The invisible schism: Teachers’ and administrators’ differing perceptions of education reforms

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Abstract

This study examined teachers’ and administrators’ perceptions of education reforms, focusing on a state legislated education bill that altered teacher evaluations. A mixed-method design, including an electronic survey, was used to gather perceptions of Colorado Senate Bill 10-191: Great Teachers and Leaders Act from teachers and administrators in the Rockies School District (RSD), as well as these two groups’ general perceptions of teacher evaluations, education reforms, and change. Results revealed that teachers collectively hold similar views of education reforms, as do administrators; however, how each group perceives these elements of education policy and reform differs significantly. Both teachers and administrators believed that their groups see education reforms similarly, yet these groups had statistically significant differences on more than half of the survey questions. Qualitative data, in the form of open-ended responses to survey questions and semi-formal interviews, corroborated these findings. The two groups were unaware that their perceptions vary on critical issues related to the successful implementation of this education reform. This perception gap raises the questions of whether and how they can work together as reform implementation moves forward, and whether and how they can collectively support student learning as each group envisions, regardless of the policy itself.

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How to Cite
Bridich, S. M. (2016). The invisible schism: Teachers’ and administrators’ differing perceptions of education reforms. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 87. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2192
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Author Biography

Sarah Melvoin Bridich, University of Denver

Dr. Bridich is a graduate of the University of Denver’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program. Her research interests include state and national policy implementation challenges at the local level, school leadership, teacher evaluations, teacher voice, charter and innovation schools, change leadership, and the history of education reforms. Sarah currently is the lead researcher on a multi-school case study exploring the role of the school leader in transitioning from theory to practice in new high schools in the Denver area.