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1 of 3 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 5 Number 1January 6, 1997ISSN 1068-2341A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal. Editor: Gene V Glass Glass@ASU.EDU. College of Education Arizona State University,Tempe AZ 85287-2411 Copyright 1997, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES.Permission is hereby granted to copy any a rticle provided that EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES is credited and copies are not sold.Markets and Myths: Autonomy in Public and Private Schools Sandra Rubin Glass Arizona State University Abstract School choice is the most controversial education policy issue of the 1990s. John Chubb and Terry Moe's Politics, Markets and America's Schools stimulated this investigation. They concluded that teacher and administrator autonomy w as the most important influence on student achievement. They assumed that the organization of private schools offered greater autonomy resulting in higher student achievement and that th e bureaucracy of public schools stifles autonomy limiting student achievement. The research undertaken here elaborates, elucidates, and fills in the framework of teacher and principal aut onomy in public and private secondary schools. Interviews of more than thirty teachers and adminis trators in six high schools, observations, field notes, and analysis of documents collected in the f ield form the empirical base of this work. The sites included three private, independent, nondenom inational secondary schools which are college preparatory and three public secondary scho ols noted for high graduation rates and offering numerous advanced placement courses. The feelings expressed by both public and private school participants in this study testify to equally high degrees of autonomy. Issues that em erged from data analysis in this study which mitigate and shape autonomy include the following: conflicting and contradictory demands, shared beliefs, layers of protection, a system of l aws, funding constraints and matters of size of the institution. These issues challenge oversimplif ied assertions that differences of any importance exist between the autonomy experienced b y professionals in public and private high schools. This study reveals the complexity of the c oncept of autonomy and challenges the myth that teachers and principals in private schools enj oy autonomy and freedom from democratic bureaucracy that their public school counterparts d o not.

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2 of 3 Table of Contents The Problem Review of Literature Methods of the Study The Schools in the Study Findings Summary & Conclusions References The Interviews About the AuthorSandra Rubin Glass sandy.glass@asu.edu Sandra Rubin Glass is a Faculty Associate in the Co llege of Education at Arizona State University where she received her PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies in 1993. Her M.A. (1974) in the Teac hing of Earth Sciences is from Northeastern Illinois University; her Bachelors deg ree (1968) is from National-Louis University (formerly National College of Education) Dr. Glass holds an appointment in the Office of Pro fessional Field Experiences at ASU where she develops and implement s training and workshops for student and beginning teachers. She is a former tea cher and administrator in both public and private schools, and once taught on the Navajo Indian Reservation.Copyright 1997 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is http://olam.ed.asu.edu/epaa General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, glass@asu.edu or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8528 7-2411. (602-965-2692). The Book Review Editor is Walter E. Shepherd: shepherd@asu.edu The Commentary Editor is Casey D. Cobb: casey@olam.ed.asu.edu .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Andrew Coulson a_coulson@msn.com Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov hmwkhelp@scott.net

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3 of 3 Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Marshall University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Richard M. Jaeger University of North Carolina--Greensboro Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Rocky Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education William McInerney Purdue University Mary P. McKeown Arizona Board of Regents Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton apembert@pen.k12.va.us Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson Arizona State University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers University of California at Davis Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin Michael Scriven scriven@aol.com Robert E. Stake University of Illinois--UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education Robert T. Stout Arizona State University

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1 of 2 Sandra Rubin Glass: "Markets & Myths"Vol. 5 No. 1 Education Policy Analysis ArchivesBackground School choice, the prerogative of parents to elect the school their children attend, is the most controversial education policy issue of the 19 90s. As many as ten states had formally adopted open enrollment or educational choice provi sions by Spring 1991. In the general election of 1992, Colorado voters resoundingly voted down a proposed voucher amendment to the state constitution that would have permitted choice betwe en public and private schools. Several other states currently offer informal open enrollment or choice provisions or are planning legislation that would mandate some form of school choice (Bier lein, Sheane & McCarthy, 1991). The publication in 1990 of Chubb and Moe's Politics, Markets & America's Schools gave pro-choice advocates a rallying point. Chubb and Moe argued th at sense of autonomy and freedom from bureaucratic pressure are the most powerful determi nants of a school's success in advancing academic learning. They asserted that these conditi ons are more prevalent in private schools (which "seem to be better performers," p. 24) than in public schools because of "market forces" (p. 37). Although their analysis looked at the rela tionship of autonomy and student achievement only within public schools (because of what they regarded as limitations of t heir data sources, namely the High School and Beyond Survey), Chubb an d Moe argued that teacher and principal autonomy should be greatly different between public and private sector schools. They advanced no evidence on this question of public and private school differences, but merely speculated about it. Although Chubb and Moe confined their fin al recommendations to the public sector (acknowledging that privatizing America's schools i s an impractical fantasy), their work has become the foundation for many who would extend sch ool choice to encompass both public and private schools. School choice advocates believe that educators in public schools are constrained by bureaucracy from acting to improve the conditions o f education. They assert that, in contrast, principals and teachers in private schools enjoy gr eater autonomy and have more control over significant decisions like teaching methods, curric ulum and personnel. Consequently, private schools produce a higher quality educational experi ence for the students. They view private school educators as responding primarily to the nee ds of pupils and the directly expressed wishes of parents: in effect, responding to their clients' expressions of market preferences. They view public school educators as locked into a bureaucrac y that stifles initiative and effort and insulates employees from public pressures. This view of the d ifference between public and private education may be greatly oversimplified. Private sc hool teachers may respond to parents, whereas public school teachers may respond to paren ts acting as a "school board." The difference may be important, or it may be a distinction withou t an important difference. Moreover, the needs created by children's circumstances may motiv ate public school teachers as strongly as they motivate teachers in private schools. To the extent to which teachers in private and public schools encounter children with similar needs, they may act similarly. What seems to have occurred in thinking about public and private educa tion is what Freire described as "mythicizing reality": attempting to conceal certain facts which explain the way persons exist in the world (1981, p. 22). That the myths have been successfull y transmitted is evidenced by journalistic excesses such as the following: "Study after study has shown that the more schools are freed of outside bureaucratic control, the more likely they are to succeed." (editorial, "The Arizona Republic," November 12, 1991) It may be that the size and complexity of an organ ization, like a school, determines the degree of autonomy felt by participants rather than whether its governance is private or public.

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2 of 2Moreover, in today's complex world, public controls of many and varied types often extend to private institutions, because they participate thro ugh loan programs or grants or contracts in governmental programs or fall under the jurisdictio n of courts. Chubb and Moe (1990), Coleman and Hoffer (1987), and most others attempting to th ink about the implications of organization and control for administrator and teacher actions a re merely engaging in speculation about that which few have studied directly.The Problem of Teacher and Principal Autonomy The study reported here did not assume that there are clear and distinct differences between workplace conditions in public and private schools. Rather, it attempted to bring to the surface those conditions which otherwise may be ove rlooked or neglected, conditions which constrain teacher and principal autonomy in both pr ivate and public schools. Another aspect of the problem under investigation here is to detail t he differences that may or may not exist between principals' and teachers' sense of autonomy and control in private and public school settings. The need for such an investigation is cle ar to persons on all sides of the issue of school choice: "Case studies and other more narrowly focus ed research into schools could help develop an understanding of these relationships that could guide both educators and policymakers in determining the appropriate role of autonomy in sch ool improvement" (Glass & Matthews, 1991, p. 26). To limit the scope of this study, a specific type o f private school was selected from the braod range of possibilities. The college preparato ry independent school without denominational affiliations was chosen because it operates in an e nvironment more like the legal description of a public school located in an upper-middle class comm unity. The student populations are similar in many social and economic circumstances, both having students whose parents reflect the behaviors of those with the greatest choice of scho ol type.

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1 of 3 Sandra Rubin Glass: "Markets & Myths"Vol. 5 No. 1 Education Policy Analysis ArchivesWhat Has Already Been Written on this Problem The literature on bureaucracy and autonomy is huge within sociology, and substantial within the specialty of the sociology of education. The works of Powell (1990), Lightfoot (1983), Ball (1987), Sedlak and others (1986), McNeil (1986 ), and Firestone and Bader (1991) are most influential. This literature, at times tenuously co nnected to empirical research, holds ideas and conceptions of teacher autonomy that may foreshadow many of the ideas to be encountered in the field in the pursuit of this research. Private schools appear to be subject to fewer appa rent constraints than those encountered by public schools. Their governance and financing m ake them directly responsible to a constituency which they must satisfy to stay solven t (Powell, 1990). They have no direct obligation to the whole of society (Grant, 1988). In contrast, public schools must serve the needs o f children as seen by elected or appointed representatives of the public at local, s tate and federal levels. While such external government mandates, court decisions, and union con tracts have, perhaps, a marginal impact on the independent school, certainly these schools are not immune from public regulations concerning health, safety, and civil rights. Nor ar e they protected from the not-so-subtle intrusions of publishers, external testing, and esp ecially college admissions requirements (Powell, 1990). The subtle curricular power of the Advanced Placement (AP) examinations, for example, exerts a pressure on the curriculum and ac countability of private high school teachers similar to that of state mandated testing in the pu blic sector (Powell, 1990). Surely both public and private schools are subject to organizational constraints that stem from "external structures (subjects, periods of tim e) . occupational norms (order in the classroom, class rules and so on) . [that ensur e] some minimal level of uniformity" (Elmore, 1987, p. 64). Ball (1987) went further and suggeste d that educators ask, "How autonomous is the organization and its actors from its clients, publi cs, superiors and audiences or the basic social and economic structures of the society?" He suggest ed the notion of relative autonomy: . organizations are not independent or self-sufficien t phenomena" (p. 247). There is a generally held perception by society th at private schools are successful educational businesses. This is not necessarily the case. In preparation for her research on public and private high schools, Lightfoot (1983) particip ated in a scholars' seminar. Invited scholars included those whose work centered on the history, policies, and practices of schools. The assumption that all private schools are thriving wa s called into question. But the common assumption that the private schools were thriving and flourishing was unsettling, and was experienced by some members [of the seminar] as a disregard for the great variation in success and re sources among them (p.8). Indeed, Chubb and Moe (1985) concluded, "Relative t o public schools, private schools appear to delegate significant discretion to their teachers, and to involve them sufficiently in school level policy decisions to make them feel eff icacious" (p. 37). This common sense mythology perpetuates the misconception that the pr ivate school community shares one view of what constitutes a good school. The reality may be, as Powell (1990) suggested, that private schools often vary sharply in content and process a nd espouse a wide variety of purposes (single-sex schools, boarding schools, schools that cater to a particular ability level) based on the type of community they serve. While public schools are traditionally depicted as being more diverse, this diversity is more a matter of economi c differences. There are schools for the poor,

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2 of 3schools for the middle class, and schools for the s uburbanites. Within the private school context of general affluence there is more cohesiveness of purpose, and more shared experience. Image and reliance on this mythology of academic excellen ce may be what allows some private schools to compete in the marketplace along with other priv ate and public schools (Powell, 1990). Autonomy may be experienced by teachers as a school runs smoothly and little administrative attention is apparent. While teacher s may enjoy a great deal of autonomy in these circumstances, their autonomy may actually operate within a narrow range of discretion (McNeil, 1984). The degree of discretion may rest with the a dministrator. In addition, Corbett found that, "Community preferences lurk constantly at the borde rs of the school organization, and the superintendent and the principal are the entry poin ts" (Corbett, 1991, p. 93). Indeed, Chubb and Moe's (1990) enthusiasm for autonomy results from t heir discovery of a statistical correlation between "autonomy" and "student achievement test sc ore gains." They assumed that the causal influence ran from the former to the latter. Glass and Matthews (1991) contended that it was even more likely that the causal direction was reversed in that teachers and principals were granted more autonomy when their test scores were in good s hape. Hence, they suggested that it may be achievement levels causing autonomy to be granted r ather than the other way around. If Glass and Matthews are correct and Chubb and Moe are not, then granting autonomy would not be expected to result in increased achievement, nor wo uld more autonomous private schools enjoy ipso facto greater effectiveness. Indeed, the role played by the administrator is a key element in teacher autonomy or the reform initiative of "empowering" teachers (Powell, 1990; Lightfoot, 1983; McNeil, 1984). Powell pointed out that it is not clear how empower ed teachers can coexist with strong site-based managers, a primary requirement of a private school head (p. 130). Apple and Teitelbaum (1986), however, found that within Weick's model of a loose ly-coupled organization different types of professional can retain control and authority witho ut changing or being changed by the decisions of other professionals. Teachers in any school orga nization are free to conduct their individual classrooms as they see fit without reducing the aut onomy of the principal. Although private school teachers may be freer of d istant bureaucratic rules, regulations and procedures, they are subject to the pervasive a uthority of a headmaster and school board of directors. Based on the wide discrepancy between th e salary of the administrator and teachers in private schools, the power exercised by the headmas ter is considerable, perhaps even greater than that held by the public school principal. In some s chools, observed Lightfoot (1983), the "unquestionable dominance and benign power" of the head only underscores the faculty's "relative powerlessness and reinforces the childlik e impulses" (p. 341). Even in the case of more democratic and benign leaders, private school teach ers are well aware that reappointment and references for one's resume depend on satisfying th e head (Baird, 1977). Since services must be "sold to potential clients," some teachers may find themselves "caught between incompatible interpretations of their own self-interest" (Ball, 1987, p. 269). It may not be possible to understand teacher auton omy merely from examining the obvious governmental or organizational forms that a re set up to direct their actions. The working conditions of both public school and private school teachers may contain any number of what appear to be constraints on their autonomy: federal state, and district policy; school board and administrator demands; pressures from state mandate d or college testing (Noble and Smith, 1994; Smith and Rottenberg, 1991) ; the need to ple ase parents, students, other teachers, and community; standardization practices such as career ladders (Firestone and Bader,1991; Popkewitz and Lind, 1988). But how teachers manage those constraints is crucial in defining their work life. Sedlak and others (1986) pointed o ut that, historically, teachers acquiesce to centralized authority yet, once they close their cl assroom door, most teachers are able to exercise enormous discretion. The current spate of reform in itiatives produces constraints which treat teachers as passive receivers of external advice an d undermine their professional authority.

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3 of 3Elmore suggested that rather than reform, the "resu lt is teacher resistance and student disengagement" (1987, p. 60). Faced with challenges to their autonomy, some imaginative teachers "have used their ingenuity and skill in or der to arrive at a way out" (Kozol, 1981, p. 51) or participated in the "strategy of 'omissive actio n' (like non-cooperation . .)" (Ball, 1987, p. 268). Indeed, Feiman-Nemser and Floden asserted tha t, based on their review of several studies of teacher culture, current research replaces the i mage of "a passive teacher molded by bureaucracy and buffeted by external forces" with t he image of "an active agent, constructing perspectives and choosing actions," (1986, p. 523).

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1 of 5 Sandra Rubin Glass: "Markets & Myths"Vol. 5 No. 1 Education Policy Analysis ArchivesMethods The methods employed in this investigation were th ose of the multi-site qualitative case study: interviews from multiple data sources, obser vations and field notes from a variety of on-site meetings and visits, and analysis of docume nts (brochures, teacher handbooks, policy manuals, meeting agendas). An intensive study of th ree secondary schools of each type (public and private) was conducted. Fourteen private school teachers, fifteen public school teachers and their associated principals, heads, and assistants were interviewed at each site. Site Selection To sharpen the boundaries of this exploration, I f ocused on the type of private schools known as "independent" schools. There are two analy tic advantages to this selection (Powell, 1990, p. 113). First, compared to the full range of private schools, independent schools are less inculcated with denominational religion and, theref ore, operate in an environment more like the legal circumstances of public schools. Because they are the most expensive of the private schools, they are chosen by families who can afford any type of school, public or private. The fact that such schools serve primarily high-income families reflects a population that has the financial ability to choose a type of school based on preference provides the second advantage. They are the most privileged private schools, which then served as a guide by which to identify particular public schools which became their compar ison group. Public schools located in the most affluent school districts serve a type of high income family similar to those who patronize independent schools. These public schools, therefor e, came under consideration for selection for this study. Another criterion for site selection was secondary schools that focus on academics. The selection of private schools was based on their acc reditation or application for accreditation by North Central Association as college preparatory (N orth Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 1990). A focus on academic excellence is t he key marketing strategy of these schools as evidenced in brochures describing their mission to prospective clients. Graduation rates and percentages of students applying to college are the best descriptors of academic excellence in the public high schools. The state department of educat ion and the district office of each of the three public secondary schools served as sources for thes e data. Recommendations by educational specialists were also given consideration. The three private schools selected were located in two cities in the same state in the southwestern United States. A similar process was u sed to gain access to public secondary schools; however, the initial contact was sometimes made through a district level administrator. The three public schools are located in very differ ent sections of the same city and vary in the length of time they have been in existence.Informant Selection Interview data were collected from approximately t hirty teachers and their associated administrators at each school. The number of inform ants contacted was guided by the understanding that each participant provides inform ation about the conditions under which they and their colleagues work; therefore, they actually inform the researcher of the actions and beliefs of a few or many more.

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2 of 5 The line which separates administrator from teache r in the private school is often unclear since many serve in both capacities. In one school selected, it is required that each administrator, except for the head, teach at least one class. It w as explained that this requirement kept all administrators in touch with the needs of the stude nts. Coincidentally, the requirement has some financial advantages for the school as well. In the se cases, those who were labeled teachers are those whose primary responsibility is teaching. If only one class was taught and the primary responsibility was administration, the individual w as considered an administrator. Department chairs in one public secondary school in this study have the equivalent of half-time teaching responsibilities with the remainder of their time b eing delegated to administrative duties. These individuals were labeled teachers for purposes of t his study. In any event, the difference between teachers and administrators in this work proved not to be crucial, since each reported willingly and convincingly on their own actions and beliefs a nd those of their supervisors or subordinates. Teachers were selected by a purposeful sampling fro m among those who were considered to be well-situated informants. For the purposes of this study, teachers who qualified for participation were those who had at least five year s teaching experience and at least three years experience in their present school. Another criteri on was to have a variety of subject areas represented. Each principal or head of school was a sked to prepare a roster of full-time teachers from which the sample could be drawn. The interview s were conducted in the spring of the school year and pressures that naturally occur in a ll schools as they prepare for graduation and final exams precluded any scientific selection of i nterviewees. The reality of school life meant that principals or heads either asked for volunteer s at faculty meetings, through department heads, or asked particular teachers if they would b e willing to participate in the study. It is unlikely that a more scientific selection of interv iewees would have resulted in any important differences in the outcome.Data Collection Good research practice obligates the researcher to triangulate, that is, to use multiple methods and data sources to enhance the validity of research findings. Mathison (1988) advised ". . it is necessary to use multiple methods and sources of data in the execution of a study in order to withstand critique by colleagues" (p. 13). For this reason, multiple methods and sources of data collection were employed. Interview protoco ls were developed in such a manner that included, but of course was not limited to, questio ns from the High School and Beyond Survey (Moles, 1988) and Blase's (1991) study of power rel ationships between principals and teachers. It is the questions from the High School and Beyond (H SB) Administrator and Teacher Survey upon which Chubb and Moe (1991) based their index o f teacher and administrator autonomy. An interview protocol was designed (see Table 1)to explore these and related issues and utilized open-ended questions and probes. The purpo se was to elicit reflective answers that go further than the type of surface response typically produced by a mailed survey. Table 1Administrator and Teacher Interview ProtocolsAdministrator Protocol1. Can you tell me about an incident that happened to you or someone you know in which your work life was influenced or shaped by the .... (the n A through L below). For example, staffing decisions, budget allocations, scheduling of classe s, how you deal with discipline or behavioral problems, decisions about pursuing advan ced degrees, how parent communications

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3 of 5are handled? A. superintendentB. department chairC. school boardD. state or federal programs or regulationsE. North Central or AIS (Association of Independent Schools) F. legal or judicial judgmentsG. parentsH. professional organization with which you identif y; teacher's association I. inservice training or your own continued educati on J. studentsK. colleaguesL. colleges 2. Describe the degree of control and discretion yo u are able to exercise over each of the following activities: A. establishing curriculum; B. determining instructional methods used in the cl assroom; C. allocating funds; D. hiring new, full-time teachers. 3. My research is directed at a current debate in e ducation. It is claimed (by Chubb & Moe) that: A). Private school teachers have greater autonomy t o innovate, adapt curriculum and teaching to meet the needs of their students, a nd that in doing so they are primarily influenced by the students and the parent s and not by school bureaucracy.Whereas:B). Public school teachers are subjected to a varie ty of influences and pressures that restrict their autonomy in meeting students' n eeds; among these influences are: 1.) state and federal regulations;2.) unions;3.) court orders or the threat of litigation;4.) organizational rules called "bureaucracy." What do you think of this? (Probe: For example, sug gest he or she compare Private school X and Public school Y in respect to the above questio n. Or ask the interviewee to imagine Public school Y and Private school X being the same size, then how would teacher autonomy differ between them, if it would at all.)Teacher Protocol1. Can you tell me about an incident that happened to you or someone you know in which your work life was influenced or shaped by the .... (the n A through L)? For example, your selection of curriculum materials, what you teach or how you teach, how you group students, how you deal with discipline or behavioral problems, how yo ur classes are scheduled, decisions about pursuing advanced degrees, how parent communication s are handled?

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4 of 5 A. superintendentB. department chairC. state or federal programs or regulationsD. school boardE. North Central or AIS (Association of Independent Schools) F. legal or judicial judgmentsG. parentsH. professional organization with which you identif y; teachers association I. inservice training or your own continued educati on J. studentsK. colleaguesL. colleges 2. Can you describe, out of your own experience or that of someone you know directly, a creative attempt made to improve the classroom, tea ching methods, the curriculum, or student achievement that was thwarted or substantially alte red by any of these (A-G in Question 1) sources of influence?3. Can you describe for me a failed attempt by any of these sources to influence you that you resisted? (repeat A-G to remind participant of cate gories to consider) What are the ways that you have been able to work around those influences?4. What does it mean to you when people talk about bureaucratic constraints on teachers? Interviews were tape recorded and transcribed. Sub stantive field notes were maintained and reviewed at the end of each on-site visit and i nterview. All interviews were conducted by the author. Documents that were examined included Teach er's Handbook or Policy Guide, marketing brochures, school board and faculty meeting minutes government regulations, and other printed matter deemed relevant to this study.Data Analysis Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed ver batim with dialog attributed to each speaker. Data derived from these extensive intervie ws, field notes, and documentation were reviewed for recurring themes utilizing the constan t comparative method (Glaser, 1978; Bogdan & Biklen, 1982). Transcripts of the interviews were read repeatedly in a search for quotations that transcended the idiosyncrasies of individual c ircumstances and thus suggested a theme or idea about autonomy. It proved useful during the pr ocess to create charts as an aid to data reduction and analysis. Data display (Miles & Huber man, 1984; Wolcott, 1990) allows for the sorting and categorization of data in a way that se emingly discrete data may be linked in previously unrecognized ways. A grid was devised by which to organize and identify objects of influence on teachers and principals and the source of those influences. Developing themes were labeled and evidence was categorized accordingly. T hen, quotations were extracted from transcripts and collected into files, with each fil e representing a distinct idea or theme. Quotations in files retained identifying codes that linked the quotation to its source interview. These "theme files" or categories were then read, e dited and organized into a core set of ideas about teacher and principal autonomy. The core set of ideas was then reorganized by coalescing, splitting or eliminating themes until a satisfactor y framework for reporting the findings was obtained. The interpretation of categories became the basis for formulating a framework for conceptualizing the differences that may or may not exist between principals' and teachers' sense of autonomy and control in private and public schoo l settings. The conceptual framework was

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5 of 5used to describe the ways in which public and priva te school teachers and principals share a perception of autonomy, where they are different, a nd how they experience constraints on their autonomy. In this study, the analysis of data and the reporti ng of interpretations are uniquely tied together. Below under Findings, each quotation that illustrates a concept of the interpretative framework is hyperlinked to the transcript of the i nterview in which it appears. By clicking on the icon beside each quotation, the reader can move to the quotation in the context of the full interview from which it was extracted. This feature of presentation of findings allows a check on the interpretation by the reader. In addition, the full text of all interviews is available to anyone who wishes to reanalyze the original data.

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1 of 5 Sandra Rubin Glass: "Markets & Myths"Vol. 5 No. 1 Education Policy Analysis ArchivesMethods The methods employed in this investigation were th ose of the multi-site qualitative case study: interviews from multiple data sources, obser vations and field notes from a variety of on-site meetings and visits, and analysis of docume nts (brochures, teacher handbooks, policy manuals, meeting agendas). An intensive study of th ree secondary schools of each type (public and private) was conducted. Fourteen private school teachers, fifteen public school teachers and their associated principals, heads, and assistants were interviewed at each site. Site Selection To sharpen the boundaries of this exploration, I f ocused on the type of private schools known as "independent" schools. There are two analy tic advantages to this selection (Powell, 1990, p. 113). First, compared to the full range of private schools, independent schools are less inculcated with denominational religion and, theref ore, operate in an environment more like the legal circumstances of public schools. Because they are the most expensive of the private schools, they are chosen by families who can afford any type of school, public or private. The fact that such schools serve primarily high-income families reflects a population that has the financial ability to choose a type of school based on preference provides the second advantage. They are the most privileged private schools, which then served as a guide by which to identify particular public schools which became their compar ison group. Public schools located in the most affluent school districts serve a type of high income family similar to those who patronize independent schools. These public schools, therefor e, came under consideration for selection for this study. Another criterion for site selection was secondary schools that focus on academics. The selection of private schools was based on their acc reditation or application for accreditation by North Central Association as college preparatory (N orth Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 1990). A focus on academic excellence is t he key marketing strategy of these schools as evidenced in brochures describing their mission to prospective clients. Graduation rates and percentages of students applying to college are the best descriptors of academic excellence in the public high schools. The state department of educat ion and the district office of each of the three public secondary schools served as sources for thes e data. Recommendations by educational specialists were also given consideration. The three private schools selected were located in two cities in the same state in the southwestern United States. A similar process was u sed to gain access to public secondary schools; however, the initial contact was sometimes made through a district level administrator. The three public schools are located in very differ ent sections of the same city and vary in the length of time they have been in existence.Informant Selection Interview data were collected from approximately t hirty teachers and their associated administrators at each school. The number of inform ants contacted was guided by the understanding that each participant provides inform ation about the conditions under which they and their colleagues work; therefore, they actually inform the researcher of the actions and beliefs of a few or many more.

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2 of 5 The line which separates administrator from teache r in the private school is often unclear since many serve in both capacities. In one school selected, it is required that each administrator, except for the head, teach at least one class. It w as explained that this requirement kept all administrators in touch with the needs of the stude nts. Coincidentally, the requirement has some financial advantages for the school as well. In the se cases, those who were labeled teachers are those whose primary responsibility is teaching. If only one class was taught and the primary responsibility was administration, the individual w as considered an administrator. Department chairs in one public secondary school in this study have the equivalent of half-time teaching responsibilities with the remainder of their time b eing delegated to administrative duties. These individuals were labeled teachers for purposes of t his study. In any event, the difference between teachers and administrators in this work proved not to be crucial, since each reported willingly and convincingly on their own actions and beliefs a nd those of their supervisors or subordinates. Teachers were selected by a purposeful sampling fro m among those who were considered to be well-situated informants. For the purposes of this study, teachers who qualified for participation were those who had at least five year s teaching experience and at least three years experience in their present school. Another criteri on was to have a variety of subject areas represented. Each principal or head of school was a sked to prepare a roster of full-time teachers from which the sample could be drawn. The interview s were conducted in the spring of the school year and pressures that naturally occur in a ll schools as they prepare for graduation and final exams precluded any scientific selection of i nterviewees. The reality of school life meant that principals or heads either asked for volunteer s at faculty meetings, through department heads, or asked particular teachers if they would b e willing to participate in the study. It is unlikely that a more scientific selection of interv iewees would have resulted in any important differences in the outcome.Data Collection Good research practice obligates the researcher to triangulate, that is, to use multiple methods and data sources to enhance the validity of research findings. Mathison (1988) advised ". . it is necessary to use multiple methods and sources of data in the execution of a study in order to withstand critique by colleagues" (p. 13). For this reason, multiple methods and sources of data collection were employed. Interview protoco ls were developed in such a manner that included, but of course was not limited to, questio ns from the High School and Beyond Survey (Moles, 1988) and Blase's (1991) study of power rel ationships between principals and teachers. It is the questions from the High School and Beyond (H SB) Administrator and Teacher Survey upon which Chubb and Moe (1991) based their index o f teacher and administrator autonomy. An interview protocol was designed (see Table 1)to explore these and related issues and utilized open-ended questions and probes. The purpo se was to elicit reflective answers that go further than the type of surface response typically produced by a mailed survey. Table 1Administrator and Teacher Interview ProtocolsAdministrator Protocol1. Can you tell me about an incident that happened to you or someone you know in which your work life was influenced or shaped by the .... (the n A through L below). For example, staffing decisions, budget allocations, scheduling of classe s, how you deal with discipline or behavioral problems, decisions about pursuing advan ced degrees, how parent communications

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3 of 5are handled? A. superintendentB. department chairC. school boardD. state or federal programs or regulationsE. North Central or AIS (Association of Independent Schools) F. legal or judicial judgmentsG. parentsH. professional organization with which you identif y; teacher's association I. inservice training or your own continued educati on J. studentsK. colleaguesL. colleges 2. Describe the degree of control and discretion yo u are able to exercise over each of the following activities: A. establishing curriculum; B. determining instructional methods used in the cl assroom; C. allocating funds; D. hiring new, full-time teachers. 3. My research is directed at a current debate in e ducation. It is claimed (by Chubb & Moe) that: A). Private school teachers have greater autonomy t o innovate, adapt curriculum and teaching to meet the needs of their students, a nd that in doing so they are primarily influenced by the students and the parent s and not by school bureaucracy.Whereas:B). Public school teachers are subjected to a varie ty of influences and pressures that restrict their autonomy in meeting students' n eeds; among these influences are: 1.) state and federal regulations;2.) unions;3.) court orders or the threat of litigation;4.) organizational rules called "bureaucracy." What do you think of this? (Probe: For example, sug gest he or she compare Private school X and Public school Y in respect to the above questio n. Or ask the interviewee to imagine Public school Y and Private school X being the same size, then how would teacher autonomy differ between them, if it would at all.)Teacher Protocol1. Can you tell me about an incident that happened to you or someone you know in which your work life was influenced or shaped by the .... (the n A through L)? For example, your selection of curriculum materials, what you teach or how you teach, how you group students, how you deal with discipline or behavioral problems, how yo ur classes are scheduled, decisions about pursuing advanced degrees, how parent communication s are handled?

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4 of 5 A. superintendentB. department chairC. state or federal programs or regulationsD. school boardE. North Central or AIS (Association of Independent Schools) F. legal or judicial judgmentsG. parentsH. professional organization with which you identif y; teachers association I. inservice training or your own continued educati on J. studentsK. colleaguesL. colleges 2. Can you describe, out of your own experience or that of someone you know directly, a creative attempt made to improve the classroom, tea ching methods, the curriculum, or student achievement that was thwarted or substantially alte red by any of these (A-G in Question 1) sources of influence?3. Can you describe for me a failed attempt by any of these sources to influence you that you resisted? (repeat A-G to remind participant of cate gories to consider) What are the ways that you have been able to work around those influences?4. What does it mean to you when people talk about bureaucratic constraints on teachers? Interviews were tape recorded and transcribed. Sub stantive field notes were maintained and reviewed at the end of each on-site visit and i nterview. All interviews were conducted by the author. Documents that were examined included Teach er's Handbook or Policy Guide, marketing brochures, school board and faculty meeting minutes government regulations, and other printed matter deemed relevant to this study.Data Analysis Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed ver batim with dialog attributed to each speaker. Data derived from these extensive intervie ws, field notes, and documentation were reviewed for recurring themes utilizing the constan t comparative method (Glaser, 1978; Bogdan & Biklen, 1982). Transcripts of the interviews were read repeatedly in a search for quotations that transcended the idiosyncrasies of individual c ircumstances and thus suggested a theme or idea about autonomy. It proved useful during the pr ocess to create charts as an aid to data reduction and analysis. Data display (Miles & Huber man, 1984; Wolcott, 1990) allows for the sorting and categorization of data in a way that se emingly discrete data may be linked in previously unrecognized ways. A grid was devised by which to organize and identify objects of influence on teachers and principals and the source of those influences. Developing themes were labeled and evidence was categorized accordingly. T hen, quotations were extracted from transcripts and collected into files, with each fil e representing a distinct idea or theme. Quotations in files retained identifying codes that linked the quotation to its source interview. These "theme files" or categories were then read, e dited and organized into a core set of ideas about teacher and principal autonomy. The core set of ideas was then reorganized by coalescing, splitting or eliminating themes until a satisfactor y framework for reporting the findings was obtained. The interpretation of categories became the basis for formulating a framework for conceptualizing the differences that may or may not exist between principals' and teachers' sense of autonomy and control in private and public schoo l settings. The conceptual framework was

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5 of 5used to describe the ways in which public and priva te school teachers and principals share a perception of autonomy, where they are different, a nd how they experience constraints on their autonomy. In this study, the analysis of data and the reporti ng of interpretations are uniquely tied together. Below under Findings, each quotation that illustrates a concept of the interpretative framework is hyperlinked to the transcript of the i nterview in which it appears. By clicking on the icon beside each quotation, the reader can move to the quotation in the context of the full interview from which it was extracted. This feature of presentation of findings allows a check on the interpretation by the reader. In addition, the full text of all interviews is available to anyone who wishes to reanalyze the original data.

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1 of 5 Sandra Rubin Glass: "Markets & Myths"Vol. 5 No. 1 Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe Schools Three independent secondary, college preparatory s chools and three public secondary schools were studied. Four of them are located in o ne large city, two in another. Independent high schools are defined as those being nonreligious a nd, in this study, college preparatory. St. John's College Preparatory School St. John's is an independent, coeducational, colle gepreparatory school located in a quiet neighborhood in a city of nearly a half-million pop ulation in the southwestern United States. The grounds were originally a residence in a neighborho od more than a century old, although the school itself did not open until 1980. By a quirk o f geography, the school is now located in an area marked by the influx of affluent families. The population of St. John's is more than 90% Anglo. The school has devised programs to entice gr eater student diversity; these efforts have met with little success. It has increased its Hispa nic population to nearly 10% although the city in which it is located is as much as one-third Hispani c. Once recruited, many students tend to remain. Over half of last year's graduating seniors completed all four years of high school at St. John's. The withdrawal rate is low, only 1 to 2% an nually. As of the 1990-91 school year, there were 22 fulltime teachers (11 women and 11 men) and 10 part-time teachers (five women and five men) The school reports that 23 of the 28 members of the faculty have masters degrees and thr ee hold doctorates. The ratio of teachers to students is one for every nine. Full-time teachers are required to teach five classes. The teaching loads average between 63 and 65 students per teache r. The head of school held this position at St. John's for four years. He has over 25 years of expe rience in similar positions at three other independent secondary schools. He holds both a bach elors and masters degree from a prestigious eastern university. The position of head of school is described in St. John's self-study in part as one who "administers the school according to the po licies set by the board of trustees" and has "complete authority for faculty, staff, and student selection, evaluation, and dismissal." Other administrators include an assistant head and dean o f students. Both report directly to the head and, upon request, to the Board of Trustees. The he ad of school fulfills both the superintendent and principal functions of a public school system. Tuition for the 1991-92 school year is listed as $ 6,650 for high school students. Students will incur additional costs for books and certain s pecial events or trips. Some share of the funds, raised through annual giving, is allocated by the b oard to provide financial aid in the form of need-based scholarships. Student admissions decisio ns are made by an Admissions Committee. Qualifications for admission are based on admission s test scores (the Stanford Achievement Test is used), a transcript from previous schools attend ed, former teacher references, and a personal interview. No precise standards on these criteria a re publicly stated. Verde Valley Country Day School Verde Valley Country Day School has the longest hi story of any independent school in the state. It began as a ranch style boarding school in the thirties, then closed its resident department and changed its mission to that of a four-year coll ege preparatory high school. Verde Valley Country Day School is a non-sectarian, co-education al, college preparatory day school for students from grades 4 to 12. The school is located in a residential community which has seen the

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2 of 5more affluent families migrate to newer areas of de velopment within this growing city of nearly a halfmillion population. Verde Valley Country Day School has a total studen t population of 188 for the 1991-92 school year; 105 of those are high school students. The student population is predominantly Anglo despite efforts to increase the ethnic mix in the school. The board and administration wish to attract a student and faculty population more re presentative of the city in which the school is located. All three of the independent schools in th is study publish a lengthy list of elite colleges to which their graduates have been accepted. Verde Valley Country Day School's full school facu lty totals 24 full-time and 12 part-time teachers. Many of its high school faculty also have teaching responsibilities in the Middle Level School as is common in the other private schools in this study. Most teachers hold a bachelors degree; many hold one or more masters; a few hold P hD degrees. The administrative staff consists of the head of school, director of admissi ons, director of development, business manager, and assistant head. As is the case with ea ch of the private schools in this study, the head functions as both superintendent and principal when compared to the public school system. Verde Valley Country Day School's Self Study states : "It should be noted that the key function of a head in an independent school is raising money an d there is no question regarding this duty in either assessment [of the head in superintendent or principal roles]." Tuition for all grades at Verde Valley Country Day School is $6,670 per year. Additional expenses include books, various field trips, a week -long program held each spring, and bus transportation. Financial assistance is allocated b y a committee and based on need. Published information from the school states: "Each year a su bstantial portion of the school budget is allocated to financial assistance, making such assi stance available to more than 35% of the student body, with grants in aid ranging from 90% t o 7% of tuition for the year." Students are accepted for admissions to Verde Valley Country Day School on the basis of transcripts and standardized test scores from their previous school s, an aptitude test administered by Verde Valley Country Day School, recommendations from pre vious teachers, and an interview. Crestwood Country Day School Crestwood Country Day School is an independent, co -educational, college-preparatory day school for students from Pre-Kindergarten to gr ade 12. Of its total enrollment of 575 students, 169 are enrolled in secondary school. The school was founded over thirty years ago at its current location in an affluent residential sub urban area imbedded in a city with a population of approximately two million. It enjoys a long and distinguished reputation in the area and is the only independent high school in or adjacent to that city. It competes only with public and parochial schools for its students and is generally viewed as an elite school by the community. Unlike the casual attire worn by the administrators at St. John's College Preparatory School and Verde Valley Country Day School, the male administr ators are often seen wearing ties and jackets; the female administrators customarily wear suits. The philosophy of Crestwood Country Day School, as expressed by the assistant to the he ad, is one of a non-profit business accommodating the needs and wishes of its clients. The assistant to the head is also the director of admissions. Crestwood Country Day School's student population is primarily Anglo although programs of financial aid exist to encourage a more diverse student body. Graduating classes average 40 students each year with 99% enrolling in four-year colleges immediately. Eighty percent of those students attend colleges out of st ate. Crestwood Country Day School is proud to include in its marketing materials a lengthy list o f elite colleges to which graduates are accepted Crestwood Country Day School employs 20 academic f aculty in the Upper School. It is unknown how many of these teachers are full time. M asters degrees or higher are held by 80% of

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3 of 5this faculty. Each administrator, with the exceptio n of the head of school, is required to teach at least one course. The result is a teacher-student r atio of one to nine. Some of the administrators who are responsible for the Upper School serve the same function for the entire school. For example, the director of admissions is responsible for managing admissions for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade admissions. The top administrato r is a woman with previous experience in the same position at eastern private schools who pr efers the title "Head of School." She has been head of Crestwood Country Day School for seven year s. There is a director of admissions who also has responsibilities as an assistant to the he ad of school. Tuition for Crestwood Country Day School's Upper S chool students is $8,500. Students are also required to buy their books and may incur fees for special activities. The Board of Trustees has allocated a portion of the school's op erating costs to provide an active need-based financial aid program. In its marketing materials, Crestwood Country Day School clearly states that it "maintains a policy of selective admissions, recognizing that there is a range of students the School's programs serve best." Students are admitted based o n an interview, testing and, presumably, other unstated criteria. Admissions decisions are m ade by the director of admissions and his assistant. The head chooses to participate when cer tain cases are considered. Sunset High School Sunset is a large, modern public high school housi ng approximately 2400 students. The state department lists the graduation rate at 83% w ith one of the ten lowest drop-out rates in the state. During the current school year, eleven Natio nal Merit finalists were identified. It is known in the community for having high academic standards and successful students. The community is primarily Anglo and affluent. The principal describ es the student population as being 99% Anglo and possibly 1%, no more than 2%, other which would include African-American, Hispanic, and Asian students. While the district is largely middl e to upper middle class, it contains small pockets of lower middle to low income families. Amo ng the goals outlined for the school in its Teacher Policy Handbook is a commitment to "make a significant contribution to the needs of collegebound students . and to maintain eff ective communication with students and parents "to best meet the educational needs of each student ." The superintendent has earned a national reputatio n for effective management and promoting academic excellence in the schools. She w orks well with the Board and the very active local Teachers Association. Policy is set by the Bo ard with the guidance of the superintendent. The superintendent is then charged with the impleme ntation of those policies. The implementation of these policies within each school is delegated to each principal. Teachers in the classroom are thus distanced from the Board by these layers of administration. The Board meets twice monthly to carry out their charge much of which is prescribed by the State Department of Education and applies to each of the public high schools in this study. Policies of the district are to be in harmony with state statut es. The state also determines the number of board members (five), term of office (four years), assumption of office, and fiscal year. Many of the board duties involve financial decisions, prope rty management, and personnel discipline issues. There are about 100 certified staff on the faculty of Sunset High School. They teach five classes a day and are limited to 160 contacts [stud ents] per day. This means they average 32 students per class. Most teachers have been with th e school since its beginnings, many have served in the district throughout their careers.Portales High School

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4 of 5 Much like Verde Valley Country Day School, Portale s suffers from the migration of many of its more affluent families to the suburban areas of the city. It still retains a reputation for hig h academic standards, high graduation rate, and a sig nificant number of National Merit Scholars. The community is facing a widening encroachment of lower middle to low income families, many of whom speak primarily Spanish. The student b ody reflects the community. It is about 90% Anglo, the remainder being primarily Hispanic a nd a few African-Americans. There are 980 students attending Portales in the 1991-92 school y ear. The roles of the superintendent and board are iden tical for Portales, Sunset, and Montevideo High Schools. Their responsibilities of each are mandated by the state. There are 43 faculty at Portales; about 55 if libr arians, counselors, and part-time teachers are included. It is a mature staff, most of whom ha ve worked within the district, if not the same school, for much of their teaching careers. Many ho ld advanced degrees as is prevalent in public schools where salary is tied to both years of exper ience and continuing education. Teachers are responsible for five classes and have between 25 an d 30 students per class. The student-teacher ratio is 25.5 to 1. Portales has recently embarked on a move toward site-based management in which the principal encourages shared decision-maki ng. Decisions, including the hiring of new faculty, are made by a group or team of those who h ave a stake in the outcome. The current principal has two histories with the s chool, the past and the current. He had been principal from 1979 to 1987 including the peri od of the closure controversy. It was a time when the parents clearly made a choice for their co mmunity school. The principal left for a district level administrative position only to be r ecruited back as principal when his successor was removed under unclear circumstances. Most teach ers report the removal was due to his inability to work with faculty in shared decision-m aking, others state a legal controversy around athletics. While the current principal appears ambi valent about his return to Portales, it is apparent that his quiet demeanor and stated trust i n the competence of the faculty endears him to the teachers.Montevideo High School Although Montevideo was established as a high scho ol seventeen years ago, it was housed within an existing district high school for its fir st year which required conducting a year of double sessions. The first graduating class, theref ore, did not graduate from the present facility. After that first year, Montevideo has been housed a t its own facility on its own campus. Its current principal opened the school and has remaine d with it until his retirement scheduled for the end of the current school year. The school community is composed of middle to uppe r middle class families. The current student population of 2750 reflects the larger comm unity, essentially Anglo and either LDS (Latter Day Saints or Mormon) or Catholic. Approxim ately 93% of the students are Anglo, the remainder include a small number of Asian, AfricanAmerican, and Hispanic students. The graduation rate is over 90%. The current school yea r has produced eleven National Merit Scholars. The district spends approximately $3400 p er student. Early in the school's history, the assistant super intendent of the district began a study of the community by asking, "When your students gradua te, what do you think they should have learned?" The school was, thus, established as an o utcomes-based school from the beginning. Parent expectations have been reaffirmed three time s since this first study utilizing a survey of parents and students. Through the survey, parents n ot only described their expectations, but they also ranked them in importance. While the principal has complete control over his budget, he dislikes this role and prefers being an instructional leader, working with teacher s and parents, and conducting long-range planning. He claimed almost unbridled autonomy in h is work noting, "If you produce a good

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5 of 5product, they're [district] going to leave you alon e." There are about 125 faculty who are described by t he principal as "damn good faculty . intelligent, dedicated." They give much of their ow n time for tutoring students and they all incorporate mastery learning. They teach five class es and average 142 students within that teaching load. Only five faculty members were assig ned to Montevideo, the remainder were essentially hired by the principal. Similar to each of the public schools in this study, the faculty i s mature with many teachers having accumulated their teaching experience within the district, if not within the same school. They run their departme nts much in the same way one would expect to observe in a business. The principal demonstrates confidence in those he has hired and allows teachers a tremendous amount of latitude. Teachers feel his su pport and express considerable freedom. In anticipation of his retirement, teachers report a g eneral feeling of anxiety over the question of who will replace this principal.Alike and Different The six schools that participated in this study sh are some important characteristics, yet differ in a number of equally important ways. All s erve primarily middle to upper-middle class clientele who are racially homogeneous. This charac teristic is a result of two distinct factors: public school locations in relatively expensive res idential communities and high tuition charged by private schools. All six schools are oriented to ward college preparation. Each boasts of high graduation rates with large numbers of students acc epted to both in-state and out-of-state colleges, including many elite colleges. Many stude nts are academically motivated and earn academic recognition on both the state and national level. Parents are actively involved in the school, participating on the school board or on any number of committees. They are welcomed on each campus and their voices are heard. The pare nts are described by each principal or head as being generally well-educated and, consequently, un derstand how to get what they want through either the private or public school system. The schools are remarkably different in size. The three public schools are all much larger than the three independent schools in both the size of the campus and student population. It is perhaps because of size that the public schools inc lude a district level in their organization. Another difference is the amount spent to educate e ach child. Per pupil spending varies between public ($3400, $3700, $4000) and private ($6,650, $ 6,670, $8,500). While the public schools are forced to function and provide educational services to its students within its means, the private schools depend on fundraising to supplement tuition so as to cover the true cost of educating each of its students. Public schools are mandated t o provide an education to all students, whereas private schools are selective of students and their parents.

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1 of 19 Sandra Rubin Glass: "Markets & Myths"Vol. 5 No. 1 Education Policy Analysis ArchivesFindings: Teachers' and Administrators' Perceptions of Their Autonomy This section presents a discussion of teacher and administrator beliefs about autonomy. In a subsequent section, teacher and administrator bel iefs about constraints to autonomy are examined. Teachers and administrators in both public and pri vate schools reported, to a strikingly similar degree, a general feeling of autonomy. Teac hers describe ways in which they experience autonomy: opportunities to participate in decisionmaking, support from the administration, and the ability to work around or ignore selected polic ies. School administrators also tell of having a sense of autonomy. Participants in this study descr ibed the effects of organizational size on their feelings of autonomy, how the administration acts t o protect their autonomy, and the effects of teachers associations on autonomy. Their conversati ons brought to light the question of autonomy versus like-mindedness.Teachers and Principals Experience AutonomyI chart my own course through my pinball machine of life and I don't hit the bumpers unless I want to hit the bumpers. Throughout the interviews numerous instances of ex pressions of autonomy can be found. Teachers in private and public school settings freq uently expressed great difficulty, even frustration, in trying to rank the areas of control in their classroom work life. Participants in this study reflected Sedlak and others' (1986) contentio n that teachers today enjoy more freedom and autonomy than their predecessors (p.115). Certainly stipulations about professional codes of conduct of the 19th and early 20th century, sometim es viciously enforced by unbending administrators, are no longer the standard. The exp eriences reported by teachers in this study support the popular belief further pointed out by S edlak and others (1986) that once they close their classroom doors, teachers are "able to exerci se enormous discretion" (p.121). Public school teachers join private school teachers as they descr ibe their sense of autonomy: I'll tell you what; we as teachers have a lot to sa y about all of these [items listed on questionnaire]. So, I would want to say that up fro nt. It's kind of hard [to respond to the questionnaire] because I think . I could have number one, most control, on all of them; on e very single one of them. [Click on the icon to the right to see this quotati on in the context of the original interview.] They are joined in their views by private school te achers: I'm very autonomous actually as far as my own class room goes. In terms of my autonomy--you can see from my respon ses there--I feel a great sense of autonomy here. Participation in the decision-making process.

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2 of 19 Teachers in both public and private schools find e xpression of control through participation in curriculum or policysetting comm ittees. Many feel encouraged by the school administration to participate in decision-making; o thers feel they can participate by direct communication with the principal or head of school. Public school teachers described opportunities for participation in school decisions : In this district, anything that becomes policy has input from the teachers. . There are ongoing committees, and they are made up of a conglomerate of representatives. We have advisory boards in various areas. I think our school is one that utilizes teachers.What we have gone to is a system where the faculty itself has more of a hands-on approach to the administration of their particular program rather than going through chairs. Chairs still exist, but we are more of a lo cal autonomy school now. We have a committee that meets and decides things with the principal. A public school principal reported: Everything that I do is a collection of information and input from teachers in this building, the department chair people in this building . They give me an awful lot of input. I'm constantly asking them for direction. Private school administrators talked about how tea chers are encouraged to create avenues of participation: The faculty have a big role in curriculum developme nt . and usually it's a grass roots kind of thing . . curriculum change comes from faculty within the department . .There are many decisions that I'll just leave up to the faculty. The bottom line is that if you're going to have anything happen, yo u have to have the people who are responsible for enforcing it . part of the decision-making process. A teacher in a private school typified the feeling s of many in the small private school where faculty members feel and act like family memb ers: If the headmaster does something which offends me, I go to the headmaster and we work it out. Yet this same teacher allowed, I would say the majority of the senior faculty are at a stage where they know even if he [head] doesn't like what I say I have a right to say it and he needs to listen to it . . Junior faculty might be a litt le too young to handle that. Administrator support and encouragement. Teachers in great numbers report they feel freedom in their work life because the principal or head or department chair has confidence in their expertise in content area and teaching skills. These are, in most instances, the very same princip als and heads of school who hired those teachers in the first place. A school head tells ho w private school teachers gain autonomy:

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3 of 19 . [I] find very well qualified people with good imaginations to create good curriculum, and I support them and give them all th e encouragement in the world to be able to do that. Private school teachers described the atmosphere o f autonomy due to administrative support: [We have] highly competent people. [The administrat ion] lets them do their work and they either stay away by design or they are so busy they don't have too much time to get involved.I just really feel that she [department chair] has confidence in me and I have a pretty free reign. Administrators have confidence in those they selec ted to be part of the school family. Yet, some teachers admit that this confidence may be ten uous. Support is evident as long as there are no parent complaints. Autonomy and administrative a ttention are felt by these teachers, but with the caveat added by McNeil (1986): "as long as the school runs smoothly". A private school teacher confirmed: The headmaster's role here--I look on it that he is very encouraging, that the office handles details like the scheduling and that kind o f thing, but as far as how I run my classroom, it is pretty much up to me. I have a fee ling that if there were a lot of parental complaints, I know I would hear about it. As far as structuring my curriculum, my teaching methods, even the way I han dle discipline, I am pretty much free--as long as the head feels that I'm effec tive in what I do. Private school teachers respond to the invitation of their administrators to utilize their perceived autonomy: Every creative thing that I've ever attempted has b een encouraged at this school and people love my ideas and I've tried some pretty you know, some things that I'm taking some risks doing.I get to design the whole course for the year of wh at I'm going to do in my classroom myself. I mean people know I've got a bod y of knowledge that I'm an expert at. A public school teacher added: He [principal] really relies on the department chai rs . .and as a department chair, I rely on what the teachers in my department want. It's a lot better way of communication and they feel like they have input; I feel like I've got input. Another public school teacher shared: All the principals that I have had have trusted me as a professional to handle my professional work the way I see fit. I have never h ad anyone tell me specifically what to do. Ignore selected rules and regulations.

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4 of 19 Despite what might be construed as constraints imp osed by the larger bureaucracy of state departments of education on public schools or large district level administrations, public school teachers frequently maintain autonomy. They take co ntrol by ignoring, working around supposed constraints, or using what Sedlak and others (1986) refer to as "passive circumvention" (p.120). Using such methods, teachers are able to experience freedom in a bureaucracy that is unable to monitor actions or provide consequences for offende rs. Kozol (1981) found that "imaginative teachers . have used their ingenuity and skill in order to arrive at a way out [of following mandates]" (p. 51). Indeed federal, state, and dist rict regulations may operate in such a way as to limit the range of possibilities available to teach ers; but, as Ball (1987) noted, "They certainly do not exercise absolute control within that range" (p 247). A public school department chair stated: His [district administrator's] proposal was to decr ease failure rates by changing the syllabus, by changing what we do. Of course, th is is one we would love to mount the barricades for, and I side-stepped it at this school . by finding a creative way to enhance student performance in a real sense. . something called an Algebra Homework Initiative. . It reduced our failure r ate by about 50%. It really side-stepped the issue of failure rate without dilu ting the curriculum to accomplish it. Another public school teacher related: Individual teachers pretty well make up their mind as to which text they are going to use. The state has a list that they give o ut to districts. The department discusses the different kinds of textbook . . b ut individual teachers [make their own choices]. I teach from an entirely different te xtbook than my fellow teachers at [the other high schools in the district]. The same teacher went on to discuss the effects of a state mandated curriculum: The coursework that you are to teach and the other requirements that you have to have by law are really minimal. . You have t he standard things you go by ... but for the most part, it is pretty much that y ou do your own thing. Even those teachers in private schools not subject to the same government mandated policies as apply to public schools, also find them selves in the position of ignoring or working around school policy to preserve control of their w ork life: There are certainly plenty of rules and policies th at I don't agree with, but very often I just ignore them. . in the faculty hand book, teachers are supposed to wear shoes, not sneakers. So I wear them [sneakers] and nobody says anything and that's that.One time they [school administrators] imposed an in -service program on us. We behaved so badly they have, since then, let us d etermine what goes into them. So I would say currently we have a great deal of control. I resist bitterly and strongly changing my teaching style . I resist and I do it either overtly by speaking out--expressing it; or, if that fails, one can very simply do it covertly in the classroom. Simply not do it. This last response is exactly what Ball (1987) ref erred to as "omissive action;" simply not to do what one is instructed to do ( p. 268). The t eacher stated the obvious fact that behind the

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5 of 19 classroom door is where the greatest teacher autono my exists, whether public or private. Principals, heads of school, and other administrat ors also speak of feelings of autonomy. Although they may admit to sensing pressures from a n administration or state regulators from above or parents, they perceive themselves as chart ing their own courses on behalf of the faculty and students to whom they acknowledge a responsibil ity. Both public and private school administrators who participated in this study were mature individuals. They have many years of educational administration experience behind them a nd understood how to work within their given system. They know how to make the system, pub lic or private, work for them. In this sense, they were able to express a great deal of au tonomy. A public school principal spoke about his feelings of autonomy: There are always parents in asking for this, asking for that, wanting this . . I work personally on a scheme of a frame of reference that does not let or works at not letting people impact me. It's my own person al--my wellness program of "I'm not a yo-yo and I'm not a pinball machine. Heads of school firmly stated these convictions: It is our responsibility to be service-oriented and to be responsive to our parents, but it is not our responsibility to place them in the position of calling the shots. . Our job is to please, our job is t o serve, our job is not to allow parents to run the school.You can say I have a lot of authority and it would be a great deal on one hand. On the other hand, one could say the teachers have a great deal [of autonomy] determining what the curriculum is. There seems to be a conflict of ideas here. If tea chers are given a great deal of autonomy on issues of curriculum, hiring of faculty, and oth er policy issues, the autonomy of the principal is eroded. Powell (1990) questioned the compatibili ty of the an empowered principal who is to function as a leader and site-based organization wh ich empowers teachers. He suggested that one must forfeit some degree of autonomy for others to become empowered. Yet, as Apple and Teitelbaum (1986) found, within Weick's model of a loosely-coupled organization different types of professionals can retain control and authority w ithout changing or being changed by the decisions of other professionals. Teachers in publi c and private schools conduct their individual classrooms as they see fit without reducing the aut onomy of the principal. Organizational Size and AutonomyIn the public school we have a bigger organization so there may be more levels of bureaucracy because there are more people involved. Both public and private school teachers and their corresponding administrators describe a work life with few constraints on their autonomy. C ommon sense, however, dictates a focus on some obvious differences between the public and pri vate institutions which create different reasons for a feeling of freedom. An obvious differ ence between the public and private secondary schools in this study is their size. Montevideo, Su nset, and Portales High Schools have student populations of 2750, 2400, and 980, respectively. T he independent schools have populations of 275 (St. John's College Preparatory, grades 7 12) 104 (Verde Valley Country Day School, grades 9 12), and 169 (Crestwood Country Day Scho ol, grades 9 -12). Questions of size, who gets hired, the role of the principal and head of s chool will be discussed in terms of how public

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6 of 19 and private school teachers acquire autonomy. Some of the autonomy in curriculum matters reporte d by private school teachers derives not from the organizational structure but from the fact that private schools are small requiring fewer demands for cooperation and coordination amon g teachers teaching the same subjects. In this section the necessity of a standardized curric ulum to maintain continuity in large districts, layers of authority required of large organizations and response time will be discussed. These issues are matters of the size of an organization t hat distinguishes between a public and private high school. Curriculum decisions in large schools require disc ussion among the department faculty. The math department at Sunset High School, for exam ple, has a faculty of sixteen. Faculty representatives in each content area pursue curricu lum discussions with their counterparts in the other high schools within the district as well as c oordination with the middle schools which send students to the high schools. There is a close arti culation of curriculum to preserve continuity in both the scope of a subject and its sequence. Teach ers influence curriculum through participation on curriculum and textbook selection committees. Contrary to Lortie's (1975) description of the iso lation and separation of teachers into the eggcrate conception of teaching, teachers in modern high schools have centrally located conference and work areas. Each of the public schoo ls in this study had such a meeting area available for each subject area department. It is i n these areas that teachers held department meetings, met with students, conferred with parents collaborated on instructional and student needs, and prepared for instruction. A number of in terviews were conducted in rooms of this type. The small size of the private school preclude d a convenient area for teacher collaboration. A combination workroom and faculty lounge was where teachers could meet and confer unless a classroom were available. A new teacher to the public school is expected to build his or her course around a given district curriculum to maintain continuity among th e schools of a large district. While the public school expects teachers to follow the district curr iculum guides, they are just that-guides. An established curriculum does not mean there is no ro om for innovation. The presence of a curriculum does not deny creativity. An assistant p rincipal of a public school stated: I think it came out when we had district-wide curri culum meetings, when the high schools were talking to middle schools and oth er high schools and we sat in rooms made up of representatives of the various schools. We talked about their relationship in the curriculum. I think there was d iscussion about the rigidity and that you shouldn't impose this upon teachers, but let te achers be more creative. I think that discussion was there and I think the realizati on was there that you also are tied in to some curriculum guide. Teachers in public schools talked about how a dist rict curriculum does not constrain autonomy: On the district level we have curriculum that we mu st follow. . there is no specific pressure or anything like that, but in a d istrict the size of [ours] you have to have some coordination and articulation. . we have committees that work out curriculum problems, et cetera and select textb ooks . we are expected to abide by those guidelines. But I don't consider that to b e something that has come from on high. That is something that is logical. You would want all the schools in one district to basically follow the same core curriculum, but t he core curriculum is only meant to be about 60% of the curriculum. Forty per cent o f the curriculum we can decide on.

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7 of 19 In a private school, new teachers will generally d efine the curriculum predicated on their own content knowledge and interest. Because of smal ler faculty numbers, there may be two or three other teachers with whom to coordinate curric ulum; yet each teacher specializes in a particular facet of that content area. While each o f the three independent schools in this study have either a middle school or middle and elementar y school as part of its organization, students come from a variety of other schools. Consequently, coordination is a matter of interest only within the upper school. Any coordination of curric ulum is accomplished within the institution, as described by this private school teacher: I think we're all on the same track, which you migh t attribute to the fact that it is a small school. It is a college prep school. The y're [students] all basically going through the same thing, and that certainly co uld be a strong positive as opposed to a larger school, particularly a large pu blic school where you're serving many, many different peoples and one of those might be the college prep oriented students. It was during a discussion of size of the institut ion and teacher autonomy that the head of a private school stated: I stress that not only can they have the pleasure o f a great deal of autonomy here, they have the responsibility of it. No one wi ll hand them a course outline and for some candidates that's very uncomfortable . . They'll even say, "You mean no one will tell me what book to use and what mater ials to use?" Layers of bureaucracy appear to be necessary for t he functioning of large districts and large high schools. A principal of a public school plainly states, "In the public school we have a bigger organization so there may be more levels of bureaucracy because there are more people involved". Despite the large size of the public sch ools, autonomy need not be compromised as confirmed by many of the public school teachers and principals in this study. It is because of size that the department chair functions in a role simil ar to the principal in terms of leadership and support. The department chair involves teachers in decision-making and communicates their position to the principal. The chair can also be an other buffer to protect teachers from external pressures as will be discussed in the following sec tion. It is size that requires teachers to work together, as these public school teachers reported: The principal has picked department heads that are facilitators, that can help that department be cohesive and bring out the best in the people there. . he [chair] has an interest in everything and can build a rapport and make this a cohesive, dynamic group. No one is ever stuck with all the dribble courses. You know, we always laugh, "Into each life some freshme n must fall." I don't have a lot of department meetings because I 'm always seeing them . . I teach three classes and because it's such a large department, I can get out the rest of the day and be with them. I'll be in the cl assroom and I do most of the observations. I'm in the classroom even if I'm not observing, and that's when you really see what's going on anyway. It is generally acknowledged that size slows down the response time of problem solving or making changes in policy or curriculum. In a public school there often is a hierarchy to be accommodated: one or two levels of administration, perhaps the school board, committees, and others from whom response is necessary. A compariso n between public and private school life

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8 of 19 was made by a public school principal who had forme r experience as a head of school: I get frustrated here sometimes in that between the conceptualization of an idea and implementation it takes time; but the danger of the [private school setting] is that you are relying entirely on the head to mak e all those decisions. . It is not always so good . I'm not always right and somet imes I make mistakes. I think sometimes it's better if an idea is looked at caref ully, if it's bounced off other people . but I don't feel in most cases that our classro om teacher performance is held back by that. This same principal of a large public school state s: Things that hold back the classroom teacher perform ance probably deal with other factors to me. One deals with class size. . When I see the teacher too busy to go back and spend a few minutes with one, t wo or three kids, that's a problem. Principals Protecting Teacher AutonomyI guess that's the one thing about my department he ad, my principal, my superintendent; they don't crumble when there's a cranky parent. Although size of the institution plays a primary r ole in the perception of quality, the role it plays in the autonomy felt by public and private sc hool teachers and administrators is more complex. The roles of the principal or head, superi ntendent, school board, and department chair; teachers' association; and the determination of who gets hired all contribute to the sources of autonomy that can be found in schools. Contrary to the beliefs of some, administrators in both private and public schools often act more as buffers protecting teachers from pressures from outside groups than they act as sources of pressure themselves (Blase, 1991, p. 736). The i mage of the non-supportive administrator who saddles teachers with trivial tasks and burdensome paperwork (Boyer, 1983, p. 142) was not found among participants in this study. Nor was the re evidence of the type of principal that talks at and delivers commands to teachers or staff meeti ngs that concentrate on administrative details ignoring matters of educational policy as described by Boyer (1983, p. 224). In the private school, the role of the heads is su ch that they act as both superintendent and principal. They determine the philosophy of the sch ool and train the board as to their policy making and fiscal responsibilities. The head or sup erintendent, once hired by the board, is charged with seeing that the school board or board of trustees separates policy making function from that of the principal or head who sees to the daily management of the school. When heads or superintendents do their jobs well, the teachers feel no constraints from the school board or board of trustees. Teachers in both public and priv ate schools generally agreed that the board "stay[s] out of the daily running of the school," a s stated by a teacher in a private school. Another private school teacher opined: There's a layer between me and them [board of trust ees], and that layer is [head] and [assistant head]. . You know, I migh t be doing some things which are driven by board decisions and I just don't know it. The head of a private school added: We don't have an education committee on the board. I view an education

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9 of 19 committee on the board as potentially dangerous bec ause, in fact, there was one when I came and I let it die . that is an area where they can easily lose sight of their responsibility . when you have a formaliz ed structure it can get dangerous, as opposed to an informal structure where just some pa rents are saying that would be great if we has this or that . once you formali ze it, it can become a problem. A public school teacher acknowledged how the princ ipal worked on behalf of the teachers: Our principal was spearheading, and he did get perm ission of the board to do it, even though it meant working the system a littl e bit. It is a pilot program, but it's not being called that because, if it were called that, he would not be able to do it in the middle of the year. Principals, heads of school, and department chairs are generally seen by both public and private school teachers as being supportive and pro tecting them from external pressures. Knowing these buffers exist allows teachers greater flexibility and freedom in their work life. Public school teachers commented on the support and protection their administrators provide: I guess that's the one thing about my department he ad, my principal, my superintendent; they don't crumble when there's a c ranky parent. All the lines of communication are followed in a correct way, and I'm helped along the way. They don't give in to that parent, parental pressure whe n it's just a cranky person out there not getting their way. They're very articulate abou t it. They're very professional, but the buck does stop here with the department head, w ith the principal and with the superintendent. A public school principal related this story: I recently went through hell, two weeks ago, with a mother and a father over a boy who didn't graduate and the parents were insist ent that I graduate him. [They went] all the way to the superintendent level bringing the assistant superintendent out here because we were not being f air with that kid. The teacher was being very fair with that kid, very fair, and I supported the teacher and the kid did not graduate . . They wanted the teacher to go back and change a grade and I'm not going to make a teacher do that. Teachers in independent schools described similar feelings of support: I think [the head] screens and keeps us away from p arents who would stop some program. He very much wants the teachers to ha ve the feeling of freedom to teach whatever they want to.Basically what he said and I've heard him say publi cly is that we aren't going to change our curriculum to suit an unhappy parent. We 're willing to look at our curriculum and see if it's what we ought to be doin g, but we're not going to be in the position of, you know, changing because a parent is unhappy about something. So we have a lot of support for that. A private school administrator responded to parent pressure to fire a teacher: You positively get a lynch mob going in a situation because in the second week

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10 of 19 we had people calling us to fire this woman . w e toned them all down and even some of the other parents would say to the rabid pa rents, "Isn't it fair to give her a little time to get adjusted?" Teachers Associations Affect AutonomyOur teachers association is very active and it affe cts my work life every day. There is an acknowledged criticism of teachers ass ociations in the realm of public opinion and among critics of public school systems. This st udy was conducted in a right-to-work state in which teacher unions are virtually non-existent, bu t teacher associations are predominant. These associations are seen as variously strong or weak d epending on locale. Only one of the three public schools is in a district having a very stron g teacher association. Most, if not all, of its teachers are members of the association and quite a few are active in its leadership. The other two schools are in districts that negotiate teacher s' contracts with the association, although the faculty are much less active. Teachers in all three public schools, however, reflect on the efforts of the teachers' association to preserve their auto nomy. If educational researchers (such as Chubb and Moe) promote autonomy as the key to freeing tea cher creativity and innovation, they should applaud the efforts of the teachers association whi ch acts to preserve the due process upon which teachers have come to depend for a sense of freedom in their work life. It is the teachers association that can require a district to seek adv ice from teachers, to protect teachers from pressures to change grades, and to provide good wor king conditions. While the association does protect specified areas of teacher autonomy, it also institutes a management system based on the model of industrial unionization leaving many teachers feeling more powerless than before (Russo, 1990, p. 193). D espite the price they may pay, Firestone and Bader (1991) credit the teachers association for th e extent to which teachers participate in program design within a school system (p.84). Both public school teachers and principals, who at times may feel constrained by the presence of the l ocal teacher association, express positive reactions toward the association. One public school teacher explained: He [former superintendent] was dictatorial. It's th is way because he would sit back and smoke his pipe and he would smirk at you, and his aim was divide and conquer . . I think that is when our associ ation became the dynamic force it is because he was so bad and that was when the parents realized that there was a dynamic force out here called teachers, and their [ teachers] main goal was good education, not paychecks. It was like we are your c omrades, not your enemy. A public school teacher who formerly worked in a u nion state on the east coast speculated about why unions or teacher associations are import ant in protecting teacher autonomy: . . and there we actually had more autonomy and I feel that way because it was unionized. . The only reason that I believe uni ons have ever appeared is because they had employers who are less than honorable and kind of impose their will . they were autocratic and we wouldn't have a need fo r an association or union if you didn't have individuals such as that. A principal in the public schools said: The administration seeks their [teacher association ] opinion. We let them know when decisions are being made that we think are goi ng to have a significant impact on the faculty. . We include them a lot, we treat them as equals, we value

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11 of 19 their judgment and input, and I think there's a goo d working relationship. The teachers association can interpose itself betw een the teachers and the principal and protect teachers from unfair or unjust decisions (G rant, 1988). One public school principal stated: I have a reputation for dismissing teachers, that I 'm Atilla the Hun, if you will, about evaluation and I am. People will tell you, "Y ou can't do that with a professional organization." My organization works b eautifully with me because I dot the i's and cross the t's and I treat the person hu manely as I'm doing it. Therefore, they never have grounds to come in and say you didn 't follow procedure or you treated these people like dirt. As such, I usually end up with very strong support from them. Autonomy or Like-Mindedness?I find very well qualified people with good imagina tions to create good curriculum, and I support them and give them all the encouragement in the world to be able to do that. Much of the autonomy felt by teachers in each scho ol derived from the fact that they were in agreement with their administrator. Principals a nd heads hire teachers who agree with their philosophy. It is only on occasion, with declining school enrollments and concurrent reduction in teaching force, that a public school principal is f orced to accept a possibly unwanted teacher on transfer from another high school within the distri ct. Otherwise, they feel great control in selecting new teachers. In both the public and private schools, the princi pal or head screens the potential teacher candidates before seeking advice from the faculty. At times the teachers in the private schools in this study had to fight to participate in the hirin g of new faculty. Perhaps heads are less willing to share the task because their jobs rest on the selec tion of teachers who must be perceived by parents as effective to maintain the school's very existence. A head of school relates: . [I] find very well qualified people with good imaginations to create good curriculum, and I support them and give them all th e encouragement in the world to be able to do that. Retaining control over the hiring of new faculty f or both the public school principal and private school head ensures a faculty with a philos ophy shared by the administrators. Teachers expressed their consternation over being left out o f some aspects of the hiring process. These two private school teachers described their role in hir ing colleagues thusly: We're in the process of hiring a new teacher. It's been quite a frustrating experience. . I am not allowed to see recommend ations, but I am the art department chairman. I have interviewed several can didates. I have looked over 85 resumes for this job, and I've yet to see one lette r of recommendation. I don't know, I've never been told . . Apparently now the onl y person who sees them in this school is the headmaster, and one other person-an d I find that to be a little degrading.They began the process of hiring a new drama teache r, reading through resumes and inviting some [candidates] without ever letting me know as head of the fine arts department that they were consider ing this person. And you don't do that. You don't do it. Well, I went in and jumped u p and down and raised holy hell

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12 of 19 and the response there was copious apologies giving me the resumes to look at, asking for my opinion. Knowing that faculty view education through a simi lar set of beliefs, principals and heads can comfortably allocate greater autonomy. They can give support and show trust in teachers with the knowledge that teachers are "like-minded." Also, as long as a school, public or private, is perceived by the community and parent body as su ccessful the principal or head is less likely to interfere with teacher freedom. Perhaps the issu e of autonomy is derived from the principal or head and faculty acting in ways that have the appro val of the parents. Knowing what parents want and sharing those expectations translates into autonomy for teachers. The support of parents adds, as well, to the principal or head's autonomy. Private school teachers talked about fitting in at their schools: In my last school where I worked my department chai r caused me to be fired. . If it matters, I'm much better [off] here than I was ther e. I mean I was a square peg in a round hole there and here, it's a much better fit.I'm pretty much free as long as the head feels I'm effective at what I do. A public school teacher reported: We were rolling along at this school. This school w as a great school, and it was because of the teachers. We were heading in the rig ht direction and so on, but the difference that I see is that he [principal] ha s come in and given us some direction, come in with some new ideas. The ideas w e had before he has improved upon, given us freedom to do these things. A head of school described his hiring practice: I'm the one that will usually go through all the ap plications, bring it down to about ten, call them in, interview these different people, then I make the final three selections. Then I'll bring in at that point the department head or a couple of other teachers . . You know, it's generally my decision almost alone. Public school principals reported having considera ble freedom in selecting teachers. If a reduction in force is in effect in a school distric t due to declining enrollment, principals are required to accept transferring teachers. One princ ipal explained that of his current faculty of 125, only about five were not of his choice. Anothe r principal explained how the school organization is becoming increasingly more site-bas ed. Department teams screen, interview, and hire new teachers for the department. The principal may be part of the team. Sharing the hiring process removes some autonomy from the principal, y et he has trust in the faculty to make good choices. Perhaps if there was a lack of trust, the process would be different.Teacher Autonomy in Pubic and Private Schools Compa red"I think we have fully as much freedom in public sc hool as they have in the private school." The teachers who participated in this study view t hemselves as active participants in making many of the decisions that affect their work life. They describe many opportunities to participate in and influence policy decisions. They talk about having control over what happens

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13 of 19in the classroom even if they retain control by ign oring or working around bureaucratic constraints. One public school teacher described wh at many of his colleagues also believed: "Bureaucracies within our district are . as far as influencing what happens to me as a teacher, almost nonexistent". Private school teachers also report having a great deal of freedom in the same areas, but attribute it to a freedom from state and federal co nstraints: "Being an independent school, we aren't bound by the required [state] curriculum . . I don't feel shaped by the federal government. . I feel very fortunate that I sens e control in an inordinate amount of things here". Principals also talk about taking control and respo nsibility for their work lives. A public school principal reflects the views of his colleagues: "I think we have fully as much freedom in public school as they have in the private school". Heads o f private school view their position as one permitting immense freedom and having the ability t o define the roles of others who work within the institution: "It's always up to the headmaster to help educate people when they are overstepping their bounds." Another head reflects: "We have the autonomy to change a program entirely if we want to . ."Teacher and Principal Autonomy, As They Tell It Teachers and administrators in public and private high schools in this study feel that they experience a great deal of freedom in their work li fe. Equally evident is the fact that none can claim unrestrained autonomy. Whether public or private, teachers' explanations for feelings of autonomy are similar. Participation in decision-making gives them a sense of influencing school policy. When they are encouraged and supported by the administration, tea chers feel free to take risks in teaching and they adopt creative and innovative strategies (Blas e, 1988; McNeil, 1986). Often when externally imposed rules, regulations, or mandates infringe on this freedom, experienced teachers and administrators ignore them or work around these obs tacles. Teachers and principals in public and private high schools also described three features of school organization that enhance and protect autono my: (1) the size of the organization, (2) administrators acting as buffers, and (3) the teach ers association. First, teachers and principals in large public schools find that factors related to t he size of the organization help to protect and maintain autonomy. It is acknowledged that there is a vast difference in size of organization between public and private institutions. Contrary t o the popular belief that layers of bureaucracy act as obstacles to autonomy, the organizational st ructure of large schools enhances autonomy by clarifying roles so that public school teachers are faced with less ambiguity. Within the role and within the classroom, teachers described a sense of freedom. Public school teachers are expected to work within the curriculum guidelines of the dis trict and state, but are given broad latitude within which to innovate and be creative. Size also requires some standardization to accommodate articulation of curriculum content from middle schools to high school and between high schools of the same district. Private school t eachers, on the other hand, may enjoy even greater freedom in that they often write their own curriculum. Although two or three private school teachers of the same subject may share ideas there is little need for cooperation since it is unlikely any two of them teach the same course to t he same grade level student. If one could imagine a private secondary school of two to three thousand students, it would likely function in much the same way as an upper middle-class public s chool with regard to administrator and teacher autonomy. Second, autonomy is protected and maintained as pr incipals and heads of school act as buffers to protect teachers from external influence s. In public schools, the assistant principal and department chairs form additional layers that prote ct teacher freedom. Even the public school board can act to support teacher autonomy in the cl assroom. Heads of school do the same. All of

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14 of 19 these groups expressed, orally or in writing, a phi losophy of management that shields teachers from external pressures. The board of trustees of a private school does not share this perspective since they are kept away from the daily business of running the school. Rather, the function of a private school board is to establish or approve pol icy and to raise funds, both roles lying far from the classroom door. Third, public school teachers are given some guara ntee of protection of working conditions by the teachers association. They cannot be subject to unjust firing. The association protects teachers in ways that leave them fearless in the face of some external pressures. For example, public school teachers cannot be pressured by parents or administrators to change a student's grade, the number of student contacts (nu mber of students per class) is limited, and teaching responsibilities are often specifically de lineated. The teachers association also negotiated mandatory teacher participation in decis ion making through committee work. Private school teachers have no similar protections though they are subject to few of the public teachers' concerns because of the size of the organization an d the heterogeneity of the student body.Findings: Constraints on Teacher and Principal Auto nomy Any attempt to clarify and elaborate the concept o f autonomy would not be complete without an investigation of those pressures that ac t to constrain autonomy. Despite the strong sense of autonomy reported by those interviewed, th ey also acknowledged areas that compromise their autonomy: pressures exerted by parents of col lege-bound students, a context of laws that apply to both public and private institutions, fina ncial constraints, and maintenance of an atmosphere which is responsive to parents. Public a nd private school teachers and administrators are often subject to similar, if not identical, con straints. College Admissions PressuresWhen you sign on for an AP, you're largely signing on to mandated curriculum. Teacher autonomy in both public and private second ary schools is sharply compromised by the demands of parents wishing that their childr en gain admission to prestigious colleges. It is not uncommon in private schools to hear of parents and alumni wholly preoccupied with admittance rates to colleges (Lightfoot, 1983, p. 2 95). In its marketing materials, each private school in this study included a lengthy list of pre stigious colleges to which their graduates have gained admission. The principal of each public scho ol boasted a high graduation rate with many graduates being accepted at the best colleges. Each also expressed pride at offering a wide range of advanced placement (AP) courses and producing a number of National Merit Scholars. Parents in both the public school and private school commun ities are acknowledged by the faculty of each school to be highly educated, professional, an d generally to be upper middle to upper socioeconomic in social class. It can be presumed t hat one of the reasons parents place a child in a college preparatory independent school or locatin g the family in a particular school district where the school has an reputation for academic exc ellence is the strong desire for the child to be accepted by a prestigious college. These parents ar e often actively involved in school activities or participate on committees. The demands of these par ents are made known to administrators and teachers through direct contact or participation on school committees. Administrators may be more intrusive in this arena because the stakes are highest where parents are outspoken. Private school teachers described parent pressures: Occasionally you see parent pressures. Sometimes we have parents that are pretty pushy with their kids . we're dealing wi th some parents who are, you

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15 of 19 know, where both the parents are professional peopl e and very busy and they essentially think that once they pay their tuition that you're going to take over dealing entirely with the student's education.Parents wanted that course [AP calculus] . . if there are enough [parent] voices behind there, it would have an effect [in ma king these curriculum changes].In college counseling, parents play a tremendous ro le, and they can put incredible pressure on me as a college counselor. Johnny has got to get into college. I want you to do everything you can to get him in that school." And often people like that, and it doesn't mean just Harvard it can be Westminster College, will try to wield power over you. Again, it's [not] that you have to do this work, but, "I'm telling you how to do it," undermining in a sense m aybe your professionalism, your training, your experience and expertise.This year AP class had to be geared to college expe ctations. I really had to adhere to what would be tested. In some ways, [I] lost some o f my freedom in that class because I had to focus on college expectations. Private school heads and administrators similarly described parent pressures: Parents who send their children to private schools occasionally behave as if they owned the faculty, as if their amount of tuition we re paying the faculty, each faculty member's entire salary.. . if it [what a teacher is doing] also achieves all of our other goals for college preparation, things that we are trying to be sure w e are doing for kids, we're able to allow more autonomy and we're able to try to work w ith parents in terms of informing them in a more cohesive way. Pressure exerted by parents of college-bound stude nts are felt and reported by public school teachers as well. Textbooks and curriculum c hoices are seen as examples of teacher responses to these pressures: I've been department chair now, it's been about sev en or eight years. . [principals] override specific decisions about plac ement into honors courses. . placement is not supposed to be determined by par ents or principals, it's supposed to be based on certain criteria . . I should sa y at least once a year, principals override those decisions because of parental pressu re. Our particular community here around [school] is ve ry achievement-oriented most of the time, so there's a lot of pressure for kids to get good grades, and getting a B for a lot of students is a disaster. . I think there's pressure there to offer more AP courses because more and more parents are a llowing their students to take advanced placement and try to get college credit be fore they get out of high school. Most of our kids talk college. We do have an academ ic program that is very heavy in that regard . more advanced placement classes being taught . a number of A level classes that would be appropriate for a kid going to a four-year or to a highly selective school; and we put a lot of e mphasis on that, because the public is asking us to.

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16 of 19 The public school principals in this study are ver y supportive of advanced placement courses and programs geared to the academically tal ented or college-oriented student. One principal boasted: We have the largest advanced placement program in t he state . .When we began to excel in advanced placement and did a lot of publicity, [the superintendent] mandated that all the high schools in [the district] would have advanced placement programs. . . We're about th e top three percent in the United States in advanced placement participation and succ ess.. . we've had a remarkable run. I've had great influence that way. A private school administrator added, ". . when you sign on for an AP, you're largely s igning on to a mandated curriculum." College requirements and the College Board which p roduce the advanced placement exams influence public and private high schools to an equal degree. Parents of college-bound students in both public and private schools expect to have such courses available to their children. Teachers of core subjects, therefore, ten d to look to these requirements when selecting textbooks and planning curriculum. All six high sch ools in this study contain college bound student populations. Preparing those students for c ollege is a high expectation of parents and, consequently, a priority for the schools. Since there is so much emphasis and concern placed on advanced classes in the core curriculum areas, it is interesting to look at how the teachers of non-college preparatory courses view their work life. Teachers in both public and p rivate schools experience greater autonomy when their subject is not a college preparatory cou rse. I may have more freedom than teachers in some acade mic areas . there is no set of standards and curriculum in the arts that hi gh school students are expected to have by the time they finish high schoo l. Therefore, I don't have anyone breathing down my neck to say, "You aren't doing th is and this standardized test requires that you do that." So the subject area all ows for considerably more freedom. Threat of LitigationWe all feel the influence of lawsuits and insurance demands. Autonomy of both private and public teachers is li mited to an equal degree by a system of laws. Laws that have to do with civil rights, healt h, and safety are binding on the private institution as well as the public. These laws and t he possibility of legal action compromise autonomy. Teachers have forgone some of their freed om knowing that lawsuits have only multiplied in recent years (Grant, 1988, p. 141). H eads of school explained how they are subject to the same constraints placed on their public coun terparts: Any time that regulations come down through the fed eral government, it's pervasive in terms of health reasons, you know, it' s pervasive throughout our society. We obviously have to adhere to those thing s. . We have to adhere to, of course, general health standards that exist in [the county] and the state. We test our water on a regular basis . we adhere to fire re gulations; we have our fire drills once a month.

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17 of 19 We are subject to virtually all federal laws regard ing discrimination. We publish a disclaimer in all of our publications sta ting that [the school] does not discriminate on the basis or race, creed, color, et cetera. A violation of that would and should mean that we, as an institution, should be closed or lose our non-profit status. The teachers, principals, and heads of school were very aware of the threats of a litigious society and make conscious efforts to avoid such di fficulties. Fear of lawsuits constrains public and private school decisions alike. Private school teachers reported how the fear of lawsuits has altered their work life: We all feel the influence of law suits and insuranc e demands than we used to . . It's that level of influence. I don't feel quit e as free to do some things just because people sue each other these days. One head of school described how he felt somewhat more secure in a small, private school setting than he would anticipate in a large, public school when it came to thoughts of being sued: Now it's not that we can't get sued as well [as pub lic schools], but at a smaller institution you're more family-oriented. Things are based on more of a civil way of handling things, and you try to figure out how you' re going to manage the problem other than just automatically jumping to think you' re going to get sued. External forces mandate and regulate schools and t eachers so as to "provide adequate instruction to all their students, to equalize acce ss to knowledge" (Sedlak et al., 1986, p.118). Ball (1987) reported, "The more diverse the school community, the more difficult it will be for any school to respond to all expectations" (p. 251) Even in public schools with little diversity, these constraints are experienced. The fear of liti gation was felt by public school teachers and principals to the same degree as their private scho ol counterparts: At the beginning of the year, we had a parent who c ame to us with an order from her attorney that they were going to proceed w ith bringing action against the district if, in fact, we did not change a grade that her son received because he was diagnosed late in the year as having attention defi cit disorder and she felt that not every teacher did make adjustments in the teaching procedures to reach that child . . we met with the teachers a number of times and fi nally the teachers, out of a sense of inadequacy and frustration, felt that they did n ot want to go through a legal situation, so they changed the grades in some cases Financial Pressures. . we are becoming more like the private school, where the willingness to fund the institution determines its success Yet another constraint placed upon both public and private schools is finances. Private and public schools are plagued to an equal degree by th e shrinking value of the dollar and an unstable economy. The tax base upon which school funding res ts is dwindling while the number of families who can afford a private education is stab le, at best; certainly the numbers are not rising. The private school is also necessarily dependent on its fund-raising abilities; tuition alone does not cover the cost of educating each student. A hea d of school described the private school's quest for financing:

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18 of 19 Our [private school] burden is raising money. The t uition pays for maybe 80 percent of what we do and the other 20 percent we have to r aise one way or the other; through fees or through fundraising or whatever . . they [public schools] don't have that same burden, although they have to go thr ough elections and bonds and trying to get the public vote. A public school principal dispelled the myth that public and private efforts to acquire funds are so different: We are attempting to work more closely with the com munity, with business and industry partnerships, things like that which i s more like fundraising. It's more like what's being done in the private schools . . In that way we are becoming more like the private school, where the willingness to fund the institution determines its success. Decisions on class size, the ability to offer addi tional classes and to purchase books and equipment are all dependent on the financial suppor t available to each school. Some of these decisions are made by school boards and Board of Tr ustees, others are made by the principals, superintendents, or heads of school as they prepare their budget requests. The results affect the autonomy and work life of the private school teache r and the public school teachers in vastly similar ways. Frustrations in the private instituti ons were heard: Many constraints that we have are bottom-line dolla r kind of restraints. . That doesn't mean we sell out to the dollar; it doe s mean, sometimes, that we have to give in or buy in where we would prefer not to. . because of the monetary factors alone, because of fewer people doing more d ifferent jobs, some of the autonomy is not quite as great as one would like. And from the public schools came teacher and princ ipal comments: The school board, two years ago, did away with a ca p that we had on English class enrollment. We wanted to limit it to 125 stud ents a day or 25 in a class and we'd had that cap for eight or ten years and be cause of budget constraints, they did away with that two years ago and now our classe s are 30, in the 30s, up to 30, over 30. That's had a great deal of effect on us.Well, constraints, in terms of the amount of staff that we have, money becomes the bottom-line issue. If we could have five more t eachers, we could have more and smaller classes. Parental Expectations and DemandsI mean, one call [from a parent] in a district as l arge as this means a lot and that's just the attitude of this district. Proponents of school choice often describe private schools as small businesses that must be responsive to clients, assumed to be the parents in order to survive. Indeed, teachers and administrators in the private schools who participa ted in this study affirmed the expected and incorporated the language of business: You know, private schools are small businesses esse ntially, and you have to do

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19 of 19 business. The customers are the parents, but give t hem what they want, not as far as grades; don't give them the grades they want for th eir kids, but what the heck, if they want more feedback, they've got it.In a private school . you've got people paying $6500 a year to send their kids to school. You tend to appease parents a lot more than would ever happen in a public school. . a situation where perhaps I would hav e come down pretty hard on the situation . and if caught in that position, wel l, what do you do? You have to consider where your bread and butter is coming from . . you've got to be smart about it; you have to know how to market your school properly. You have to keep your customers satisfied . and you have to have good communications. So those are things one has to cons ider and therefore, parents are a very important aspect of the school. Contrary to the myth that has been perpetuated by some, the existence of a bureaucracy does not necessarily imply insensitivity to the des ires of parents. Indeed, there appears to be no lack of sensitivity to parents among public school teachers who report frequent and important contacts with parents, no more or less than occurs in private schools. Both teachers and administrators understand the expectations of the p arents and make considerable effort to be responsive to those expectations. Some public schoo l teachers acknowledged that limits to their autonomy are frequently set by community standards. If teachers are of like mind with the parents in the school community, they have a greate r sense of freedom. If they do not, they feel constrained: I've changed the way I react to a negative parent. I think I tended to put them on the defense too much, and I'm like, well, "What is it that you want from me at this point? What is it that I can do to make you r child be the best they can be?" . . I've learned that from [department chair]. . he makes them a member of the team rather than a member of the enemy. The assistant principal of a public school explain ed the kind of response to parents mandated by the district: Parents' calls mean a great deal. We have a procedu re here that if they're not satisfied with my answer, they can go to [the princ ipal] who is very, very responsive and receptive to parents and if they're not satisfied there, they can go to the assistant superintendent who, again, will direc t-call back to the school and say, "Remedy the situation. Do something about it." Some times we have to tell parents things they don't want to hear, but I do think we g o out of our way to accommodate parents. . the reason we do that is not for fear they're going to drop out of school because we don't think that's going to happen, but I think it's because of an attitude in this district that says that parent calls are ve ry, very important. . I think that the tone that the school board even sets. They have the se open microphones at every board meeting . . the superintendent will recei ve a call, for example, and she will personally call the school and ask what the situati on is. I mean, one call in a district as large as this means a lot and that's just the at titude of this district.

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1 of 9 Sandra Rubin Glass: "Markets & Myths"Vol. 5 No. 1 Education Policy Analysis ArchivesTeacher and Principal Constraints, As They Describe Them Private and public schools are subject to many of the same constraints. Constraints appeared in the form of requirements imposed by col lege admissions and the College Board, financial pressures, the threat of litigation, and parent demands. College admissions requirements force prospective students to take specified courses. The College Board, through advanced placement testing, delineates a specified curriculum in specialized subject areas so that students taking t he test will be successful. Passing the test confirms that the student has fulfilled the curricu lum equivalent to an entry-level college course. The same admissions requirements and the same advan ced placement tests apply to all secondary schools regardless of their organization or distinc tion as public or private. Teachers and administrators alike pay a great deal of attention to this area because both parents who send children to college preparatory independent schools and parents of college-bound public school students expect their children to take the courses required by the better colleges. The stakes, therefore, are highest in this area. Little constra int, however, is felt by teachers, whether public o r private, of non-college preparatory courses. Parent s, and therefore administrators, pay little attention to these courses, thus permitting these t eachers considerable freedom. Financial constraints limit options available to a ny type of school and its teachers. In both the public and private schools, finances often dete rmine class loads and class size. The availability of many instructional resources is lar gely determined by available funds. Private schools spend considerable time and effort soliciti ng additional funds for these purposes. Indeed, the primary function of the board of a private scho ol is one of raising funds and, for the schools in this study, establishing an endowment fund. The public schools rely on support from the community at large when requesting additional funds through bond elections. The threat of litigation affects public and privat e schools equally. Civil laws and laws regarding the health, safety, and welfare of studen ts and employees do not differentiate between public and private institutions. Since schools of a ny organizational structure are equally susceptible to litigation based on the same set of laws, all schools experience this constraint to the same degree. It is acknowledged, however, that some laws pertain to public schools and exempt private schools since private schools are ab le to avoid students with special needs. Public schools serve the needs of all students and are obl iged to provide equitable services. Additional federal and state mandates require public schools t o function in a bureaucracy at least large enough to handle their administration (Boyer, 1983, p. 226). Chubb and Moe (1990) painted a picture of public s chool educators oblivious to the opinions and wishes of parents, tending a bureaucra tic institution that has lost touch with its clients. These were not the educators who spoke of the pressures they felt to meet parents' expectations. There is no lack of concern for the e xpectations of parents of children who attend public schools. Parents of collegebound students are often highly educated professionals who are vocal in making demands on the schools and teac hers. Grant (1988) reported that "in the aggregate parents as a whole may now be more educat ed relative to teachers and thus are likely to be more critical of teacher performance" (p. 149). Whether public or private, teachers and principals reported frequent contact with parents, making parents feel part of the team or family, and sharing the same expectations as parents for th e children. In the public schools, that response at times included a response from the school board. Parents in large public school districts use the bureaucratic layers as alternative audiences to make their voices heard.

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2 of 9Autonomy in Public and Private Schools The feelings expressed by all of the participants in this study, both private and public, testify to a high degree of autonomy. The responses to interview and survey questions alike clearly dispel the myth that autonomy is generally high in private schools and generally low in public schools (Chubb & Moe, 1990, p. 183). Autonom y is generally high in both types of school studied here. Issues that emerged in the course of this study from teacher and administrator descriptions of their autonomy are: conflicting and contradictory demands, shared beliefs, layers of protection, a system of laws, funding constraint s, and matters of size of the institution. These issues challenge oversimplified assertions that dif ferences of any significance exist between the perception of autonomy held by professionals in pub lic or private high schools. Before embarking on a detailed examination of the concept of educator autonomy, it is well to emphasize the particular characteristics of the sites examined here and how that characteristic may shape what has been learned. The educators who consented to be interviewed practice in upper-middle class college preparatory public and independent, non-public secondary schools. One might not expect to learn the same thi ngs about autonomy in religious affiliated private schools, though it is unclear whether the a utonomy would be expected to be greater or less. One must also be cautioned about extrapolatin g the insights garnered from this research to other levels of school, such as elementary. The schools examined here enjoy success in all con ventional senses of the term. This favorable environment may shape the way the politic al system treats educators and how educators respond in return. One might have reason not to expect the same organizational effect obtaining in schools under the duress of poverty an d social dislocation. The following themes that emerged from this research should be viewed wi th these cautions in mind. Conflicting and Contradictory Demands Contrary to the popular myth of public school bure aucratic insulation and insensitivity, both the public and private high schools in this st udy showed a sensitivity and prompt response to parent concerns. Parents are listened to and giv en serious consideration. Parent and teacher communication are encouraged in both the public and private high schools. Parents have access to the administration as well as teachers. In the l arger system of the public schools, parents receive additional attention from the superintenden t and school board. In all cases, board meetings are open to parents with one public system in particular, scheduling an "open mike" segment prior to handling business on the agenda. A nother public school conducted a survey of parent expectations that determined the goals of th e school. Being responsive to parents has the potential, how ever, of constraining the very autonomy that some deem a requirement for creative and innov ative teaching. The principal or head of school prevents responsiveness to parents from beco ming a constraint on teacher innovation by virtue of a strong belief about how students are be st served. The criterion which defines the degree of autonomy granted is based on the perceive d success of the school and its students. But underlying the freedom of teachers and principals i s a clear understanding of what parents and the community expect of the schools. If parents per ceive the school to be doing what they say they are doing, public or private school teachers a nd administrators experienced greater freedom and fewer external pressures. Being responsive to parents prompted an assistant head of a private school to claim they must work "on the conservative side." It is what le d one public school teacher to admit, despite opportunities to have a voice in decisions that aff ect her work life, that she felt little freedom and great frustration knowing those decisions must be r esponsive to a conservative parent body. This unspoken tension between autonomy and obligation re quires teachers and administrators in both

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3 of 9public and private schools to "negotiate competing demands" (Hawthorne, 1988, p. 231). Hawthorne's study found this negotiation process fo r the teachers she studied to be as individual as the negotiators (p. 231). In this study the mann er in which teachers balance the demands of parents, administrators, or others who attempt to i nfluence them with their own need for control was, similarly, an individual matter. Some chose to ignore certain rules or policies which they deemed insignificant, others relied on the support of their principal, head, or department chair. Both public and private school teachers and their administration demonstrated a responsiveness to parents by focusing on the needs of college-bound students. A college preparatory independent school and public high scho ol housing a student body for whom college admission is a high priority are forced to meet the requirements of those colleges and the college advanced placement program. The curriculum of AP co urses offered in both the public and private high schools are extensively defined by the College Board, which administers the exams students take to earn college credit. The advantage of size of the public institutions is that they can often offer a larger number of AP courses. Thei r size necessitates the offering of a number of the same courses to meet the demands of those stude nts who qualify. Teachers of non-college preparatory courses describe the greatest degree of autonomy in curriculum decisions and all areas of teaching. An acknowledged lack of parent i nterest gives them this heightened sense of freedom. Parents of college-bound students are vocal in the public schools. The voice of parents of the college-bound student is heard and heeded. The demands and pressures placed on the school are felt to an equal degree in the private schools. Both types of schools must balance autonomy and obligation to parents. The private school response must include a conside ration of consequences to the institution. If parents are not satisfied, the fund s upon which the school depends can be withdrawn. The existence of the private school depe nds on satisfying the parent community. Even within the college preparatory private school, however, there exists a range of demands to which the head must respond. Those who imagine that private schools are very responsive to "customer" (or parent) demands or needs overlook on e significant fact about American education: even small, homogeneous publics make con flicting and often contradictory demands. How is the school supposed to accommodate these wis hes when one faction calls for greater emphasis on algebra and another calls for less? All three of the private schools in this study are small, with a constituency composed of middle-class to high income families and a desire for the kind of academic program which will enhance college admission. Even within this situation, heads of these schools found themselves taking a st and. Could they really afford to finance an advanced calculus program despite the demands of a few parents? Should a teacher whose personality was not tolerated by some parents be fi red? It is because of conflicting parent demands within the small private school setting that a head of school declared, It is our responsibility to be service-oriented and to be responsive to our parents, but it is not our responsibility to pl ace them in the position of calling the shots." Not every parent can get his or her way. The head must take a stand to protect the autonomy of the teacher. Although the public schools in this study were selected because they, too, focused on academic preparation for college, they were likewis e not able to escape contradictory demands of parents. One principal stated, . .they [parents ] impact me on a daily basis, but they don't drive me." Principals in public schools are not necessarily t hreatened by withdrawal of a student, but they are under pressure by the community at large t o respond to the needs of the students and demands of their parents. The bureaucracy works to the parents' benefit. If satisfactory recourse is not forthcoming from a teacher or principal, parent s may voice their concerns to a superintendent or school board which has been elected to represent them. Educated and politically active parents know how to get things done despite a large bureauc racy. In turn, these layers of administration

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4 of 9can preserve teacher and principal autonomy by prov iding support or acting as a buffer. Shared Beliefs Teachers in independent schools talked about the f reedom they have to design their own curricula, utilize any variety of teaching methods, and select their own textbooks. Coordination among faculty within a department or between a lowe r and upper school is often informal if it occurs at all. They share basic educational beliefs These teachers were, for all practical purposes, hand-picked by the head for just that reason. The h ead of an independent school can comfortably allocate substantial portions of autonomy to these teachers. Principals in public schools also report considera ble freedom in selection of faculty. They, too, choose teachers who share the same philosophy and an understanding of the expectations of the parents. It is with confidence, they can trust teachers to make appropriate decisions and provide the autonomy that teachers experienced. As long as the school runs smoothly, there is little need to question teacher autonomy. Indeed, t he goal of site-based management within individuals schools assumes teachers will make the kind of decisions that support parent expectations and the goals of the school. In site-b ased schools teams of same subject teachers hire new faculty. There are, admittedly, times when principal freedom to select teachers is curtailed. This occurs when the relocation of a tea cher from another high school within a district is due to a reduction in student population, theref ore, a reduction in faculty. In this case, a principal would be required to take a particular te acher. The concept of shared beliefs of teachers and prin cipals, schools and the community is the issue from which the perception of autonomy stems. In some sense, the autonomy that teachers, whether public or private, feel in relation to thei r principals is like the proverbial equity allocate d to both beggars and rich men: The law in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. (Anatole France, Le Lys Rouge) What sort of freedom is it if it is never tested b y conflict? When a principal selects teachers who generally agree with the principal's b eliefs and values, there will be few conflicts and few instances when the teachers have to be told what to do by the principal. Some would say, then, that the principal has not, in fact, granted autonomy to the teachers, or that the limits of their autonomy are untested. They seldom chose to d o that which would be overturned by their principal. Much of the autonomy that teachers feel may be of this type. If so, teachers might be better described as "likeminded" with their super iors rather than autonomous in relation to them. In either case, however, the image created by this view of like-minded or autonomous teachers is quite different from the image drawn by some in which teachers are portrayed as deadened and oppressed by a hierarchical bureaucrac y. The challenge of making schools creative, interesting and productive environments for student s may be more a matter of stimulating teachers and principals who have fallen into compla cency than to free them from some ill-conceived notion of an repressive and domineeri ng bureaucracy. It is important to recognize, however, that the above situation could be quite di fferent in elementary schools or in secondary schools suffering the effects of under-investment a nd the pressures exerted by special social problems.Layers of Protection Unlike the traditional perception of public high sc hool bureaucracy, the hierarchy that

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5 of 9exists is built out of a necessity to manage large numbers of people and a complex institution. The teachers have a number of layers to protect the m from external influences. The department head is one line of defense and a person who speaks on behalf of the faculty of that department. The principal and assistant principal also protect teacher autonomy. Equally strong is the sense of control teachers feel because of the security that the teachers' association provides. The superintendent can also be a buffer between the pri ncipal and teachers and the school board. The trust that principals and department chairs express ed in their faculty is not unlike that described by the heads of school in this study. Acting as a b uffer, however, does not mean to ignore the wishes of the parents. While public and private school teachers have the advantage of protection from administrators who demonstrate support in their pro fessionalism, public school teachers have access to an additional entity. Membership in teach ers associations provides another layer of protection for private school teachers. Those who c laim that teacher autonomy is a requisite of the best education should applaud the teachers asso ciations for giving teachers the kind of security they need to feel truly autonomous. This p rotection, in many cases, gives teachers the sense of control they need to try out innovative or creative ideas. Knowledgeable principals and teachers in public schools are able to use the teac hers association to preserve their autonomy. A System of Laws Freedom in both public and private high schools is constrained to an equal degree by a system of laws. These laws protect the health and s afety of the inhabitants of both types of school. All schools have fire drills and public saf ety requirements. Health issues are promptly dealt with by both public and private institutions. Worker rights are addressed in the private schools by the same type of union that protects wor kers in any institution. Civil laws protect the basic rights of teachers and students. The threat o f lawsuits has an equal effect on both public and private schools and influences many decisions made by teachers and administrators. Funding Constraints A lack of an appropriate level of funding is yet a nother constraint on teachers, principals, and heads of school alike. Private schools cannot o ffer the range of courses offered in the public schools because the small numbers of students enrol led in each class will not support the cost of an additional teacher. Decisions constrained by fin ances result in large class size in the public school. The availability of certain instructional m aterials, such as computers, is often determined by finances rather than choice. Financial constrain ts put limits on the autonomy of both public and private schools.A Matter of Size The three private schools in this study are small in student population, faculty, and facility. The public schools by comparison are larg er in each category and require a degree of bureaucracy to manage the sheer size. The size also necessitates articulation of curriculum among grades and a means for frequent communication among groups of teachers. Teachers in the public schools are encouraged to participate indivi dually or through their representatives in policy making. Bureaucracy may make greater demands of teachers' time to participate in decisions that affect them. But it is apparent that it does not impinge on teacher freedom over those decisions that matter most to them--the decis ions that affect what occurs in the classroom. Because of the size of the public institution, tea chers rely more on their colleagues and

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6 of 9department chair both for advice on decisions that affect them and for protection from external influences. They have opportunities for participati on in decision-making through committee work, access to department chairs, and access to th e principal. Teachers in private schools express autonomy in similar ways. They have less of a need for a department chair to be a spokesperson merely because of the proximity of the head. The size of an organization cannot be ignored; however, but neither can it be called a de terminant of teacher autonomy. Little of the quality of what occurs in the classr oom can be defined by the size of the institution. There is a general belief that private schools equate with academic excellence. The perception of academic excellence in private school s may stem from a belief that small schools are less complex and small classes necessarily prod uce a quality education. Large public schools do not offer small classes, but they can offer coll ege preparatory courses and advanced placement classes. What occurs within each classroom is under the control of individual teachers whether public or private, as the teachers in this study ha ve described. When Chubb and Moe described "ineffective" and "ef fective" schools, they were essentially referring to public and private schools respectively. Their critique of the organizational structure of each does not involve a comparison of organizational units of the same size or of like populations between the two ty pes of schools. As reported by Hogan (1992b), since "public and private schools are very different kinds of schools that recruit different populations, pursue different objectives and tasks, and develop different tools to achieve them, comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges (p. 93).Conclusion: The Myth of the Market The findings of this research challenge directly t he assertions made in one of the most visible research documents on the question of schoo l choice, viz., Chubb and Moe's Politics, Markets and America's Schools. (1990). They acquired their data from the High Sch ool and Beyond Survey (Moles, 1988) and performed a seconda ry analysis of this government survey to collect information on effective schooling. Several critics argued that there were weaknesses in their analyses and their interpretation: Witte (199 2), Hogan (1992a, 1992b), Goldstein (1992), and Glass & Matthews (1991). Some said that they we re unable in their book and in their analysis to determine whether it was effective scho ols that were granting autonomy to their teachers and administrators or whether autonomous t eachers and administrators were producing more effective schooling (Glass & Matthews, 1991). In other words, the direction of the influence may be reversed; that it may be the perce ption of a successful school (advanced placement courses, National Merit scholars, high gr aduation rate, admission to elite colleges) that confers autonomy to teachers and administrators. In addition, even though in their book, they tried to argue that private schools would necessari ly grant more autonomy to teachers and administrators than public schools, Chubb and Moe n ever once analyzed or reported data from the High School and Beyond Survey on that question. In fact, they presented no data whatsoever from private schools, claiming that the data base i n the survey was inadequate for making any generalizations. However, that did not stop them fr om making claims about the superiority of private schools (and, hence, the superiority of cho ice as a policy) because they assumed private schools grant more autonomy and demonstrate more re sponsiveness to parents and market pressures than public schools. Among the assertions made by Chubb and Moe, three are directly refuted by the findings of this research study: mar kets, bureaucracy, and the role of teachers unions or associations.On Markets Chubb and Moe sought to perpetuate the myth that o nly private sector schools experience

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7 of 9the goading of the marketplace. They wrote: Under a system of democratic control, the public sc hools are governed by an enormous, far-flung constituency in which the inter ests of parents and students carry no special status or weight. When the markets preva il, parents and students are thrust onto center stage, along with the owners and staff of schools; most of the rest of society plays a distinctly secondary role, limited for the most part to setting the framework within which educational choices get made (p. 35). If responding to market pressures means responding to parent demands, the public schools are doing just that. To a very substantial degree, market pressures of various kinds have shaped and continue to shape educational politics and the institutions affected by them. The relatively decentralized structure of educational politics in this country actually enhances the vulnerability of school officials to popular political pressures, and, thus, to the market forces that shape educational politics. Parents are not without choic e, or voice. Hogan (1992b) pointed out, "Savvy school officials . respond to the underlying an xieties and aspirations [of parents] by rigorously tracking . or by creating magnet schools or in any number of ways--parent choice being the latest--to keep their middle-class constituency fro m fleeing the public schools" (p. 193). The parents to whom he refers are those who believe col lege is the route to attain or maintain a middle to upper social class standing that they wan t for their children. The admittance of students to what Powell and others (1986) call top-track "sp ecialty shops" (p. 124) forms the basis of the willingness of parents to enroll their children in public school system. These are not unlike the communities to which the public schools in this stu dy belong. Student achievement within such schools is a matter of residential pattern, social demography, patterns of political participation from members of the community, and leadership in lo cal educational politics. Parents whose children attend private schools may not share the s ame residential community, but they do share social demographics as well as participation and le adership in the workings of the independent school. In this study, teachers and administrators in both the public and private high schools supported Hogan's contention that they are responsi ve to parent expectations. College preparatory courses were given a great deal of attention and ad vanced placement courses were instituted. The public schools use advanced placement and upper lev el content courses as a tracked curriculum and become like a private school within a public sc hool in response to parent demands. On Bureaucracy Chubb & Moe decry the oppression of bureaucracy in the public schools and commend the private schools for their lack of bureaucracy, therefore, creating greater autonomy than possible in the public school. They claimed: . we show that private schools are organized mo re effectively than public schools and that this is a reflection of their far greater autonomy from external(bureaucratic) control (p. 24). Chubb & Moe further stated: Its [public school] institutions of democratic cont rol are inherently destructive of school autonomy and inherently conducive to bureauc racy (p.47). Teachers in both kinds of institution reported fee lings of considerable autonomy in such matters as determination of curriculum, dealing wit h students, parents, curriculum development. Not only was there a strong statement of autonomy o n the part of these teachers, it was

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8 of 9impossible to distinguish any difference in the str ength of those feelings between public and private institutions. Additionally, two questions w ere also analyzed from the High School and Beyond Survey that Chubb & Moe had given and yet ne ver used to report a comparison of public and private school teachers. When analyzed to compa re teacher ratings of autonomy in several areas of their functioning (determining student beh avior codes, content of inservice, curriculum, policies of grouping students, textbook selection, choice of teaching methods, etc.) the average scores came out virtually equal between public and private which increased suspicions that perhaps Chubb and Moe had seen in the High School a nd Beyond Survey no differences between public and private and were disappointed or confuse d by it. Perhaps it did not agree with their expectations about markets and choice in school so they chose not to report it. Many public school teachers in this study reported that the bureaucracy was supportive and protected their autonomy. One teacher spoke for many others when she said that the principal, superintendent, and school board did not give in "to cranky parents." This trust in the professionalism of the teacher gave many the percep tion of autonomy. What may appear to be a contradictory notion is the idea that knowledgeable parents understand the large public school system and are able to make it work for them. If th ey are dissatisfied with the response of a particular teacher, they can find a voice with the principal, superintendent or school board. Opportunities to be heard are found at each layer o f the hierarchy. It is possible for the bureaucracy to be responsive to parents demands, ye t make teachers feel they are not subject to the whim of the occasional "cranky parent." What of the question of shared beliefs? If princip als or heads select and hire teachers who are like-minded, is autonomy really tested? In this case, teachers are more appropriately termed like-minded rather than autonomous. Teachers who sh are an education philosophy with the administrator can be trusted, given support and wid e latitude leading to a perception of autonomy. In a similar vein, teachers reported that as long as things were going smoothly, no parental complaints, they felt greater freedom. The se ideas were found to a strikingly similar degree in both the public and private high schools. In any case, regardless of the source of the perception of autonomy, in no instance were teacher s perceived to be oppressed or deadened by the weight of bureaucracy. The challenge of making schools more creative, energetic, and innovative institutions may more be a matter of sti mulating teachers and principals who have fallen into complacency rather than setting them fr ee from some ill-conceived notion of a repressive and domineering bureaucracy.On Teachers Associations The role of the teachers union in constraining the autonomy of teacher is described throughout the text of "Politics, Markets and Ameri ca's Schools." (1990). This study was completed in a right-to-work state, where public sc hool teachers have come to look to teachers associations rather than unions to protect their wo rking conditions. For all intents and purposes, these teachers associations and teachers unions are synonymous. Chubb and Moe claimed: Teachers who are team players, who have lots of aut onomy in their work, who routinely play integral roles in school decision-ma king, and who are treated as professionals are hardly good candidates for union membership (p.53). The public school teachers in this study reported that the teachers association actually protected their autonomy. For example, parents cann ot force a teacher to change a student's grade. It is also the teachers association which ne gotiated a contract requiring teacher participation on committees charged with making pol icy decisions. Even principals spoke of working with the teachers association on controvers ial matters. The position of the association

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9 of 9helped administrators by providing clear guidelines thus avoiding ambiguity on many issues including the firing of teachers. Both administrato rs and teachers claimed the association's role was to guarantee fairness in workplace conditions. The public secondary school teachers in this study all reported opportunities to participate in decisions that are important to them, contrary to the blanket statements put forth by Chubb and Moe. Administrators in the public school reported consi derable autonomy in the hiring and firing of teachers. It is true they work within the confines of the teachers association to fire teachers, however, their ability to fire teachers i s not thus impaired. Experienced administrators understand how the system works and do not feel con strained. Two public school principals told of having freedom in the hiring of personnel. On ra re occasion a principal may be required to accept a teacher who has been transferred due to a reduction in work force at another of the district's schools. The third principal, who report ed reduced autonomy in the hiring of teachers, described how the faculty and chair of each departm ent has the primary responsibility for hiring new faculty to their department. He was unconcerned about their selection because he trusted them. Teachers who share the educational philosophy of the administrator can be expected to hire new faculty with similar beliefs. This principal ha s an indirect role in the hiring of teachers. In this study, none of the public school principals ex perienced constraints in hiring or firing faculty as was the experience of their private school count erparts. These perceptions of autonomy exist despite the presence of teachers associationsConclusion Chubb and Moe were perpetuating a general view reg arding public and private schools. They sought to perpetuate the myth that teachers an d principals in private schools enjoy autonomy and freedom from democratic bureaucracy th at their public school counterparts do not. They further claimed that private schools only are subject to market forces. This research shows how complex the reality is. Au tonomy is an issue that does not clearly distinguish public from private education. The freedom teachers and administrators feel and the constraints they experience are complex. Ma ny of the constraints experienced by public and private high school administrators and teachers are similar. Both sectors must work within the limits of a set of prescribed laws. They are eq ually subject to pressures resulting from limited funds. Perceptions of autonomy are individual matte rs, often experienced within a range of accepted constraints. Teachers and administrators d escribe their attempts to secure professional autonomy in an arena circumscribed by the demands o f parents, college admissions requirements, and the College Board. Often these demands are conf licting and contradictory, yet teachers are able to exert autonomy by seeking protection from a dministrative hierarchies, participating in opportunities for decisionmaking, ignoring select ed policies, and seeking the sanctuary of their own classroom where their authority is unchecked. T he greatest freedom is derived from the perception of a successful school. In schools that produce students who gain admission to colleges of choice, as in this study, teachers, pri ncipals and heads of school enjoy considerable autonomy. The limited scope of this study points to the need to explore perceptions of autonomy in the context of other types of private schools. How do teachers and administrators in religious private schools experience autonomy? In what ways d o the social and economic circumstances of the students affect teachers' and administrators' a utonomy? What are the relationships between autonomy and achievement when the variables of reli gious affiliation and economic level differ from those in the present study? Given the complexi ty of the issues and the persistence of the debate about privitization of education further res earch on autonomy is warranted.


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Educational policy analysis archives.
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Markets and myths : autonomy in public and private schools / Sandra Rubin Glass.
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