American Journal of Education

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0195-6744 / 1549-6511
Published by: University of Chicago Press (10.1086)
Total articles ≅ 1,605
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Emanuele Bardelli, Matthew Ronfeldt
American Journal of Education; https://doi.org/10.1086/716486

Abstract:
Purpose: For decades, federal and state agencies have identified teacher shortages in high-needs endorsement areas (HNEAs), including science, mathematics, and special education, as a critical problem. Many states have implemented policies and practices to recruit HNEA teachers, but little is known about how their workforce outcomes compare with other teachers. Research Methods: We leverage statewide longitudinal data in Tennessee to analyze the workforce outcomes of teachers prepared in the state between 2010 and 2016. We model our outcomes of interest using linear and logistic multilevel regression. Findings: We observe that the number of teachers who receive HNEA endorsements has increased over time even as the overall number of teachers prepared in the state has declined. HNEA teachers are employed at higher rates and retained at similar rates as other teachers. HNEA teachers have similar student achievement gains as non-HNEA teachers. Though HNEA and non-HNEA teachers also have similar first-year observation ratings, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and special education teachers improve at slower rates subsequently. Implications: Our results suggest that potential policy solutions to the recruitment, retention, and development of highly effective HNEA teachers might require policies targeted to individual HNEAs, as each area might have unique needs and challenges. The positive results on preparation and employment of HNEA teachers suggest that Tennessee’s policies to train, employ, and retain HNEA teachers have been largely successful. However, our findings also suggest that HNEA teachers may need additional supports in instructional development.
Ian Burfoot-Rochford, Kai A. Schafft
American Journal of Education; https://doi.org/10.1086/716461

Abstract:
Purpose: This study examines the local and institutional factors that shape how educators and educational leaders in western Pennsylvania have understood and responded to rapid growth in opioid misuse and drug overdose within their communities. We examine how educational leaders and educators in two rural school districts in western Pennsylvania made sense of growing opioid misuse as not only a social problem but also a local problem, and how that framing in turn shaped their community and school response. Research Methods/Approach: We analyze data gathered from interviews and fieldwork conducted in two rural school districts in Pennsylvania in 2017–18 experiencing high levels of opioid misuse and drug overdose. Data were drawn from interviews with 36 educators and educational leaders, as well as notes from roughly 60 hours of participant observation in each district at school board meetings, local action group meetings, and community events. Findings: We find that community and institutional forces restricted coherent and meaningful school responses. School district leaders understood growing opioid misuse as emerging both external to and in contradiction with local rural community values and identity. Educators further cited testing assessment pressures and lack of educator training as institutional factors limiting school and educator responses to the mounting opioid problem. Implications: Despite a precedent for schools assuming a variety of health and wellness functions for students and families, and the severity of opioid misuse as a government-defined statewide emergency, coherent school response to opioid addiction is often stymied by a number of social, cultural, and institutional constraints.
T. Philip Nichols, Adam Kirk Edgerton, Laura M. Desimone
American Journal of Education; https://doi.org/10.1086/716463

Abstract:
Purpose: As the federal government has retreated from taking a dominant role in encouraging implementation of common K–12 standards, states and districts have moved to fill this education policy vacuum. This study aims to understand how state and district leaders are navigating this new policy environment. Research Methods/Approach: Drawing upon 47 interviews with state and district administrators conducted in 2016 and 2017, we used deductive coding based on a policy attributes theory to examine the co-occurrence of codes for specificity, consistency, authority, power, and stability. Throughout this process, we assessed interrater reliability through paired coding, research team discussions, and recoding to uncover broad themes. Findings: We identify the concept of “smart power” as a ubiquitous mechanism that leaders are utilizing to balance buy-in (authority) and accountability (power). We find that this balance remains precarious and highly dependent upon local political contexts. Smart power can allow for more thoughtful and sustainable implementation strategies that increase teacher support for these policies—or it can become a rhetorical device without substantive change. Implications: We reveal the enduring appeal of accountability policies even when administrators express reservations about falling back on the legacy of No Child Left Behind. These findings hold broad relevance for the implementation of K–12 standards moving forward, particularly as states consider how to build legitimacy and buy-in toward new and revised standards-based policies in the wake of the pandemic.
Jessica C. Harris, Jeanette C. Snider, Julia L. Anderson, Kimberly A. Griffin
American Journal of Education, Volume 127, pp 531-561; https://doi.org/10.1086/715004

Abstract:
Through this study, we explore 26 Multiracial tenured and tenure track faculty members’ experiences with Multiracial microaggressions while working within historically white 4-year colleges and universities in the United States. Findings from the research suggest that Multiracial faculty members often encounter Multiracial microaggressions that stifle their professional success. Yet Multiracial microaggressions may also provide some faculty with unique access within the academy. This study centers Multiracial faculty members’ experiences in an effort to inform institutional procedures that support and retain Multiracial faculty and to complicate a monoracial-only paradigm of race, or the dominant ideology that race only exists in strict monoracial categories.
Mark Hlavacik, Jack Schneider
American Journal of Education, Volume 127, pp 627-655; https://doi.org/10.1086/715037

Abstract:
The public discussion of education consistently emphasizes school failure. To better understand this rhetoric, we tracked its appearance in five prominent print outlets from 1984 to 2016. By distinguishing between arguments about local schools and the nation’s schools, we found that discussions of “failing schools” surged first as a claim about the nation’s schools and then as a claim about local schools. But, whereas the discussion of national failure featured a narrowed set of arguments, the subsequent discussion of local failure was composed more broadly. Thus, we describe a rhetorical echo, wherein the discussion of local failure acquired the shape and intensity of the preceding national discussion, while taking on the particulars of community context. A national narrative frame shaped the telling of local stories.
Kristen Carroll, Susan K. Patrick, Ellen Goldring
American Journal of Education, Volume 127, pp 501-530; https://doi.org/10.1086/715002

Abstract:
Policy implementation research indicates that local contexts and school factors shape how teacher collaboration efforts are implemented in schools. By evaluating a statewide teacher collaboration initiative in Tennessee known as the Instructional Partnership Initiative (IPI), this article provides insight on the school-level factors that are associated with participating teachers’ frequency of IPI collaboration activities and a collaborative focus on instructional practices. We estimate a series of regression models and find that school supports and characteristics of teacher partnerships were significant predictors of the frequency of collaborative activities, focus on instructional activities, and perceptions of IPI as beneficial. Commonalities among partner teachers like subject/grade taught were also associated with teachers’ perceptions of IPI as beneficial. Our results contribute to the broader understanding of how schools can encourage teacher engagement in collaborations that focus on instructional improvement.
David M. Houston, Jeffrey R. Henig
American Journal of Education; https://doi.org/10.1086/715003

Abstract:
School districts’ racial/ethnic and economic compositions are strongly related to average student achievement. Relationships between districts’ demographic compositions and average student growth are much weaker, and many believe growth measures are a more accurate indicator of student learning. We seek to understand if the dissemination of growth data influences individuals’ district preferences in ways that run counter to the conventional wisdom that the “best” districts are the Whitest and most affluent districts. We conduct an online survey experiment in which participants choose between the five largest districts in a metropolitan area. All participants receive demographic data for each district, but some are randomly assigned to receive achievement and/or growth data as well. Providing growth data leads participants to choose less White and less affluent districts. Moreover, providing both achievement and growth data causes participants to choose less White and less affluent districts than the provision of achievement data alone.
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