Deciding to Change: One District’s Quest to Improve Overall Student Performance

Steven David Brazer, Erin E. Peters


This single case study of a school district responding to federal and state accountability pressures presents a rare analysis of educational decision making as it happens. It focuses in particular on the challenges and choices of making a strategic decision and the transition from that decision into implementation. Using a conceptual framework of multiple stakeholder decision making and a mixed methodology, this article demonstrates who has influence in decision making, how that influence directs decision making, and the effects of the ways in which strategic change decisions are communicated. This particular school district formulated its change decision collaboratively, but issued an implementation directive to the schools that was bureaucratic in nature. The result is rapid implementation with some unresolved problems. Practical implications suggest that education leaders can be thoughtful about aligning transition choices with desired outcomes. Research implications lead to more studies of this type to further illuminate the details of decision making in educational contexts.


decision making; leadership; policy implementation

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Copyright (c) 2015 Steven David Brazer, Erin E. Peters

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