Governance « Center on Educational Governance (CEG)


Governance Overview

The ways in which educational systems are governed and managed contribute a great deal to the eventual success of teaching and learning in schools and classrooms. Governance relates to decisions and processes that define relationships within organizations as well as between and among private and public organizations. Governance defines expectations, grants authority and delineates lines of accountability. Educational governance is particularly complex and multifaceted. School and district leaders work with school boards and other entities to establish the practices and processes under which schools operate. County, state and federal governments also play a large role in the governance of educational organizations. The policies and regulations established and implemented by these actors are at the heart of public education.

In the area of governance, CEG researchers study policy development and implementation issues. We focus on school boards and teachers’ unions to determine how their actions impact the ways in which districts and schools operate, the regulations that govern how teachers teach, and the policies that influence how students learn. We also examine alternative forms of governance through studies of school networks, charter schools and charter management organizations.

The Impact of Collective Bargaining Agreements on District Outcomes

September 2010 – Present

Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) are negotiated between school boards and teachers unions, and have traditionally focused on “bread and butter” issues such as working conditions and teacher salaries. Past research has established that CBAs also can be an effective lever for education reform. In this study, the relationship between the strength of CBAs and district outcomes is explored. The study seeks to understand: 1) how California school district CBAs have changed over time as new contracts are negotiated; and 2) the extent to which these changes are associated with important district outcomes such as budget allocation and student achievement.

Funding Source:  USC Program for the Advancement of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Books and Book Chapters

Marsh, J. (2011). The promises and challenges of deliberative democracy in practice: A comparative case study of two districts. In Cavalier, R. (Ed.), Approaching deliberative democracy: Theory and practice. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Hentschke, G. (2011). For-profit sector innovations in business models and organizational cultures. In Wildavsky, B. (Ed.), Reinventing higher education: The promise of innovation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Journal Articles

Strunk, K.O. (2011). Are teachers’ unions really to blame? Collective bargaining agreements and their relationships with district resource allocation and student performance in California. Education Finance and Policy,6(3), p. 354-398.

Strunk, K.O. & Grissom, J.A. (2010). “Do strong unions shape district policies? Collective bargaining, teacher contract restrictiveness, and the political power of teachers’ unions.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 32(3), 389-406.

Loeb, S., Strunk, K.O. (2007). “Accountability and Local Control: Response to Incentives with and Without Authority Over Resource Generation and Allocation,” Education Finance and Policy, 2(1), 10-39.

Wohlstetter, P., Malloy, C.L., Chau, D., & Polhemus, J.L. (2003). Improving schools through networks: A new approach to urban school reform. Educational Policy, 17(4), p. 399-430.

Smith, A.K. & Wohlstetter, P., (2001). Reform through school networks: A new kind of authority and accountability. Educational Policy, 15(4), p. 499-519.

Wohlstetter, P., & Smith, A.K. (2000). A different approach to systematic reform: Network structures in Los Angeles. Phi Delta Kappan. 81(7), p.508-510.

Wohlstetter, P. & McCurdy, K. (1991). The link between school decentralization and school politics. Urban Education, 25(4), 391-414

Policy Briefs

Crandall, D., Datnow, A., Lieberman, A., Supovitz, J., & Wohlstetter, P. (2006). Organising success: Dimensions of creative operationalism in networked learning communities. Cranfield: National College for School Leadership.

Wohlstetter, P., Smith, A.K., & Stewart, T.  (1999). Building K-12 connections to advance school reform:  New organizational structures and processes in LAAMP School Families.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Compact on Evaluation



Center on Educational Governance
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California
3470 Trousdale Parkway
Waite Phillips Hall, Room 901
Los Angeles, CA 90089-4039

Phone: (213) 740-0697
Fax: (213) 740-4184
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