School Organizations & The Context of Schooling

"Schools as Workplaces: Intersectional Regimes of Inequality" 

  • Johanna S. Quinn & Myra Marx Ferree

ABSTRACT: Joan Acker extended her 1990 brilliant and path-breaking article, “Gender, Jobs, Bodies,” to address the intersectional effects of gender, race and class as “inequality regimes” in her 2006 article of that name.  This research picks up her challenge to see embodied workers holding jobs in organizations structured simultaneously and interactively by gender, race and class processes. Rather than studying a corporate regime in which the actors are managers, supervisors and workers, this study looks at the organizational interactions among teachers and paraprofessionals in one large, urban and unionized school district in the U.S. We look at skill, care and respect as three dimensions of interaction embedded in the occupational demands and specific job requirements of teachers and paraprofessionals, and some of the tensions this regime produces between the largely White teachers and the women of color who are the paraprofessionals. By highlighting the largely invisible racialized work of supporting the moral worth of students and staff, we extend the understanding of skill and care beyond a binary model.

Available Here: Schools as workplaces: Intersectional regimes of inequality. Gender Work Organ. 2017; 1–10.

"Talking About a Revolution? Dissecting the Popular Debate over K-12 Education and the Quest to Reform Failing Schools"

  • Johanna S. Quinn

ABSTRACT: Public schools, particularly urban schools, are popularly discussed as “in crisis” and needing immediate reform. This article examines media coverage of education debates in three prominent newspapers, The New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today between 2009-2011, during a period of increased coverage of failing schools. Using a combination of collocation and discourse analysis, this paper examines how newspapers mobilize race and class to discursively frame U.S. public schools as in “crisis” or “failing,” and position teachers at the intersection of race, gender, and age as being solutions or impediments to public school improvement. I argue that newspapers depict failing schools as urban, minority, and poor, and define “good teachers” as young, elite, non-union professionals educated in well-resourced schools; “bad teachers” are simultaneously characterized as those who are products of or serve in poor, minority, or “failing” schools. In focusing on the attributes of individual teachers and generalizing their commentary on teachers and schools as a whole, newspapers circumvent a deeper systemic discussion that might reveal how or why the education system remains inequitable.

Available Here: Talking About a Revolution?

Research-Practice Partnerships

“The Voice of Participants in Program Evaluation”

  • E. Danielle Roberts, Johanna S. Quinn, Rachael Doubledee, Miriam R. Linver & Jennifer Brown Urban

ABSTRACT: Too often program evaluation occurs as a process of researchers intervening rather than working with program participants and practitioners. When researchers, practitioners, and participants operate separately, it can diminish the uptake of research findings and preclude the incorporation of valuable information from participants and practitioners into findings and recommendations. This paper focuses on the use of participant interview and focus group data in refining two youth development programs and conducting outcome evaluations using the Systems Evaluation Protocol (SEP). In this paper we show how thoughtfully engaging with programs and participants can help improve both the focus of evaluation studies and suggestions for program improvements to better address participants' needs and move toward more equitable outcomes.

See: Voice of Participants, AERA, 2019

Youth Socio-emotional Development

“Mixed Methods in Youth Purpose: An Examination of Adolescent Self-Regulation and Purpose”

  • Miriam R. Linver, Jennifer Brown Urban, Marisa MacDonnell, E. Danielle Roberts, Johanna Quinn, Satabdi Samtani, Rachael Doubledee, Lauren Gama & Derek Morgan

ABSTRACT: Utilizing a relational developmental systems approach to examining character strengths, this article examines the connection between adolescents’ intentional self-regulation (ISR) with youth sense of purpose, using data from a large-scale evaluation of a youth development program in Scotland. Data were triangulated from multiple sources, including youth surveys and interviews as well as teacher assessments. Surveys were collected from 783 S2 (approximately seventh grade) pupils; teacher survey data were collected for 732 of these pupils. Telephone interviews were conducted with a subset of 29 adolescents. The data were analyzed with an innovative mixed-methods technique that allows qualitative interview data to underscore consistencies and disconnects with quantitative findings from both teacher and adolescent surveys. Results demonstrate a strong connection between ISR and purpose and many consistencies across measures of purpose.

See: Mixed Methods in Youth Purpose, Research in Human Development, 1–21, 2018