The Effect of School Culture on Science Education at an Ideologically Innovative Elementary Magnet School

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This ethnographic case study investigated how school culture influenced teachers’ curriculum design and science instruction at an elementary magnet school with an espoused innovative ideology. Data was analyzed using a theoretical framework that emphasizes five interdependent school culture indicators. Findings suggest that the school’s culture hinders the effective teaching of science. Despite high levels of perceived efficacy from teachers and administrators, as well as generous lab space and materials to teach science, it was infrequently taught. Given a wide berth to plan their individual curriculums that aligned with distinct magnet philosophies, teachers regularly relied on innovative-looking science explorations as a substitute or inherently accepted the science amnesty provided by the curriculum and organization of the school.


Denver, CO

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