Increased school accountability has placed greater importance on state testing measures. John Dewey (1930), however, argued that doing so creates inauthentic learning experiences for students and that democracy should be the aim of schools. Amidst the current environment of accountability, EL Education has continued to call for an educational system in America that values democratic schools while still attending to the mastery of knowledge and skills that state-wide tests seek to assess. This study sought to determine what, if any, democratic school characteristics are present in an EL Education case study school, how those characteristics are enacted, and what impact those characteristics have on students. Data was collected and analyzed using John Dewey’s theory of democracy and education. The data demonstrate three primary findings. First, the case study school was found to be a democratic school, of which its democratic characteristics include a commitment to equity, authentic and meaningful learning experiences, the creation and cultivation of voice, a sense of community, and the fostering of personal and civic responsibility. Despite this finding, school leaders and teachers still believe that the school rightly operates within a context that adults set and maintain. Second, EL Education structures facilitate the enactment of these characteristics. And third, these democratic school characteristics are believed by school leaders and teachers to create a strong sense of belonging and strong sense of purpose for student learning. This study demonstrates that schools can structure themselves to attain deeper student outcomes than the ones sought only through state-wide accountability measures. More specifically, this study demonstrated how schools can create more meaningful and authentic outcomes for their students if they shift their purpose to furthering our democratic society and the passionate pursuits of their students.
|Advisor:||Thessin, Rebecca A.|
|Commitee:||Howard, Lionel C., Linkous, Kelly S.|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Educational Leadership & Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational administration, Educational leadership|
|Keywords:||Authentic learning opportunities, Community, Democratic schools, EL education, Equity, John Dewey|
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