Edwardsville, Ill. (PRWEB) June 18, 2013
Nearly $160,000 was awarded to the Illinois Education Research Council at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville by the Joyce Foundation for a two-year project studying how charter schools organize teaching differently than other public schools.
The Joyce Foundation is an organization that supports the development of policies aimed at improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes region and across the country. It serves as a model for the rest of the country.
Established in 1948 by the late Beatrice Joyce Kean of Chicago, the organization provides grant opportunities to focus on policy development in the areas of education, employment, the environment, gun violence, money and politics and culture.
Human resources management policies and practices in Illinois charter schools will be the primary area of focus for the study. This will allow researchers to learn more about the extent and consequences of teacher-focused school reform in charter schools and help address gaps in the research literature. The IERC plans to examine learning conditions, school staffing and spending data, and teacher mobility patterns in Illinois charter schools, and explore the relationships between these factors.
The research team also hopes to conduct in-depth investigations of teacher hiring, evaluation, compensation, and retention policies and practices in sites that have been identified as innovators in these fields.
“It is our hope that these analyses yield findings that can help guide personnel policies in both the charter and traditional public school sectors, where appropriate, as well as demonstrate the degree to which Illinois charter schools are leveraging the flexibility allowed by the state’s charter law to drive more strategic management of their human capital,” said Brad White, senior researcher for the IERC.
The study will conclude in May 2015. White added, “Charter schools are public schools of choice that are open to all students and operate under a performance contract, or charter, whereby they are granted increased autonomy with regard to inputs—such as human resource management—in exchange for increased accountability with regard to outcomes, such as student achievement.”
For charter school operators, one advantage of this autonomy is the freedom from “the numerous reporting requirements from their local and state education agencies,” White said. “For researchers however, the flexibility granted to charter schools means that there is often little data available with regard to inputs to these schools.”
So, while charter schools often are described as being more innovative and flexible than traditional public schools, especially when it comes to the management of human resources, very little is known about their actual practices, at scale or longitudinally, White said. He added even less is known about the impact of these practices on student achievement.
According to White, potential future studies could focus on teaching and school climate for charter school teachers; how much autonomy the teachers themselves have; how the career path or career ladder differs between charter and public schools; opportunities for advancement in these institutions, and how working conditions compare across institutions.