Learning from school restructuring

Penelope L. Peterson, Sarah J. McCarthey, Richard F. Elmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyzed cases of restructuring experiments in three elementary schools, each with ethnically diverse populations, located in large urban school districts in different parts of the United States. Over 2 years, we gathered data on views and classroom writing practices of two teachers in each school through on-site interviews and observations. We also interviewed the principal and other support personnel. We found that these three schools did successfully restructure; changes included new student grouping patterns, new ways of allocating time for subject matter, teachers meeting together as a whole school or in teams, and access to new ideas through professional development opportunities. Through close analyses of teachers' classroom practices, we learned that changing teachers' practice is primarily a problem of learning, not a problem of organization. While school structures can provide opportunities for learning new practices, the structures, by themselves, do not cause the learning to occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-153
Number of pages35
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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