Constraints, Values, and Information: How Leaders in One District Justify Their Positions During Instructional Decision Making

Alice Huguet*, Cynthia E. Coburn, Caitlin C. Farrell, Debbie H. Kim, Anna Ruth Allen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using over 350 hours of observational data from district-level meetings, we investigate how leaders support their interpretations of problems and proposed solutions during closed-door negotiations around three policy decisions, and how they invoke race, class, and language in the process. District leaders primarily cite constraints from stakeholders, practical realities, and policies during deliberations. They also draw on beliefs, values, and—to a lesser extent—information like research and data. Race, class, and language discourses were layered with values-based reasons, and most often addressed structural challenges to equity. The balance of attention to these factors depended on the configuration of participants and the nature of the policy decision itself, particularly decision makers’ perception that it would be controversial among certain groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-747
Number of pages38
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • decision making
  • educational policy
  • equity
  • research utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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