WorldCat Identities

Firestone, William A.

Works: 74 works in 160 publications in 1 language and 8,421 library holdings
Genres: Case studies  Examinations  Conference papers and proceedings  Abstracts 
Roles: Author, Editor
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by William A Firestone
The ambiguity of teaching to the test : standards, assessment, and educational reform( )

10 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 2,170 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This work offers a hard look at the effects of state testing, and thoroughly examines the ambiguity of test preparation and how test preparation practices are influenced by what teachers know and the leadership coming from the school and district
Redesigning teaching : professionalism or bureaucracy? by William A Firestone( )

15 editions published between 1992 and 1993 in English and held by 1,807 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This book clarifies current efforts to reform teaching by providing a conceptual analysis of what a professional and a bureaucratic view of teaching entail. Case studies are presented illustrating what happens when differing approaches to teachers' work are tried in three school districts. The first chapter describes the two approaches to reform by examining their conceptions of what students should learn and how and what teachers should teach. The next three chapters present the stories of three districts' efforts to redesign teaching; the teacher program is described in its district context, and issues of implementation are analyzed. Chapter 5 examines how the three districts implemented divergent conceptions of teacher reform. Chapter 6 analyzes the politics of redesign by examining the roles of different groups in shaping district policies. The final chapter synthesizes the arguments of the book and suggests that while short-term improvements can be accomplished through bureaucracy, serious reform requires professionalization. An extensive reference list and three appendices--research methods, a site visit guide, and an academy survey--complete the volume. (LL)
Change and effectiveness in schools : a cultural perspective by Gretchen B Rossman( )

7 editions published in 1988 in English and held by 1,484 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

A new agenda for research in educational leadership( Book )

5 editions published in 2005 in English and held by 620 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"This book, the product of the task force on research co-sponsored by the American Educational Research Association Division A and the University Council for Educational Administration, sets an ambitious agenda for research in educational leadership. Prominent scholars in the field review current knowledge about leadership, frame new questions to generate important research in the field, and direct researchers and policymakers to rethink how educational administration, leadership, and policy should be understood
School context and school change : implications for effective planning by H. Dickson Corbett( Book )

6 editions published in 1984 in English and held by 370 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Great expectations for small schools : the limitations of Federal projects by William A Firestone( Book )

6 editions published in 1980 in English and held by 304 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This book describes the chain stretching from President Nixon's announcement of the Experimental Schools Program in 1969 to the midpoint of its implementation in the Butte-Angels Camp School District (pseudonym for a small mountainous district 400 miles from Denver) in 1976. The story is told in some detail to illustrate the complexities of the process--complexities that are not really well understood either by the people in Washington who design a new program or the people in schools who respond to it. The emphasis in this case is on what took place in the district. As a result, the story portrays the mulitfaceted context in which this project was implemented and the host of issues and special interests that became attached to it. The actual story tells how the district's project was transformed into something that was very different from what was expected by program managers in Washington or by the district's superintendent and his staff who wrote the initial proposals that were funded. However, it provides an opportunity to explore a number of issues that concern those involved in change efforts at whatever level. (Author/BRR)
Rethinking effective schools : research and practice by Rethinking effective schools( Book )

4 editions published in 1991 in English and held by 287 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

From cashbox to classroom : the struggle for fiscal reform and educational change in New Jersey by William A Firestone( Book )

3 editions published in 1997 in English and held by 252 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In June 1990, after 9 years of court battles, the state supreme court had found that New Jersey's school finance system was inequitable and had to be changed to better support children in urban schools. This book details the reasons behind the reform and its effects and tracks the impact of the reform from its dollar effects on fiscal equity in the classroom to its instructional effects on educational excellence. The book demonstrates how difficult it is to redistribute finances when political power has shifted to the more affluent suburbs and has declined in the poorer urban districts. The text focuses on personnel changes, including salary increases; adjustments in curriculum, instruction, and assessment; the changes in services for at-risk students and some of the programmatic responses to these students; and the many problems behind deferred maintenance and how districts address these needs. The conclusion presents three stories of school finance reform and the implications of such reform. (Contains an index and approximately 160 references.) (Rjm)
The progress of reform : an appraisal of state education initiatives by William A Firestone( Book )

4 editions published in 1989 in English and held by 108 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Explaining differences between elementary and secondary schools : individual, organizational, and institutional perspectives by William A Firestone( Book )

2 editions published in 1984 in English and held by 90 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Although elementary, junior high, and senior high schools are perceived as different, their differences are essentially ignored when organizational theorists characterize schools as loosely linked systems. Such systems share two characteristics: absence of shared goals and decentralization of power. To facilitate development of a more differentiated theory of school linkage, a recent study explored empirical differences among schools at three levels and attempted to explain these differences. Elementary schools consistently have stronger linkages than junior high schools, which in turn have stronger linkages than senior high schools. The data from a sample of 104 public schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey suggest that differences between levels cannot be attributed to the staff's personal characteristics or to such organizational characteristics as size and complexity. An institutional perspective helps explain the differences between elementary and secondary schools in terms of size, staff, specialization, and gender composition. Historical evidence indicates that these differences result from institutional forces creating different expectations about how older and younger children should be educated. Four statistical tables and 59 references are appended. (Mlh)
Administrative behavior, school SES, and student achievement : a preliminary investigation by William A Firestone( Book )

1 edition published in 1989 in English and held by 83 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The school effects literature is replete with discussions of whether any factors, beyond socioeconomic status (ses), contribute to an explanation of student achievement. Recent attention has focused on the role of the school administrator. One argument is that a strong, controlling principal is a key to improved student performance. Another argument is that, through supportive efforts, administrators can facilitate teachers' work, which in turn affects student achievement. This paper presents findings of a study that examined two related issues--the administrative factors that influence student achievement and the effect of family ses on the working of those factors. Data were obtained from a survey of 175 elementary and 118 secondary southeastern Pennsylvania schools. Findings indicate that, independent of ses, supportive administrative behavior was positively associated with achievement at both the elementary and secondary levels. Tight administrative control over teaching was negatively associated with achievement, but only at the elementary level. In conclusion, school conditions do influence what students learn. Three figures are included. Appendices contain two statistical tables (lmi)
Alienation and commitment of high school students and teachers by Sheila Rosenblum( Book )

4 editions published between 1987 and 1990 in English and held by 82 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The extent, nature, and sources of alienation among students and teachers in high school are being examined at two inner city comprehensive high schools in each of five large urban districts. Research methods include interviews with staff (over 300 individuals) and collection of statistical data. A conceptual framework for studying these issues is presented and the data collection procedures are discussed. Three types of teacher commitment and two types of student commitment have been found. Interrelationships between teacher commitment and student commitment have been uncovered. Correlates and results of this ongoing study are presented in figures, charts, and tables. Emerging themes in student and teacher commitment are listed. General preliminary findings suggest the following: (1) the district context influences student and teacher commitment; (2) there is an interplay between student and teacher commitment; and (3) a variety of school factors influence the interaction between teachers and students. (Vm)
The coordination of education and social services : implications from three programs by William A Firestone( Book )

3 editions published between 1987 and 1990 in English and held by 79 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This study addressed concerns of Pennsylvania legislators and government departments by examining coordination between education and other human service agencies in three program areas: early intervention (for preschool handicapped children); student assistance (for drug and alcohol abuse and other teenage problems); and teenage pregnancy and parenting. It sought to clarify the nature of the coordination problems that arose and the reasons for those problems in order to make recommendations about how to alleviate them in the future. Interagency conflict and service blockages were found to be independent problems for coordination. For teenage pregnancy, institutional survival concerns were the primary contributor to interagency conflict. The main cause of interagency conflict in student assistance was treatment philosophy and the main blockage to coordination was service capacity. For early intervention coordination, the main blockage was again service capacity. Conclusions and recommendations included: (1) coordination can increase the cost of services by increasing the demand; (2) coordination is facilitated by complementary interests; (3) arrangements that minimize competition between agencies should be established; (4) regulations contribute to coordination problems; (5) coordination is facilitated when programs have a clear purpose compatible with the philosophies of other involved parties; (6) local coordination councils can facilitate coordination; (7) planning and adjustment to facilitate coorddination must continue after new projects have started; and (8) increased resources are often needed to reduce service blockages. (Abl)
Building commitment among students and teachers : an exploratory study of ten urban high schools by William A Firestone( Book )

2 editions published in 1987 in English and held by 79 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This report explores the commitment of students and teachers to the educational enterprise in ten urban comprehensive high schools in Baltimore (Maryland), Newark (New Jersey), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), and Washington (District of Columbia). Data were analyzed from interviews conducted in each school with the principal, assistant principals, a counselor, teachers and department heads from a variety of departments, and a high- and low-achieving ninth or tenth grade and senior student. Additional interviews were conducted with central office staff in each city. Major variables explored include the following: (1) district characteristics; (2) school characteristics; (3) interactions among teachers and students; and (4) teacher and student commitment. Major findings include the following: (1) student and teacher commitment are closely interrelated; (2) factors which affect the commitment of both students and teachers include relevance, respect, support, expectations, and influence; and (3) each of these factors can be reflected in a series of programmatic and administrative actions at both the district and the school level. Recommendations for ways to adjust these school and district factors to build commitment are included. Illustrative material is included on nine figures. A list of references is also included. The appendices include the following: (1) a review of the related literature; (2) a list of interview questions; and (3) definitions of the variables examined. (Fmw)
The alienation and commitment of students and teachers in urban high schools by William A Firestone( Book )

4 editions published in 1988 in English and held by 77 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Problems of urban high schools, including poor attendance, high dropout rates, low achievement, and poor social relationships, are linked together by a strong sense of alienation among students and teachers. Yet much of the educational research and policy treat these issues separately. In this study a conceptual framework for understanding student and teacher commitment is presented and illustrated with data from a field study of 10 urban high schools. An open-ended interview approach was used to obtain information on school factors, student commitment, and teacher commitment. The findings showed how teachers and students are in conflict even though they are members of two mutually dependent subcultures. Teachers and students must respect and affiliate with one another. Teachers must make schoolwork interesting for students. Administrative tasks and paperwork must be decreased to a level that does not burden teachers. Administrative support for teachers is needed. Strategies for maximizing commitment must include attention to the following five school factors: (1) relevance; (2) respect; (3) support; (4) expectations; and (5) influence. (Vm)
Restructuring teaching : form, process, and outcome by William A Firestone( Book )

2 editions published between 1990 and 1991 in English and held by 75 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Educators have recently become more willing to realign the educational system. One approach is restructuring, which can take many forms. This study looks at three districts that restructured teaching, two with career ladders and one with shared governance. The reforms took two directions--professional and bureaucratic--which had important consequences for the process and outcomes of the restructuring. Many factors were encompassed in the direction taken, including how districts addressed certain dimensions of job and organizational design; I.E., authority and autonomy. Political factors that shaped the direction of development include the shape of the state program; the support of the board; the vision of the superintendent; and the interactions of board, superintendent, teachers and teachers' associations. Where the direction was bureaucratic--imposed from the top down with little or no teacher influence--there was significant teacher resistance, standardization of curriculum and instruction, and negative impacts on teacher motivation. Where the direction was professional--developed locally with significant teacher influence--there was widespread teacher acceptance, significant differentiation in curriculum and instruction, and positive impacts on teacher motivation. Where the direction was mixed--both top down and teacher-influenced design and implementation--results were mixed and difficult to assess. (Author/JD)
Professional cultures, improvement efforts and effectiveness : findings from a study of three high schools by Gretchen B Rossman( Book )

3 editions published in 1985 in English and held by 70 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This report summarizes a study that explored the relationships between efforts to improve schools, the definitions of effectiveness or success which drive those efforts, and how these are affected by the inner life, or cultures, of the schools. Three improving high schools were studied in an attempt to understand the deeply-held beliefs of the adults in the schools and how those cultures shaped definitions of effectiveness and local improvement efforts. The findings are presented as case studies of the three schools, and address three major questions: (1) What is presently known about the relationship between cultures in schools, improvement efforts, and effectiveness? (2) What is culture? And (3) What do we know about cultural change? The three cases provide data for a set of conclusions regarding cultures, change, and definitions of effectiveness which are presented and elaborated upon in the final chapter. Also included is a discussion of the ideology of improvement and effectiveness as it clashes with the comprehensive ideal of the American high school. (Jd)
Effective schools : do elementary prescriptions fit secondary schools? by William A Firestone( Book )

3 editions published in 1982 in English and held by 65 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Most of the recent research identifying organizational characteristics that seem to make schools unusually effective has been conducted at the elementary level and may not be applicable to secondary schools. Research currently underway suggests that the basic organizational structures of elementary and secondary schools dictate two different approaches to improving effectiveness. The secondary level is distinguished from the elementary level by structural looseness, departmentalization, and increased size. These factors undermine agreement on educational goals and block efforts of high school principals and administrators to influence classroom management. Secondary school principals are limited in their influence over programs and exercise symbolic leadership. Furthermore, it must be recognized that schools serve students of a wide range of socioeconomic and intellectual levels, and that high schools, in particular, must prepare these students for the outside world. Therefore, in defining secondary school effectiveness, it is necessary to consider more than the criterion of "basic skills." (Author/GC)
Studying professional cultures in improving high schools by Gretchen B Rossman( Book )

2 editions published in 1985 in English and held by 54 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Effective schools research has identified many characteristics of schools that are unusually successful in fostering student achievement. One interpretation of these findings emphasizes the shared values of all school participants which constitute the ethos of the school. This paper presents a conceptual framework for studying the processes of cultural transformation, focusing on teachers whose beliefs, values, and behaviors affect student learning. The study concentrated on schools known to be improving in order to increase knowledge about how cultural changes lead to school improvement. A description is given of a perspective that emphasizes the cultural elements in effective schools and the interplay of culture and change. The concept of culture is defined and elaborated upon, identifying key assumptions about the cognitive and symbolic aspects of culture. Processes of cultural change and transformation are described. The paper concludes by describing five cultural domains or themes: (1) collegiality of faculty; (2) relationships within the community; (3) purposes and expectations of school leadership; (4) how work is conducted in the school; and (5) the knowledge base used for teaching by the school's faculty and administrators. (Jd)
Rational bureaucracy or loosely coupled system? : an empirical comparison of two images of organization by William A Firestone( Book )

3 editions published in 1982 in English and held by 50 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

According to organizational theory, the administrative structure of schools has an effect on the feasibility and ease of improving their operation. To determine whether schools are better characterized as rational bureaucracies or as loosely coupled systems or whether some schools belong to each model, four dimensions were operationalized (goal consensus, centralization of influence, vertical communication, and rule enforcement) that would receive high scores in a rational bureaucracy. Approximately 1,300 teachers from a random sample of 50 schools drawn from southeastern Pennsylvania were administered questionnaires that collected data concerning the organizational structures of their schools. A series of cluster and discriminant analyses revealed two distinguishable groups of schools, one associated with each model. The results of this research have substantial practical as well as theoretical utility. (Mlf)
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The ambiguity of teaching to the test : standards, assessment, and educational reform
English (89)

Change and effectiveness in schools : a cultural perspectiveA new agenda for research in educational leadershipFrom cashbox to classroom : the struggle for fiscal reform and educational change in New Jersey