HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS' NEEDS, ATTITUDES, AND ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO COMPREHENSIVE CHANGE: THE STANDARDIZED CURRICULUM POLICY OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA (PENNSYLVANIA)

GAIL BROOKSTEIN RAZNOV, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This study focused on high school teachers' reactions to the Standardized Curriculum Policy of the Philadelphia School District with its mandated curriculum, pacing schedules, grading guidelines, and curriculum based tests during the 1985-86 school year. Interviews with seventy high school teachers of English, mathematics, science, and social studies representing six high schools produced these findings: (1) Only 11% of the teachers implemented the curriculum with 49% adapting it and 40% ignoring it. (2) Subject teacher differences occurred with 89% of the 18 English teachers ignoring and 81% of the 16 social studies teachers adapting the curriculum. (3) Only 10% of the 70 teachers followed the pacing schedule; 29% adapted and 61% ignored it. (4) The grading policy was implemented by 4% of the 70; 17% adapted and 79% ignored it. (5) Ninety-six percent of 63 teachers did not value the curriculum based test. (6) Only 19 of the 70 teachers could cite equity as the basis for having the standardized curriculum policy. No one mentioned excellence, the other goal of the policy. (a) Almost equal weight was accorded to other reasons for the policy such as public relations, transferring, uniformity, and teacher accountability. (7) Teachers cited as many negative experiences with leadership support for the policy as positive experiences. (8) Monitoring of implementation of the curriculum was mechanical and mostly via lesson plans. (9) High school teachers consider themselves subject experts and apply that standard as well as a personal philosophy about education in deciding what to teach and when to teach it. (10) High school teachers subscribe to the goodness of fit theory and practicality ethic in deciding whether to implement an innovation. (11) High school teachers want to participate in the educational improvement process and have needs for input, responsibility, collegiality, professional growth, and recognition.^ These findings have implications for educational improvement efforts, and for keeping and attracting quality teachers. High school teachers reject hyperrational, authority mandated change efforts which deny their potential and intelligence. They have needs for professionalism--professional growth, input into decision-making, responsibility, and collegiality. Professionalism and teacher empowerment are critical themes in satisfying teachers' needs and obtaining their commitment to educational improvement. ^

Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

GAIL BROOKSTEIN RAZNOV, "HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS' NEEDS, ATTITUDES, AND ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO COMPREHENSIVE CHANGE: THE STANDARDIZED CURRICULUM POLICY OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA (PENNSYLVANIA)" (January 1, 1987). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI8714114.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8714114

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