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School District Governance and Classroom Reading Instructional Practices


Government has tried to hold local schools accountable for uneven performance. This may lead local school districts to centralize the control of curriculum and teaching practices. Yet little is known empirically about the extent to which districts have come to centrally manage, or whether districts buffer accountability pressures (neoinstitutional theory) to protect professional control of the technical core of the organization. This study drew from the concepts and predictions of neoinstitutional theory to examine whether and how reading instructional practices were tightly or loosely coupled in a centralized versus a decentralized school district. By employing the organizational-theory concepts of bridging and buffering, I identified the levels of the district or school at which buffering or bridging could be observed, and the specified which policy or curricular tools were employed by district officials or school principals to bridge or buffer the instructional practices from institutional pressures.

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