Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association


When Kentucky established a comprehensive reform of its schools in 1990, it targeted the nature of professional culture, norms, and activities in education. To explain this reform movement, a narrative analysis of research reports targeting various aspects of the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act is reported here. The focus is on identified elements of professionalism: a requisite knowledge base, performance of a social service, broad powers of discretion in performance of a job, and collegial controls on admittance and retention in the profession. The research employed a form of narrative analysis and represents the first step in a synthesis of what is known about Kentucky's reform. The emphasis is on teachers' knowledge, on teachers' professional service, on teachers' professional judgment, and on collegial controls on admission and retention in the profession. It was found that many teachers do not have the knowledge base necessary for implementing most components of the statewide reform and are being evaluated in ways that they are poorly prepared to meet. It is hoped that by cross-synthesizing the various narratives of the reform initiatives, themes related to professionalism will be identified from the various studies of communities engaged in comprehensive state-mandated education reform.

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