Portland State University. School of Urban and Public Affairs.
Don C. Gibbons
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies
Urban Studies and Planning
3, viii, 309 leaves 28 cm.
Education, High schools -- United States -- Administration, Free schools -- United States -- Administration
This study investigates the way traditional and alternative secondary public school organizations are structured to impact youths. Some studies have found that traditional secondary schools utilize inappropriate and outdated organizational elements and arrangements. Alternative schools with different organizational arrangements have been initiated in public school districts to institute school reform measures. The three goals of this study are to: (1) collate a large share of the literature on the function, social context and organizational characteristics of conventional and alternative secondary public school organizations, (2) explicate a theoretical framework or interrelated set of propositions of organizational principles regarding modern organizations, including secondary schools, and (3) describe and analyze one alternative high school in Colorado. The theoretical exploration of the literature and case study will address the following questions: (1) what organizational models do conventional and alternative high schools utilize? (2) What are the organizational elements of conventional and alternative secondary public schools? (3) What types of conventional and alternative secondary schools exist in urban areas? (4) How do conventional and alternative high school organizations bear up to the charges leveled against secondary education in America? (5) What are the organizational characteristics of the alternative school in Colorado? (6) What type of alternative school is Mountain Open High School (MOHS)? (7) How does MOHS measure up to the charges leveled against American secondary education? (8) How is MOHS similar or dissimilar to public secondary schools reviewed in the literature? Data for the exploration of the organizational characteristics of traditional and alternative secondary public schools include the following sources: (1) consultation with experts in the field, (2) in-depth literature review, and (3) historical and document analysis. Data for the case study include the following sources: (1) in-depth interviews with 13 student volunteers, the principal, and other staff, (2) field observations, and (3) historical and document analysis. The results show that traditional secondary public schools utilize a bureaucratic organizational framework but organizational characteristics of schools vary according to their function and student body composition. Also, alternative secondary schools exist under bureaucratic principles but differ according to their function and organizational arrangements. The case study of MOHS demonstrates one model with instituted school reform measures.
Sweeney, Mary Ellen, "An exploratory functional-structural analysis of American urban traditional and alternative secondary public schools" (1983). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 709.