Disjunction dysfunction: Citizen vs. policy perspectives regarding school goals

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Disjunction dysfunction: Citizen vs. policy perspectives regarding school goals

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This study explored the tension between educational policy that narrows school goals and excludes citizen perspectives to the preferred goals and underlying values of Minnesota citizens. This study examined the shared values conferred between schools and their communities and the corresponding school goals. The following research questions were addressed in this study: 1) What do Minnesota citizens identify as the conferred values between schools and communities? 2) What goals do Minnesota citizens desire from their schools? This study addressed the research questions and study purpose by engaging local citizens in a focused conversation about values and school purpose and goals. Participants in this study desired schools that produced comprehensive goals for individual students, their local communities, and society. Study participants described comprehensive goals that reflected deeply held community values including community sustainability, promoting future generational success, community connectedness, citizenship, service, and pride. Participants described the disjunction between educational policy and citizen perspectives about values and school goals. Citizens described concerns about educational policy that narrowly defined school goals. Goals that specified only technical outcomes attained by individual students were also of concern. Finally, participants described issues with success being measured exclusively by short-term standardized achievement tests in math and reading. Including citizens in the process of identifying priority goals may result in educational policy that supports more comprehensive outcomes. This study suggested that citizens desire and expect schools to emphasize comprehensive goals that reflect community values.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2019. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Nicola Alexander, Karen Seashore-Louis. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 141 pages.

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Ruhland, Aaron. (2019). Disjunction dysfunction: Citizen vs. policy perspectives regarding school goals. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/208992.

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