Spring 3-10-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Deborah DeMeester

Second Advisor

Stephen D. Brookfield

Third Advisor

Thomas L. Fish


This qualitative case study sought to illuminate the voices of elementary educators experiencing reform. Common and disparate concerns in reform from both elementary teachers and administrators were explored. The study revealed the motivations, desires and fears of 14 elementary teachers and three administrators through semi-structured interviews. Teacher interview data revealed a passion for teaching, the ethical tensions involved in reform, and the ways their sense of competence is challenged by reform. An examination of administrators’ assumptions regarding reform/trend cycles, issues of time for reform, and a failure to engage teachers in decision making were presented. The findings indicated both teachers and administrators care for students, but a strong theme of care revealed itself as a “hidden” curriculum in the main concerns of teachers. In addition, findings showed reform disrupts the relationships between teachers, administrators and students. Analysis of the data also indicated a lack of clarity in communication from administrators to teachers, an assumption by administrators that teachers do not need time to adjust to reform, and while dialogue in reform exists between administration and teachers, teachers are usually excluded from decision-making in reform initiatives. Recommendations for administrators and policy makers include applying Kotter’s (1996) eight change stages and the translated lessons from the data in reform. Future study could include an examination of standardized testing and reform on students’ emotional safety, as well as the notion that reform creates competition between teachers, schools and districts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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