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Why Do Educational Administrators and Other Stakeholders Fail to Recognize and Learn From Failure? What Lessons Can We Learn From Theories of Irrational Behavior?


This study investigates the persistence of the academic achievement gap through national and state testing data. It considers this gap by discussing studies of compensatory education programs and mandates. The inconclusive findings regarding identifying effective programs led to an exploration of decision making theories and persistence to maintain ineffective programs. This information guided the purpose of this study: to explore why decision makers continue an "irrational" course of action. Through application of the decision making theories of Escalation, Sunk-cost and Prospect, this study explored the rationale of decision makers at two California schools, with ineffective programs, via interviews and scenarios. This study concludes with discussion of the applicability of the decision making theories in education, potential application, and future research.

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