies changed since coming to teach at the charter school; (3) What are the similarities and differences between these two charter schools; and (4) Has teachers' autonomy changed since coming to a charter school? This study found that in comparison to teachers' previous position, (1) Teachers had not changed how they taught; and (2) Most teachers had the same amount of classroom autonomy. Additionally: (3) Teachers felt their primary motivation for innovating within their classroom was themselves, their time, and their energy; (4) Teachers did not think teaching in a charter school affected their innovativeness; (5) Teachers did not mention autonomy as a factor influencing their classroom innovativeness; (6) Teachers believed they had more autonomy regarding hiring and budgeting decisions; (7) There were no significant differences in the innovativeness between the teachers of the start-up or conversion schools; the conversion school had the most and the least innovative teachers; (8) The start-up charter school was slightly more innovative overall than the conversion charter school; (9) The two charter schools had more in common than they had differences; (10) New consensus-based, teacher-led decision-making at both schools intensified the micro-politics and burdens placed upon teachers' time, impacting their classroom performance. Unique to the start-up: (11) New operational paradigms required teachers to take on additional support services resulting in less planning time, teachers' feeling overwhelmed, and concern with keeping staff; (12) Parents and students influenced teachers to change back to less innovative practices; and (13) A small campus, faculty, and number of students appeared to create a family-like atmosphere. Based on the findings of this study, two underpinnings of the charter school movement, creating innovative classrooms and increasing teacher autonomy behind the classroom doors were problematic at these charter schools.
Degree ProgramGraduate College