To Run a School: Administrative Organization and Learning

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There is a quiet revolution occurring in American public education policy. The debate surrounds the issue of how best to go about educating the country's youth in the modern--or postmodern--world. Simon looks beyond the debate to focus on what public school organization tells policymakers about outcomes.

Simon argues that public schools are open systems organizations, continually reacting to a changing environment and to evolving internal organizational conditions. The structure of public schools, he shows, has not changed dramatically, but the organizational priorities have and will continue to change. As he shows, public schools are complex mechanisms that cannot be easily manipulated to produce a quick fix to perceived problems. Through detailed case studies and their varied outcomes, Simon provides scholars, students, and public policy makers in education policy and administration with valuable insights into contemporary educational debates.

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Editorial Reviews

Steering clear of advocacy for either side of the US education privatization debate, the author discusses public school organization's relation to student outcomes from a factor analysis of the interrelationship among personnel, resources, and circumstances in Washington state public schools from 1991-95. After overviewing external forces effecting education policy (e.g., the Cold War), the history of the common school movement, privatization alternatives, and organizational models, he concludes that contingency rather than classical organizational theory is most applicable to public schools. His data suggest that instability due to such organizational plus environmental factors as high staff turnover, major technical core reforms, and voters' whims has a negative impact. Simon is apparently affiliated with Washington State U. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275968342
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRISTOPHER A. SIMON is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Professor Simon has authored or coauthored numerous articles on education and public policy issues.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Organization Theory and Public School District Organization 25
3 Organizational Environment 49
4 School Finance Issues and Organization 81
5 Findings 111
6 Privatization: The 'Virtue of Competition' Hypothesis 137
7 Conclusion 165
Suggested Further Reading 179
Index 181
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