Source: (2013) Dissertation. Degree of Doctor of Education. Loyola Marymount University,
This qualitative study featured two research endeavors. The first was a narrative inquiry of six
teachers at Weedpatch Charter School as they understood curricular and pedagogical decisionmaking.
These teachers, along with the Weedpatch Charter School founder, participated in this
study soon after the curriculum and instruction decision-making had undergone a
democratization effort whereby a top-down administrative approach was replaced by a teacherled
effort. Ironically, WCS school leadership welcomed the latter effort, despite the antiteacher
legacy of the charter movement, which has long featured â€œat willâ€ employment and no collective
bargaining. The second component of this study was critical discourse analysis (CDA) of the
curricular and pedagogical manuals used at WCS before and after the democratization effort.
The findings in this study point to a dialectical set of developments at WCS that made it possible
for teachers to move from a period of disillusionment into a period of active teacher agency.
Similarly, the document analysis findings point to the need for more nuanced understandings of the ideological underpinnings of charter schools.
Discourse analysis determined that WCS did not necessarily present a classic example of
neoliberalism. Given the latter nuance, the manual that the teachers created was counterhegemonic, liberatory, and ultimately contextual and contingent upon that very unique
WCS dynamic. As such, the conclusion of this study was that charter leaders could learn from
teacher understandings not by being prescriptive but by abiding by what the author has coined
contingent collectivism. (author’s abstract)
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