From mandated services to mandated curriculum: Institutional isomorphism and the Catholic schools of three New York State (arch) dioceses

Paul John Lynch, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined the institutional response of three New York State (arch) dioceses to New York State's standards-based reform movement of the 1990s. The researcher set the study within the historical context of the last 40 years of interaction between the New York State Department of Education and the nonpublic school community in general, and the Catholic school community in particular. Archival data and interviews of key personnel from the diocesan offices of education and the New York State Department of Education comprised the data collected. ^ The data revealed 8 prominent themes: Catholic schools add to the strength and diversity of the University of the State of New York. Catholic schools utilize their voluntary participation in the state's reform movement to customize the state's program for the benefit of their instructional programs. There is a long history of the Catholic schools in these 3 (arch) dioceses seeking outside accountability. The central offices of education in the 3 (arch) dioceses energetically endorse standards-based education. Instructional improvement has been witnessed in the schools of these three (arch) dioceses. The Catholic identity of parochial and diocesan schools is not directly tied to the secular curriculum of these schools. The concern for Catholic schools being viewed as socially legitimate institutions is perceived to be greater in wealthier suburban areas. There is an organizational ambiguity among the 3 offices of education as to their relationship and role as supervisory bodies over both elementary and secondary education. ^ The theoretical underpinning of the study was institutional isomorphism as posited by DiMaggio and Powell in their 1983 work, "The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields." The key finding was that normative isomorphism was the prime predictor for Catholic school adoption of New York State standards and assessments. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, History of

Recommended Citation

Paul John Lynch, "From mandated services to mandated curriculum: Institutional isomorphism and the Catholic schools of three New York State (arch) dioceses" (January 1, 2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3213880.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3213880

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