Beyond Minimally Adequate: Building Public Support for High-Quality, Accessible Charter Schools in South Carolina
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CitationDonahue, Kerry Landry. 2017. Beyond Minimally Adequate: Building Public Support for High-Quality, Accessible Charter Schools in South Carolina. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractThis capstone examines a strategic initiative to bring about policy changes that would facilitate the growth of high-quality charter schools specifically serving historically underserved students in the state of South Carolina. Operating from within the South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD), the state’s only statewide charter school authorizer, I develop and execute a strategy to gain increased public support for the SCPCSD’s new strategic priorities of increasing charter school quality and access. I couple an in-depth analysis of the policy environment, leveraging the work of Mark Moore and John Kingdon, with a chronicle of my efforts to build the SCPCSD’s influence in its environment. Results from the initiative include the SCPCSD’s increased understanding of the policy environment and how to influence it; the development of new relationships with key decision makers and influencers; and the policy environment’s increased receptivity to the SCPCSD and its strategic goals. Analyzing the initiative through the lens of policy change and organizational strategy, I find that the deep resistance of democratic systems and their institutions to change requires organizations to be willing and to have the capacity to reshape the values of the people within the system through engaging coalitions in sustained problem-solving work. Ultimately, I argue that given the public nature of schools—whether they be charter or district-managed—and their position within our democratic system, any education reform initiative requires a companion political initiative to ensure that the environment is willing to adopt and sustain the reform.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33774653