Site-based management and school councils : history and impact on education

Caul, Barbara (2000) Site-based management and school councils : history and impact on education. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Over the past two decades, there has been a growing concern in many western industrialised countries over the failure of schools to provide students with the quality of education needed to compete in today's global workforce. Responding to these concerns, many educational policy makers initiated reform in the hopes of improving educational outcomes. In the early 1980s, most educational reform efforts focused on increasing central bureaucratic control of education. Research showed that these early reform efforts were not very successful. In order to be productive, researchers advocated that educational reform efforts must focus less on stricter bureaucratic control, and more on giving control to the individual school site. In the mid- to-late 1980s, decentralization of school systems became a popular reform strategy. One such form of decentralization is the implementation of site-based management (SBM). SBM is a process which gives teachers, parents, community representatives and students more control in managing their local schools. The structure that SBM usually takes is that of a local governing, decision making or advisory committee, commonly referred to as a school council. -- The first paper of this folio focuses on the history of school councils in Atlantic Canada. Each of the four Atlantic provinces has their own unique justifications for adopting school councils and SBM as an educational reform strategy, but there are common factors which seem to have influenced their decisions. All four provinces heavily relied on research conducted elsewhere which supported SBM and school councils as an effective reform strategy. These provinces also responded to the public's general dissatisfaction with educational outcomes, and to parental and public pressure for more voice in education. It is too early to tell if their decision to adopt this reform strategy was the right one. -- The second paper of this folio discusses the impacts, both positive and negative, that SBM and school councils have on education in general. The literature in this area is ambiguous, and the research mixed. In general, research has not shown that parental and community involvement in a decision making capacity; Le., through school councils, has had a positive effect on student achievement. Research does support, however, using school councils as a means for promoting other types and levels of parental and community involvement, which could have positive effects on student achievement. -- Many researchers blame the ineffectiveness of SBM and school councils on poor implementation procedures and / or lack of support for their proper maintenance. Policy makers have been criticized for setting up structures which have the potential to be quite effective, and then not committing to providing the necessary time or support needed to sustain them. Critics question the real purpose of SBM and school councils, suggesting that this reform strategy was chosen simply as a cost efficient and popular response to public pressure for reform. -- The third paper of this folio discusses the impact that SBM and school councils have on the role of the principal. This reform strategy alters the context of schooling significantly. Schools have become more democratic, with more and more people becoming involved in their management. The traditional control oriented leadership style of the principal is not congruent, nor effective in this new environment. Principals need to adopt a more democratic, facilitative, collaborative style of leadership if they wish to be effective leaders of site-based managed schools.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1330
Item ID: 1330
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 2000
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Atlantic Provinces
Library of Congress Subject Heading: School-based management--Atlantic Provinces; Community and school--Atlantic Provinces; School management and organization--Atlantic Provinces; School principals--Atlantic Provinces

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