The Participation Decision Study : Private School Leaders’ Perspectives on Accessing Federal Funding Considering Environmental Factors Influencing NCLB Choice and Competition Mechanisms
Ficaj, Margaret Y.
Tanner, Judith A.
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The 2011 participation decision study involved exploration into the impact of the external education environment on the decision for private school participation in Federal funding, one deliberately declining player in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB) choice and competition equation. In the qualitative collective case, three religiously triangulated Michigan private school decision-makers submitted to semi-structured interviews. Analysis of the external environmental factors was through the lens of Gould and Eldredge’s (1977) environmentally oriented theory, punctuated equilibria philosophy of change. Analysis involved layering, direct interpretation, categorical aggregation, and cross-comparison of two external environmental categories identified at literature review (NCLB-content and privatization-dynamic) with numerous major and sub-groupings and space for newly emergent material. The category privatization-dynamics emerged as significant influence, as did the major theme trust and the sub-themes motivational intent, competency, consistency, grapevine, creativity or inspiration, restrictions on curriculum, lack of awareness of opportunities available, and fear of failure. The study included five specific recommendations for leaders of change to explain, predict, and improve organizational performance toward greater synchronization in operation of the NCLB choice and competition mechanisms.