• Alaska's Quality Schools Initiative: A Description And Analysis Of 51 Schools' Perceived Strengths And Weaknesses In Factors Associated With Organizational Change

      Mckinny, Betty Jean; Porter, David O. (2003)
      This descriptive study of 51 schools in Alaska examined how educational personnel are responding to the Alaskan Quality Schools Initiative. While research-identifying factors that accelerate or impede general change in organizations already exist, little research has been done in Alaska to assess personnel's attitudes and beliefs about standards-based education. Past school reforms have only experienced moderate success. This study shows that standards-based instruction is perceived by both rural and urban Alaskan educators to be a reform that could make improved achievement a reality. A questionnaire was designed and administered to educational personnel assessing present readiness to implement standards-based education and identifying factors which influenced past implementations of change. Profiles of schools, districts, and the state, reveal factors that may limit or expedite the implementation. Findings indicate that overall past educational change initiatives have been mismanaged. The state scores fall in the low moderate range 60.9 based on Implementation Management Associates Scale of 0--100. In regard to readiness to change the participating schools' scores fall in the moderate range (65.3). The majority of respondents believe that there is a high probability of successful implementation. They see a need and purpose for standards-based education. Personnel valued standards and believed that they were compatible with personal and organization values. Surveyed respondents were confident about the ability to change and were willing to focus on new approaches. The majority indicates the need for more resources and support. A predominant theme in the findings was that organizational stress is very high and personnel are concerned about the adverse effect this change may bring to their jobs. Past reform initiatives have not been aligned with the culture of the school or district. Ineffective communication coupled with low motivation and inadequate incentives has limited implementation efforts. Due to perceived lack of resources and expertise the majority of respondents question whether or not this initiative will be successful. Most rural schools, which have been characterized as widely resistant to change, were found to be more optimistic about change and had fewer barriers to overcome than urban schools.