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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


An Examination of the Interface among Policy Makers, Scholars, and Practitioners within the Context of School Reform and School Transformation: International Cases and Comparisons

Dr Donna L. Ferrara, Julio C Gonzalez-Martinez.

This paper investigates the conditions which arise when the actions of policy makers, the findings of scholars, and the practices of professional educators (as related to the schooling of children from preschool through high school/upper school completion) are not coordinated to achieve a systematic and systemic approach to school reform, organizational learning, and capacity building.

Case studies, derived from more than 10 years of empirical research in Italy, Belarus, and the United States conducted by the primary author (1990-2003), illustrate the challenges faced in school reform and transformation initiatives. Additional case studies illuminate the correlates of effective reform efforts.

The challenge of measuring the indices, processes, and outcomes of school reform and transformation efforts is also addressed. The authors will share instrumentation developed by the primary author over a ten-year period that was designed to measure shared decision making, school autonomy, school improvement needs, school improvement practices, school capacity factors, and obstacles to school reform.

Implications of the lack of dialogue and linkages among policy makers, scholars, and professional educators are related to what learning means in a professional educational context and what learning means for the transformation of schooling. Implications also focus on the knowledge, skills, competencies, and personal dispositions and attributes needed presently and into the future by those within the sectors of educational policy making, scholarship, and practice.


Dr Donna L. Ferrara  (United States)
Associate Professor
Division of Education
Long Island University/Southampton College

Dr. Donna L. Ferrara, Associate Professor of Education, has researched, published, presented, and consulted widely in the area of school reform, leadership, shared governance, and school autonomy, both in the U.S. and in Europe. She also has experience with institutional and educational accreditation. Other professional and research interests include school improvement, development of instrumentation, and assessment and evaluation of educational programs.

Julio C Gonzalez-Martinez  (United States)

Long Island University

  • Challenges of School Reform
  • School Transformation
  • Lack of Linkages in School Change

(30 min Conference Paper, English)