Organizational analysis of teacher decision making and its effects in charter schools

Constance Keefe, University of Pennsylvania


Proponents of charter schools, as well as enabling legislation, assert that teachers in these schools would have enhanced professional opportunities. The purpose of this study was to test this claim by comparing the level of influence that teachers in the three sectors exert on schoolwide and classroom decisions. Further, the study examined the effects of teacher decision making on the work experiences and career aspirations of charter teachers. Another study objective was to estimate which policy variables are associated with teacher professional opportunities. Data for this study come from the National Center of Education Statistics' Schools and Staffing Survey (1999-2000). The survey included a sample of public and private schools, and a census of charter schools that had been opened, at least, since the 1998-1999 school year. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the effects of teacher decision making and the effects of charter policy on the level of decision making. Charter policies examined included three autonomy measures: freedom to budget and manage funds, hire and dismiss staff, chose a curriculum. Other policy predictors included origin of the school (new compared to a former school converting to charter status), legal status, management structure (EMO or not), whether the school was authorized by the district. Findings from this study demonstrated that in most decision categories, charter teachers had somewhat more decision-making authority than public school teachers. Charter teachers' overall influence on schoolwide decisions was positively associated with job satisfaction, cohesive relationship with the principal, cohesive community among teachers, and to a lesser extent to teacher efficacy and commitment. Control of classroom discipline had a weak effect on the cohesion outcomes and teacher efficacy. The policy variable, charter school is a Local Education Agency, had a negative effect on teacher control of classroom discipline. No other linear relationships were found between the policy variables and teacher decision making.

Subject Area

Educational sociology|School administration|Organizational behavior

Recommended Citation

Keefe, Constance, "Organizational analysis of teacher decision making and its effects in charter schools" (2008). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3309454.