CPRE : Consortium for Policy Research in Education

Reconstitution as a Remedy for School Failure

This project focused on school reconstitution from 1996-2002 as an accountability strategy for persistently failing schools. The project incorporated both an analysis of policy intent and an exploration of the reality of reconstitution as implemented and experienced in schools. A theme throughout this work was the interplay between high-stakes accountability as an incentive for change and the capacity needed at the school site to make the desired improvement a reality. While "reconstitution" has varied meanings depending on jurisdiction, project researchers defined it to occur when an agent external to the school responds to persistently low student performance by removing and replacing the school leadership and at least a portion of the teaching staff. The action is premised on all students' rights to an education and a recognition of the persistent failure of specific schools to provide it. In most cases, reconstitution is authorized as the final step of a multi-stage school accountability process, reserved for schools that do not improve despite warnings and other interventions.

Research Report:

External Support to Schools on Probation: Getting a Leg Up? (Kara Finnigan and Jennifer O'Day, with the assistance of David Wakelyn, July 2003)

Start date: 
January 1996
End date: 
December 2002