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INFLUENCE OF PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY AND ORGANIZATIONAL
JUSTICE ON JOB SATISFACTION OF TEACHERS IN PRIVATIZED JUVENILE
GLORIA CURRY JOHNSON
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Gloria Curry Johnson
This document is dedicated to the students in Juvenile Justice Programs in Florida and
I thank my advisor, M. E. Swisher, for her brilliant intellect, her can do attitude and
her unwavering support.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv
LIST OF TABLES .............. .......... .... ....... .. .. .. .. .. ...... .............. vii
LIST OF FIGURES .............. ......... ... .... ....... ........ ..... viii
ABSTRACT .............. .................. .......... .............. ix
1 IN TR O D U C TIO N ......................................................................... .... .. ........
2 L IT E R A TU R E R E V IE W .................................................................... ....................7
3 RESEARCH DESGIN AND METHODS..........................................................28
C oncepts, Indicators and V ariables ................................................... ....................28
Prelim inary R research ................ .... ............... .. ...................... 29
Design ............ ..........................................................30
Sampling ............... .............................................32
In stru m en tatio n ............................................................................................... 3 7
P procedure ................................................................................................... ........ 42
D ata A nalysis.................................................. 43
4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ............................................. 46
Professional Com m unity ................................................ ............... 52
Shared Sense of Purpose ................. ............. ...................52
Structural Conditions.............................. ...............58
Human and Social Resources ............................. ......... 62
O rg an ization al Ju stice ............................................................................................ 6 7
Privatization ........................................... 71
5 CONCLUSION..................... ..................80
Im plications for Future Research................................ ................... 80
C on clu sion .................................................................................................8 1
A T E A C H E R T A L K ........................................................................... .....................86
B QUESTIONS FROM TEACHER TALK QUESTIONNAIRE AND
INSTRUMENT GROUPED ACCORDING TO RELEVANCE TO THE
INTERVENING VARIABLES RELATIVE TO PROFESSIONAL
COMMUNITY AND ORGANIZATIONAL JUSTICE, 2005 ................................96
LIST OF REFEREN CES ......... .................. .............. .................................... 99
B IO G R A PH ICA L SK ETCH ......... ................. ...................................... .....................106
LIST OF TABLES
3-1 2004 Quality Assurance Scores for Six Schools Operated by A.M.I. (Florida
Department of Juvenile Justice) ..... ................. ............. 36
4-1 A Socio-demographic Analysis of Respondents (n=27) who Participated in
Research Project on Teacher Satisfaction in Privatized Juvenile Justice
Programs Contracted by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, 2005 ...........47
4-2 Individual and Composite Mean Scores of Teacher Ratings of Six Factors
Affecting Teacher Satisfaction in Six Privatized Schools Contracted by the
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, 2005...... ......... ............48
LIST OF FIGURES
2-1 Theoretical Framework Describing the Intervening Variables of Professional
Community and Organizational Justice and Their Relationship to Teacher
Satisfaction in Privatized Juvenile Justice Schools............... ...... ............... 27
4-1 Mean Length of Employment per Individual School of Teachers in Six Privatized
Schools Contracted by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, 2005 ..............67
4-2 Length of Employment Measured in Six Month Increments of Teachers in Six
Privatized Schools Contracted by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice,
2 0 0 5 ............................................................................. 7 0
4-3 Theoretical Framework Describing the Influence of Privatization on the Presence
of Professional Community, Organizational Justice, and School Effectiveness on
Teacher Satisfaction and Recidivism in Privatized Juvenile Justice Schools..........74
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree Master of Science
INFLUENCE OF PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY AND ORGANIZATIONAL
JUSTICE ON JOB SATISFACTION OF TEACHERS IN PRIVATIZED JUVENILE
Gloria Curry Johnson
Chair: Marilyn E. Swisher
Major Department: Family, Youth and Community Sciences
In the United States, 68.2 percent of states have shown increased activity towards
privatization in the area of juvenile rehabilitation. These programs find it increasingly
necessary to attract and retain highly qualified teachers in order to comply with the No
Child Left Behind Act. This research explores the effects of two major variables on
teacher satisfaction: the presence of a professional community and organizational justice
in the private juvenile justice setting. A case study design is used to identify trends in
satisfaction relating to teachers' perception of professional community and organizational
justice. Data were collected from a purposive sample of teachers working in private,
juvenile justice facilities using a self-completion questionnaire and a structured oral
interview. Grounded theory helped to analyze trends in these data. These trends may
help foster the effectiveness of efforts to retain quality teachers in juvenile justice
programs and improve the educational services provided to these youths. This could
prove beneficial to youths and to communities because more consistent educational
services may assist the youths in achieving academically and improve vocational
opportunities. Academic achievement has been shown to have a positive impact on
juvenile crime and delinquency.
All good research is influenced by real life situations. The impetus for this research
arose from my first hand experiences as a teacher in a private juvenile justice program.
My co-workers were qualified and dedicated. Like me, these teachers chose to work with
at risk youth because they wanted to make a difference. They did not enter the field
unwittingly. Their purpose was clear. They were competent and caring. They were great
educators and co-workers. Or should I say they are all of the above, however, they no
longer work within the juvenile justice setting.
All of my former coworkers have left their chosen career path for some other work
setting. They all work with youth in some capacity, just not with those who may need
their qualities of enthusiasm, dedication, and compassion the most. The youths they
taught at the juvenile justice program were complex, challenging, and very needy. Their
teachers found their work to be rewarding, interesting, and never dull.
The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is the agency in Florida charged with the
care and oversight of the youths involved with the legal system. In Florida, 43,000
youths a year are served by the department. The department attributes the high mobility
of our society as a contributing factor to delinquency in youth. The department offers a
variety of services to these youths. Their mission is to "protect public by reducing
juvenile crime and delinquency." Treatment and rehabilitation are at the cornerstone of
the department's prevention policy (Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet,
Often, juvenile offenders have had a long history of problems in school. Many of
them exhibit behavior problems and perform below grade level academically. The youths
in juvenile correctional facilities are among the most educationally disadvantaged in our
society. The Juvenile Justice Education Enhancement Project (JJEEP) reports that 70
percent of the youth perform below grade level. Thirty-eight percent are eligible for
exceptional student education. These problems, academic and behavioral often signal a
lifetime of limitations, vocationally and personally. Youths who are incarcerated during
adolescence often experience underemployment, achieve minimal education
requirements, and demonstrate poor parenting skills and outcomes. (Todis, Bullis,
Waintrup, Schulz, & D'Ambrosio, 2001; JJEEP, 2004). According to the U.S.
Department of Education (1983), 82 percent of the inmates in U.S. prisons did not
graduate from high school. It is estimated that 70 percent of the inmates read at the two
lowest literacy levels. Research demonstrates that individuals tend to commit fewer
crimes as their level of education and employability increases (Andrews et al. 1990).
The At Risk Youth and Delinquency Act of 19741 called for the implementation of
rehabilitative efforts to be made on the behalf of the youths. The American Disabilities
Act of 19952 reinforced the policy of the Department of Juvenile Justice that every child
must be given access to education in the least restrictive environment. The system for
juvenile offenders was established as a result of the belief that youths are more amenable
to change and the potential of rehabilitative interventions to have a positive influence
more likely. Educational programs are a central component of the rehabilitative process
1 42 U.S.C. 5667e-2
2 42 U.S.C 1210 et.seq.
for incarcerated youth .It is the Department of Juvenile Justice's policy as well as its
mandate that every youth who is in the custody of the department be given access to
appropriate educational services.
The department fulfils this requirement in a variety of ways. Some districts employ
educational staff from the local school board to teach the youth in their care. Others
choose to contract with other private agencies for these services. This trend is growing
rapidly. In 2004, fifty-four percent of all the youths involved with the Department of
Juvenile Justice in Florida received their educational services through a private agency
contracted by the department. (JJEEP, 2004) These agencies operate as a non-profit, not
for profit, or as a for profit organization.
The State of Florida began its foray into privatization by entering into a contract
with Associated Marine Institutes to provide services to juveniles in 1974. Since then, the
numbers of agencies the state contracts with has swollen. This is not only a statewide
trend. 68.2 percent of states have shown increased activity towards privatization in the
area of juvenile rehabilitation. 45.5 percent of the respondents listed cost savings as a
reason, while only 22.2 percent listed quality of service as motivating factors in the trend
toward privatization (A Review of Privatization in State Governments,
Clarke (2004) describes the kinds of market readjustments that the trend toward
privatization can bring. He outlines how shifting public responsibility to the private
sector can fragment service provision, increase the number of agencies involved and
increase the number of decision making settings. This "dispersal" creates new problems
of coordination and regulation. Communication among the decision makers becomes
increasingly important, among both the individuals and agencies delivering services to
This study involves teachers who work in programs that have contracted with the
state to deliver educational services to youths. The teachers are employed by a company
that holds a state contract. The task of these contractors is to educate the youths who are
court ordered to attend the program as a provision of their probation. The program assists
the youths in getting back on track so that they can either return to their community
school or earn a GED. Some of the youths attend the program after having completed a
residential treatment program. In this case, the program is designed to support the youths
in their transition back into the community.
The primary objective of this research is to identify the factors that influence the
decision of teachers to abandon a chosen career path. It examines this decision making of
teachers in a specialized setting, a private juvenile justice setting. The study looks at the
working conditions of the teachers through the lens of the constructs of professional
community and organizational justice. The concept of professional community was
developed by Louis, Marks, and Kruse (1996). They used it to assess the level of job
satisfaction and commitment among 910 public school teachers. They theorized that
teachers who work in a school where there is a shared vision focused on student learning,
collaboration among peers, and supportive leadership would experience a higher level of
job satisfaction. Greenberg (1987) described organizational justice in a series of articles
about management and employee retention. It is a theory that suggests that employees
function best and enjoy a higher level of job satisfaction and commitment in a workplace
where consistent, transparent policies and procedures result in fair and equal treatment
for everyone. When these conditions exist employees are more likely to stay on their job.
There is a significant amount of data examining teacher attrition in the public
school setting. It is clearly documented that teachers leave this profession at a higher rate
than any other profession. A national report conducted in 1996 by National Commission
on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) describes the attrition rate and the factors
that contribute to it. This report estimates that between 30 and 50 percent of the teachers
leave the profession within the first three to five years. The report cites low pay, lack of
support from administration, and increasing problems with student discipline as
increasing factors. This departure from the profession has created a national teacher
shortage. Research by Ingersoll (2001) demonstrated that a sufficient number of teachers
are drawn to the profession. Attrition creates the shortages. He reports that bad
management is often to blame because new teachers are often given the most challenging
students to teach, sometimes in subjects they are not certified to teach.
Much of this research describes the situation I observed in my experience at the
juvenile justice program. However, there are two major differences. First, these teachers
chose to work in a private setting. Second, this group of teachers chose to work with the
most difficult and challenging students. As one teacher put it, "these are the children left
behind." They described the work as satisfying, rewarding. A co-worker said it this way,
"When I go home at night, I know I made a difference. And, that is what teaching is all
The purpose of this research project was to examine the working conditions and the
motivating factors of teachers in the private juvenile justice programs. To what extent do
they require and receive similar working conditions as they public school teachers
described in the Louis, Marks, and Kruse study? To what extent does the presence of
clear, consistent policies and procedures and fair equitable treatment affect their level of
job satisfaction and commitment? And, how are the working conditions of teachers
affected by working in the private sector? Are the teachers in these programs affected by
any of the conditions described by Clarke, such as dispersal of accountability? If so, how
and to what extent does it affect their job satisfaction and commitment?
Teacher satisfaction is a complex issue. I expect that there are a multitude of factors
contributing to teacher satisfaction in the privatized juvenile justice setting. From the
literature review and the pilot study I conducted I expect the following hypotheses:
1) I expect that the most positive component of the teachers' job to be the student/teacher
2) I expect that peer relationships will have a mediating effect upon teachers' level of job
3) I predict that when the indicators of professional community are not present in the
workplace that teachers will experience a low level of job satisfaction.
4) I predict that when the indicators of organizational justice are not present in the
workplace that teachers will experience a low level of job satisfaction.
Most matters concerning humans are not simple or easy. This topic is no
exception. The issue of teacher satisfaction in privatized juvenile justice programs is
complex and multifaceted. The primary focus of this research is teachers' perception of
the conditions in the workplace and how these factors effect their job satisfaction.
However, the fundamental concern is the fair and just treatment of the youth the teachers
serve. The growing trend towards incarceration and privatization creates an imperative
need to know about the quality of care and education these juveniles receive.
Vaca (2004) documents the trend toward incarceration. He reports that the New
Jersey Department of Corrections had 6,000 prisoners in1975. The population had
swollen to 25,000 people by 1997. Vaca (2004) reports there are a disproportionate
number of adults in the prison system that they are economically poor or disadvantaged.
He estimates that 70 percent of the inmates read at the two lowest literacy levels.
Illiteracy is the strongest common denominator among individuals in correctional
institutions (Kidder, 1990). 82 percent of prison inmates have dropped out of high school
(Coalition for Juvenile Justice, 2005). Vaca (2004) reports that of the $25,000 spent
yearly on each inmate, only two percent was spent on education. Furthermore, Vaca
(2004) reported that expanded and enhanced educational opportunities could reduce
recidivism and improve the potential for offenders to lead productive lives.
Juvenile facilities report similar statistics. In Florida, the Department of Juvenile
Justice (DJJ) serves 45,000 youths each year (Department of Juvenile Justice Juvenile,
2005). State and federal laws mandate that the department provide fair and equal
educational opportunities should be provided for the youth it serves. As the department
moves increasingly toward privatization, concerns about the quality of these services
arise. Are there sufficient processes in place to ensure that this population has equal
access to the educational and vocational training necessary to become productive
citizens? While justice and fair treatment are important to all, it is most important to
youth who have been placed at risk through their own behavior and/or circumstances
beyond their control such as poverty, race, and/or learning and emotional disabilities.
These youth need remedial education to reach their potential and to gain a foothold on the
opportunities an education can provide for them. They need an education so that they can
become employable, productive citizens.
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (Department of Juvenile Justice
Juvenile Crime Trends and Conditions, 2005) reports that the high mobility of our society
influences the delinquency rate. The department also describes the fragmentation of our
neighborhoods as a factor in the delinquency rate. They report that 54 percent of the
youths that they serve come from single parent homes. They report that three out of four
juvenile offenders report that they use illegal drugs and/or drink alcohol. (Florida
Department of Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet, 2004) Information presented on the Coalition
for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) website reports that poor school performance is one of the
strongest predictors of whether youths will drink, smoke, use weapons, or attempt suicide
(Trends in Juvenile Justice, 2005). Young people who receive inadequate education are
disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system. The Coalition for Juvenile
Justice reports that 70-87 percent of the youths in Juvenile Justice System have either an
emotional or learning disability that impedes their educational progress (Trends in
Juvenile Justice, 2005). Maguin and Loeber (1996) argue that poor academic
performance is related to delinquent behavior regardless of socioeconomic status and that
cognitive deficit and attention problems are associated with poor academic performance
The Individuals with Disabilities act (IDEA)3 is federal legislation requiring that
eligible youth with disabilities receive free appropriate public education (FAPE),
including special education and related services. Through the spending power of
Congress, and corresponding state statues or regulations, IDEA mandates that states
receiving federal support for education of students with disabilities ensure that all eligible
students receive FAPE. All states and the District of Columbia currently receive funding
under IDEA. However, shrinking state and local budgets mean that these services may
not always be provided to the youths involved in this system. According to the Coalition
for Juvenile Justice website, youths that in juvenile justice programs receive the same
treatment regardless of their individual needs (Trends in Juvenile Justice, 2005).
Currently, schools across the United States are experiencing a shortage of trained,
certified teachers. Educational programs that serve juveniles are no exception. Qualified,
experienced special education teachers are in high demand.
Another trend in juvenile justice is the disproportionate numbers of minorities and
disadvantaged youth involved in the system. In this regard the juvenile justice system
reflects the status of the educational system as a whole. Minority and disadvantaged
students are generally over represented in special education classes. Schools that serve
320 U.S.C., 1400 et seq.; P.L. 105-170
minority and students for low income homes usually receive less funding and resources
than other schools. The students often do not perform as well on standardized tests and
have a lower graduation rate than other students (Darling-Hammond, 2000).
Vang (2005) analyzed a report by the California Teachers Association completed in
2004. He states that this report documents a widening achievement gap between majority
and minority students. The report indicates that this gap is caused by poverty. The
students living in poverty have a greater percentage of teachers teaching without
certification or teaching out of field. Additionally, the report by the California Teachers
Association found that schools serving large minority populations have a higher than
average rate of teacher turnover. Darling Hammond (2001) reports schools serving
minority students and economically disadvantaged students often do not have as many
resources, such as up to date textbooks or access to technology.
Vang's (2005) suggests that the fundamental approach to developing an effective
pedagogy is through encouraging academic success, cultural affiliation, and personal
efficacy. He cautions educators and administrators about the effects of increased testing
and the decrease in funding for educational programming. He worries that this could lead
to an even wider breach in the achievement gap.
Stewart (2003, p. 580) argues that, "The school environment is one of the most
important environments in which children are socialized." Schools provide a venue for
socialization by providing structured norms and values for the youths. Byrk and his
associates found that an atmosphere in which there was trust among the adults employed
at the school was fundamental to school effectiveness (Byrk, Schneider & Kochanik,
1996). Students reported feeling safe in an environment in which the teachers and
administrators reported having a shared focus or mission and in which the staff operated
in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Anderson and Keith (1997) compared students at various high schools and ranked
the schools according to graduation rates and scores on achievement tests. They found
that ability and academic coursework had a significant impact upon high school students
in general. However, these factors played an even more important role in the achievement
of at risk students. Additionally, the student's level of motivation and the quality of
instruction exerted a powerful influence on the level of achievement attained by the at
risk students. This research has several implications for educating at risk youth.
Anderson and Keith (1997) suggest that educational attainment, that is finishing
coursework, has a positive influence for these students. Their research shows that when
at-risk students complete two courses that they can expect an improvement in
achievement test scores of almost one standard deviation. McEvoy and Welker (2000)
argue that at-risk students benefit from courses that emphasize communication skills such
as reading writing, listening and artistic expression. These skills offer the students an
opportunity to improve academically and to develop ways to express themselves
effectively. Anderson and Keith (1997) conclude that the way to improve academic
achievement for at risk students is to improve school quality, increase student motivation,
and emphasize academic achievement.
McEvoy and Welker (2000) also argue that effective schools share similar
characteristics including high expectations for student achievement, a shared mission
among staff, and students' perception to a safe environment in which to learn. These are a
part of school climate, which affect the attitudes and beliefs that reinforce instructional
practices, the level of academic achievement and the daily operations of the school. An
effective school is one in which every member feels valued and respected and is actively
working toward meaningful goals (McEvoy and Welker, 2000).
Zigarelli (1996) analyzed data taken from the National Longitudinal Study for the
years 1988, 1990, and 1992. He reviewed thirty years of literature on the subject of
effective schools to ascertain the most commonly noted variables. A regression analysis
of the data indicates what is documented as the most important characteristics of effective
schools. The indicators most cited are: Employment of quality teachers, teacher
participation and satisfaction, principal leadership and involvement, a culture of academic
achievement, positive relationships with central school administration, and high parental
Most educators agree that an academic school climate is one in which
achievement is the prevailing norm is the hallmark of an effective school. Indicators of
an academic culture are high expectations of students, frequent monitoring of student
progress, emphasis on basic skill acquisition, a significant amount of time in class, and a
clear academically oriented mission of the school.
Brock and Groth (2003) present findings from a longitudinal case study of 50 low
income and racial, ethnic or language minority schools that participated in a state funded
school improvement program. The authors use an analytical framework for examining the
process of organizational change.
Brock and Groth (2003) found that schools in which adults perceived a real
opportunity to improve the academic circumstances of their students were able to
transform their schools in more substantial ways than those schools in which the adults
perceived little hope for increasing student learning. This perception is fostered by six
key factors: a) ongoing professional development, b) a high degree of staff involvement,
c) a strong focus or vision of the school based on student learning, d) continuous
monitoring on the program and student achievement, e) reallocation of resources to
support the school wide plan, and f) strong principal leadership. These schools have most
frequently been described as having a common mission, an emphasis on learning, and a
climate conducive to learning.
Gaziel (1997) examines the effect of school culture on school effectiveness. He
investigated cultural differences among effective high schools and average high schools.
He looked at the differences in terms of student participation, orderliness, school
improvement and academic achievement. He found that the best predictor of an effective
school was its focus on the students' academic achievement. He found that the
organizational culture of the school had a profound effect on the students' academic
Gaziel (1997, p.313) writes, "School culture is significant in explaining school
effectiveness." Elements of school culture that are important to students' achievements
are sense of shared goals, academic emphasis, monitoring of student progress, and an
orderly, safe climate. Gaziel (1997) reports these elements appear to have a greater
influence on disadvantaged students than on students with middle to high socioeconomic
These schools have most frequently been described as having a common mission,
an emphasis on learning, and a climate conducive to learning (Stoll & Fink, 1996).
Kruger (1997) examined the influence of school climate on the perception of self
efficacy among teachers and its effect on student achievement. They looked at problem
solving skills among elementary teachers. Their research demonstrated the effect that
working conditions can have on the teachers' feelings of worth and that these feelings
were transmitted to the students.
They found that when there are expectations for sharing most of the work and there
is interaction in which teachers discuss, plan for, design, conduct, analyze, evaluate, and
experiment with the business of teaching, students' achievement is greater. They also
found that when that an emphasis on safe and orderly climate contributes to school
success. They contend that a shared culture across all groups that emphasizes academic
achievement is indicative of an effective school.
Strike (2004) emphasized the importance of creating a shared culture or vision. He
insists that schools should be communities. He discusses the four C's of community,
coherence, cohesion, care, and contact and the importance of these in establishing and
maintaining an effective school. He reiterates the importance of the presence of
coherence, a shared vision, and argues that there is alienation and disengagement when
they are not present. This article draws on the research of others to support a value and an
opinion. Strike is a very persuasive writer. He uses anecdotal evidence and previous
research to address ideas and concepts supported in a much of the literature.
The concept of community is addressed by Louis, Marks, and Kruse (1996). Their
research defines the concept of professional community for teachers. They analyzed the
type of professional community that occurs within a school and examined the
organizational factors that support its development. This research also looks at the effect
of professional community on the teachers' sense of responsibility for student learning.
The researchers asked teachers from 24 schools to complete a questionnaire that
probed their perceptions about instructional practices, professional activities, school
governance, management, and leadership, as well as their beliefs about school culture.
The researchers then visited the schools and observed instruction. They also conducted
structured interviews with 25-35 teachers and administrators.
Louis, Marks & Kruse (1996) define professional community as movement toward
shared values, a focus on student learning, collaboration, deprivatized practice, and
reflective dialogue. They argue, "Shared values in a professional community have a basis
in moral authority that is derived from the central importance of teaching and socializing
youth" (1996, p.760). They believe that a collective focus on learning is "an undeviating
concentration on student learning. Teachers discuss the ways in which instruction
promotes student intellectual growth" (1996, p.760). Collaboration among faculty
"fosters the sharing of expertise. Collaborative work increases teachers' sense of
affiliation and their sense of responsibility for effective instruction" (1996, p.760).
Deprivatization refers to teachers varied relationships within the school setting. At times
a teacher is a mentor, an advisor, or a specialist. They often perform a myriad of roles.
Reflective dialogue implies self-awareness. In depth conversations about teaching and
learning assist teachers in examining assumptions basic to quality instruction.
The researchers identify structural conditions that facilitate professional
community. They include; size, staffing complexity, scheduled planning time, and
teacher empowerment. The authors recognize the importance of several human and social
conditions that support the presence of professional community. These are: supportive
leadership, openness to innovation, respect, feedback on instructional performance, and
The results of the study showed that the presence of professional community varied
among schools. Their findings suggest that human and social responses are as critical to
the presence of professional community as structural conditions. This study confirms that
respect is at the core of a positive school culture. Research that connects educators'
feelings of responsibility for student achievement is not common. However, this study
seems to demonstrate that teachers' feelings of self efficacy are relative to students'
academic achievement. Furthermore, this study suggests that "the working conditions-
individual job satisfaction school level of professional community-are a primary factor
associated with student learning" (Louis, Marks and Kruse, 1996 p. 786)
The concept of job satisfaction implies an overall affective orientation on the part
of an individual toward the roles undertaken while completing tasks related to their work
(Kalleberg, 1977). Locke (1976) argues thatjob satisfaction is the positive emotional
reaction to one's job or job experience and empirical study indicates that the work
environment is more important in shaping job satisfaction than demographic
characteristics. Cranny, Smith, and Stone (1992) argue that job satisfaction involves
cognitive and affective reactions to what an employee expects to receive and what the
employee actually does receive. Glisson and Durick (1988) argue that the three variables
that contribute to an employee's level of job satisfaction are the characteristics of the
tasks performed by the employee, the characteristics of the organization in which the
tasks are performed, and characteristics of the employee performing the tasks within that
organization. Job satisfaction is seen as an influential factor in employee commitment
and intent to leave a job.
Fresko, Kfir, and Nasser (1997) argue that job satisfaction can be classified into
extrinsic and intrinsic categories. Extrinsic satisfaction comes from income, power,
prestige, and availability of resources. Intrinsic satisfaction is derived through feelings of
efficacy, self-determination, and self-fulfillment. Job satisfaction is thought to be a
predictor of commitment to the job and intent to leave.
There is a body of literature that describes job satisfaction for teachers particularly
in relation to teacher retention and attrition. Ingersoll (2002) reports the departure of
teachers from the profession creates the shortage of teachers. He claims that there enough
teachers being trained to meet the demand. He likens the situation of continually training
new teachers without retaining the existing ones to pouring water in a bucket with a fist-
sized hole in the bottom.
Shann (1998) interviewed 92 teachers working in urban schools to assess the
importance and satisfaction they assigned to relationships within the school setting. This
was a collaborative effort that involved educators at the university level as well as
teachers in the schools involved in the study. They worked together to design the research
Teacher job satisfaction is a multifaceted construct that is critical to teacher
retention, teacher commitment and school effectiveness. The teachers ranked their
relationships with the students as the highest in terms of importance and satisfaction.
Shann's (1998) study reaffirms other research that demonstrates that teacher satisfaction
influences student performance. It also points to a strong correlation between job
satisfaction and commitment.
The teachers' assessments of what their schools were doing well and not so well
were closely aligned with opinions and observations of other knowledgeable observers of
the schools. Both groups acknowledged similar strengths and weaknesses in the schools.
What teachers like first and foremost about their jobs were their students.
Shann (1998) uses several indicators to assess satisfaction. Among other things, she
included salary, job security, decision making, autonomy, and questions about various
relationships. These indicators were grouped together to construct the concept of job
satisfaction. Shann (1998) admonishes administrators to involve teachers in reform
efforts by allowing them to share in the responsibility of selecting strategies for change.
Liu and Meyer (2005) analyzed teachers' perceptions of their jobs and teacher
turnover by examining data form the National Center for Educational Statistics Schools
and Staffing Survey and Teacher Follow-Up Survey. They emphasized the
multidimensionality of teachers' perceptions about their jobs because a global measure of
job satisfaction is too general to inform us of a particular area of need or an appropriate
intervention. Liu and Meyer's (2005) findings suggest that teachers were most
dissatisfied with student discipline. Low compensation was secondary. They found that
private school teachers experienced less behavior problems and lower wages, and a
higher level of job satisfaction.
Liu and Meyer (2005) found a high correlation between school climate and work
conditions which confirms conventional wisdom about school environment. When school
leadership encourages teacher involvement in governance, school leaders and teacher are
actively improving work conditions. They found that a collegial environment, one that
provides professional support, mediates student behavior problems.
Liu and Meyer (2005) found that minority teachers expressed even more
dissatisfaction with their jobs than non-minority teachers. Compensation and work
conditions appear to be substantially worse for minority teachers.
A pilot study I conducted examined the working conditions of teachers in juvenile
justice programs. The purpose of this study was to determine what factors influenced the
teachers' feelings of job satisfaction. I conducted structured interviews with six certified
teachers working with juvenile offenders in two different privatized juvenile justice
programs operated by two separate organizations.
These teachers all reported that they chose to work with juvenile offenders because
they wanted to make a difference. They all reported that working with the kids was the
best part of their job. As one teacher put it, "Teaching these kids is a powerful
experience. I don't need to send a donation to the Save the Children fund. I have an
opportunity to help really needy kids every day. And, I do. I know I am making a
difference in these kids' lives."
The teachers I interviewed appeared to be honest and open. They discussed the
challenges of working with a special needs population. Several teachers discussed the
frustration of trying to teach high school students that could not read, or that were
mentally handicapped or mentally ill. They expressed their feelings of inadequacy when
faced with those tasks. The teachers reported that they felt as though their concerns about
the situation were unheeded by the administration. They conveyed a sense of injustice
about the situation. One teacher said, "It is so unfair to these students. I am not trained or
experienced in teaching a mentally handicapped student. These students are not getting
the instruction they ought to have. This program is completely ineffective in helping
these students develop the skills they need to have a successful life. They will just
continue living a life of crime. The administration does not seem to care."
All of the teachers interviewed reported a lack of resources. They described over
crowded, run down classrooms, insufficient, out of date text books, and a paucity of
teaching materials. Another area of concern was the lack of continuing education and
professional development opportunities for the teachers. They reported that there were no
paid substitutes to cover their classes if they were absent. This meant that the other
teachers had to cover for them, placing extra stress on the entire faculty. They stated that
they had no input about the allocation of funds or budgetary issues that directly affected
the work in their classrooms.
Each teacher reported conditions in the workplace that made their job even more
difficult. These teachers indicated that they received unequal treatment from the
administration. They were not given performance evaluations. Raises appeared to be
given in a capricious, unsystematic manner. The teachers did not have lunch breaks or
planning periods. The teachers expressed frustration about the lack of communication
between them and the administration.
The teachers described their relationship with administration with these comments,
"Administration is often dishonest about issues. They refuse to communicate in an
honest, solution oriented way. The administration rewards staff according to who they
like...reminiscent of high school. You know who is popular...rather than competency or
how well one does their job."
The observations made by these teachers prompted me to conduct a review of the
research literature to find a theoretical framework that would help me to examine the
conditions described by these teachers. I found a substantial body of research on the
theory of organizational justice. It appears to be a relevant framework in which to explore
these concerns in the workplace.
Greenberg (1987) described organizational justice as the fair and equal treatment of
individuals in the workplace. He discusses it in terms of distributive justice, which is
concerned with the fairness of organizational outcomes and procedural justice, the latter
is concerned with the fairness of the processes and procedures used to determine desired
outcomes. Informational justice suggests that information should be disseminated in a fair
and equal manner. Greenberg (1990) explains that employees' feelings of equity in the
workplace are determined primarily by how decisions affecting them are made and the
outcomes of these decisions.
Laschinger and Finegan (2005) used the theory of organizational justice and
Kanter's (1977) model of organizational empowerment to analyze job satisfaction,
commitment and attrition among registered nurses. They mailed questionnaires to group
of randomly selected nurses. They used path analysis techniques to evaluate the
responses from 273 respondents.
Kanter (1977) describes organizational empowerment as the ability to exercise
informal power through positive relationships with superiors, peers, and subordinates.
She reports that organizational empowerment allows employees to accomplish their work
in meaningful ways, access information, obtain necessary support and resources, and to
develop professionally. Employees use discretion and are able to build effective alliances
when organizational empowerment is present. They also experience greaterjob
satisfaction and commitment to the organization.
Respect and organizational trust are embedded in these constructs. The researchers
argue that respect is fundamental to employees' trust in the organization. A lack of
respect can manifest itself in how and what the management communicates, for example,
failing to address concerns expressed by employees. Employees hesitate to commit to the
organizational goals and activities when there is a lack of respect and trust.
Organizational trust is the belief that an employer will be forthright, straightforward and
follow through on commitments.
Laschinger and Finegan (2005) found that he level of job satisfaction and
organizational commitment strongly affected the respondents' perceptions of
organizational justice and empowerment. The nurses' perceptions of fair management
practices, feelings of being respected in the work setting, and their trust in management
had a significant impact upon their level of job satisfaction and organizational
commitment. Employees with a high level of organizational commitment are more likely
to rise to the challenges and demands in the workplace. A high level of commitment
mediated job stress and burnout. The research findings suggest that their trust in
management increased when the employees felt that they received the respect they
deserve. The employees felt as though the managers were more reliable, honest, and
competent and compassionate, resulting in greater job satisfaction. The nurses were more
likely to believe in the goals of the organization and to exert extra effort on the job, and
employee turnover declined. Laschinger and Finegan(2005) urge employers to create a
work environment that manifests justice, trust and respect, which, in turn, will promote
consistent professional practice.
Most of the research literature I have discussed examines education in the public
sector. My research project focuses on the education in a specialized setting, a privatized
juvenile justice setting. Although, privatization is growing rapidly in the U.S. and
internationally, I found little research about the phenomenon. Kalaftides (2001 p.26)
shares my perception: "Along with other public services, education is being dragged into
the private sector. Yet, little is being published on the matter."
Clarke (2004) discusses a theory about the potential effects of privatization. He
argues that privatization holds the potential to disrupt traditional agreements in the public
and private realms. He warns that this disruption may have undesirable consequences for
our communities, impact our economy and reduce morale.
According to Clark (2004), there are two main trends in privatization affecting
social policy: 1) a shift in activities, resources, and the availability of goods and services
and 2) a modification of social responsibility. A reallocation in the provision of goods
and services can assume many different roles. Among these are complete privatization,
public/private partnerships and outsourcing, all of which can create competition for
available resources. The transferal of function is also tangible. Clients may become aware
of privatization because they find themselves dealing with a new entity, rather than a
government agency. The change in social responsibility, however, may be subtle. This
change may reach the public consciousness or be a topic of their conversation. However,
the recent tragedy in the Gulf Coast States of the United States seems to have reawakened
the public discourse about social responsibility.
Clarke (2004) reports that the realignment of these traditional understandings can
affect peer relationships, the structure of the organization, and the way the system
operates. A byproduct of privatization can be an increase in the number of agencies
involved, a dispersal of decision making authority, and new problems of regulation and
administration. Accountability is dispersed among the agencies and decision making
Clarke's (2004) article is thought provoking. He offers a theoretical perspective
about the practice of privatization. However, as previously mentioned there is little
empirical data to support or refute his views.
Research that appears about on the actual outcomes of juvenile justice programs is
also limited. According to research conducted by Pealer and Latessa (2004) about
juvenile justice correctional programs, relatively few correctional programs that serve
juveniles provide services and treatment consistent with the principles of effective
intervention. The researchers assessed a variety of programs including, government
operated, and private non-profit and private for profit service providers. They did not
select the programs for study randomly but they argue that there is no reason to assume
that these results are atypical of other juvenile programs in the United States.
Pealer and Latessa (2004) use the Correctional Program Assessment Inventory to
evaluate 107 juvenile correctional programs to determine how well they adhere to
selected standards. The most common shortcomings were that the programs were
designed and operated without the benefit of empirical research to drive or validate
practices. There was a lack of objective assessment of the youths and, when assessments
were performed, the all youths received identical services regardless of the results of the
assessments. Staff training was inconsistent and lacking. Little consideration was given to
matching the program to the needs of the youths.
Pealer and Latessa (2004) found few measures of program performance. They
report that correctional researchers have largely ignored the measurement of program
quality. Traditionally, quality has been measured by process evaluations. This is helpful
in determining the status of a program's operations, but these evaluations say little about
the outcomes of the program. The information they provide meet auditors' need to track
fulfillment of contractual obligations; but, these criteria used may have little relevance to
Jensen (2003) provides an account of his experience as an educator in a
correctional facility serving juveniles. He describes the conflict that arose in a facility as
a result of privatization. It involves a partnership between the state department of
corrections and a provider that is contracted to deliver educational services to
incarcerated juvenile offenders.
Jensen (2003) described the conflicts that ensued between the correctional staff and
the teachers at the beginning of the process. The guards appeared to have little confidence
in the educational process. He reports that the communication among the faculty and
other staff at a juvenile correctional facility was improved by developing common goals.
This facilitated an improvement in the educational services for the youths. The teachers
noted fewer behavior problems, less discipline referrals, and accelerated academic
progress. Jensen (2003. p.116) reports that, "Communication, coordination, and
collaborative problem solving resulted in the educational and correctional staffs
experiencing personal ownership of the vision, the mission, and goals of the organization.
Correctional educators are challenged to bring inquiry and learning to places mainly
designed for custody and control... and safety and security concerns take precedence over
Jensen (2003) describes a recurring theme that surfaced in the pilot project that I
conducted. Both studies discuss conflict between the juvenile justice educators and the
other staff. Jensen's (2003) refers to the conflict as apparent differences in perceived
missions and turf issues. Jensen (2003) suggests that some of the factors that influence
effectiveness of schools in mainstream education are also influential in a juvenile justice
setting. These are collaboration among staff, shared vision and goals, a focus on
academic achievement, and the structural conditions necessary to do their job.
Figure 2.1 is a graphical display of the construct of professional community. This
diagram demonstrates how the variables interact and influence the level of job
satisfaction of teachers.
Figure-2.1 Theoretical Framework Describing the Intervening Variables of Professional
Community and Organizational Justice and Their Relationship to Teacher
Satisfaction in Privatized Juvenile Justice Schools
RESEARCH DESGIN AND METHODS
Concepts, Indicators and Variables
The social researcher is charged with identifying relationships between abstract
concepts and searching for measurable indicators of these concepts. My research
examines the concepts of teacher satisfaction and the presence of professional
community. Teacher satisfaction is defined as the attitudes of teachers affected by
extrinsic factors (like relationships with peers and administration, salary, environment)
and intrinsic factors (commitment, achievement, recognition and responsibility) (Bogler
2001). The area of teacher satisfaction conceptualized in this research focuses on
relationships between teachers and their peers and administrators in a privatized
An indicator of teacher satisfaction is the presence of a professional community.
Professional community indicates how the presence of a respectful and synergetic
relationship affects teacher satisfaction and thus influences students' academic
achievement (Louis, Marks, and Kruse 1996). Many variables can measure the presence
of professional community, but this research groups them into three main perceptual
variables: shared sense of purpose, structural conditions, and human and social
resources. A shared sense of purpose implies a common goal an emphasis on student
learning. Structural conditions include issues like planning time, decision making, and
adherence to school policy. Human and social resources involve mutual respect,
supportive leadership, and instructional feedback.
According to Dillman (2001), a pilot study is a pretest that can provide more
information than cognitive interviews or instrument protests. By emulating the research
design on a smaller scale, one may identify correlations among variables, problems with
the instrument, possible response rates, and issues with scalar questions.
A colleague and I conducted research during the summer of 2004 that explored
three dimensions of teacher satisfaction in the private sector setting: satisfaction with
peers, satisfaction with the environment, and satisfaction with the organization. After
pre-testing the interview and questionnaire instrument on three teachers, we used a
purposive sample selection to identify six teachers. We presented six case studies of
teachers who work in juvenile justice schools in the private sector. In this article, private
schools referred specifically to secular schools not affiliated with religious education.
Juvenile justice schools referred to private companies that provide educational services to
adjudicated youth in both residential and non-residential settings. Teacher satisfaction
referred to individual perceptions of performance in the peer, environmental, and
organizational contexts. This pilot study fueled our interest in further examining how
teacher satisfaction is affected in the private juvenile justice setting.
After compiling the results of the pilot study, we were able to answer some of the
questions that Dillman (2001) suggests a pilot study may answer. For example, we found
that increasing our sample size might be a problem due to teachers' limited time and
administrators' reluctance to have teachers participate. Also, we were able to identify the
specific concepts concerning satisfaction that we wanted to concentrate on. This
identification guided the revision of our interview and questionnaire instrument.
This research uses an explanatory, theory building case study design. This choice
reflects a number of different factors. By using case studies, we could examine several
variables that interact without having to isolate one factor (de Vaus 2001). First, the
stage of theory development regarding this subject implies that research has a descriptive
and explanatory role at present (de Vaus 2001, Fowler 1993). Finally, the limited amount
of research in the area of teacher satisfaction and privatization demands work that begins
to build theories. The construction of theory is "what makes qualitative research
research... linkages with theory; extension of theory, creation of theory... makes
qualitative research useful, significant, and powerful (Morse 2002, p.12).
In light of the pace of privatization in education and social services, relatively little
research exists to tell us how private juvenile justice providers perform in education. The
State of Florida Department of Juvenile Justice does, however, conduct yearly
evaluations of juvenile justice programs through the Quality Assurance process and the
Juvenile Justice Educational Enhancement Program. These formative evaluations
provide stakeholders with information on what is happening in programs from an
operational standpoint. However, we know little about what happens from an outcome
basis or why it happens. Therefore, research that has explanatory power is most
appropriate at this time.
This research also relies upon a case study design because of the complex
interacting variables involved in understanding teacher satisfaction in this setting (de
Vaus 2001). In an organization, the elimination of external variables is impossible
because of the necessity of daily functions. Additionally, the outcome variable I intend to
study, satisfaction, does not occur independently of the myriad of external variables
transpiring everyday in an organization. In fact, the way external variables influence
satisfaction is precisely what we want to study. According to de Vaus (2001 p. 232),
"case study designs are particularly useful when we do not wish or are unable to screen
out the influence of 'external' variables but when we wish to examine their effect on the
phenomenon we are investigating." Furthermore, this design allows us to conduct what
Bryman (2001) calls an intensive examination of the setting. To achieve a complete
analysis of teacher satisfaction, or any variable, one must consider the whole, not just the
part (de Vaus 2001).
Finally, the case study design corresponds well with this research question because
one way to achieve explanatory power is through theory building (de Vaus 2001).
"Theory building is a process in which research begins with observations and uses
inductive reasoning to derive a theory from these observations" (de Vaus 2001, p.223).
These derived theories would attempt to make sense of the observations collected. Not
only is there a stunning lack of research in the area of private juvenile justice programs,
but we lack sufficient theories to conduct the research or make sound policy decisions.
Pealer and Latessa (2004) argue that the majority of the juvenile justice programs in
operation are theoretical; the programs serve the youth and communities without
guidance from theories that have been developed and tested through research.
Theories from related fields such as teacher satisfaction, organizational theory,
psychology, education, and social policy provide researchers with a starting place in
building theory for this research. However, it will be necessary to observe the current
phenomenon, understand how it coincides with current theories, and begin to create new
theories. This process of theory building is the only way to create external validity,
according to Morse (1999). The case study design is most appropriate for research in
need of this beginning process.
This particular case study examines a single case, teachers at AMI schools. This
allows the research to broaden the knowledge about larger population. In this way it is
similar to ethnography. An ethnography and a case study are not mutually exclusive as
they both have similar features (Basit, 2003).
Several sampling issues deserve consideration in a case study design. Although a
purposive, or judgmental, sample is often interpreted as a convenience sample, that
assumption is erroneous. According to de Vaus (2001, p.223), "using a theory building
approach to case studies we select cases to help develop and refine the propositions and
develop a theory that fits the cases we study." Consequently, sample selection is just as
important in qualitative research as it is in quantitative research. Sampling selection can
pose control for internal validity threats in unique ways. Sampling response can also
pose problems for the researcher. However, these sampling issues, if handled properly,
help contribute to the validity of the research.
The theoretical population for this study is all teachers who work in juvenile justice
education programs. Any attempt to create generalized theories from this research would
apply only to teachers who work in these types of organizations. The accessible
population for this research is teachers who live and work Florida. Gaining access to this
population was dependent on working with Department of Juvenile Justice and the
Juvenile Justice Educational Enhancement Program and their endorsement of this
research. The sampling frame consists of teachers who work at schools in Florida
operated by Associate Marine Institutes (AMI). "Purposive or judgmental sampling
involves selecting elements for the sample that the researcher's judgment and prior
knowledge suggests will best serve the purposes of the study and provide the best
information" (Sullivan 2000, p. 133). The organization that has the most experience
running privatized juvenile justice programs in Florida is a logical choice for this study.
Additionally, threats of history can be reduced because the researcher can acquire in
depth knowledge about the organization and its individual schools and because the
uniform institutional setting provides a common history among the schools.
AMI was the first private agency to be given a contract by the state of Florida to
provide services to juvenile offenders. Associated Marine Institutes had its beginnings at
Florida Ocean Sciences Institute in 1969. The Institute was mainly involved in
oceanographic research projects. The employees began involving troubled youths in the
projects. They noticed positive changes in the youths. This inspired them to create a
permanent program that encouraged the development of life and vocational skills through
experiential learning (www.amikids.org/Default.htm.).
In 1974, AMI Inc. was formed so that it could offer a central office for consistent,
uniform management for its affiliate organizations. AMI, Inc. now has 49 different
programs in seven different states. They have served over 50,000 youths since their
conception. The website states that, "For almost 35 years we have striven to be the best
and provide the safest and most economical way to benefit society and the kids we serve"
So de Vaus notes (2001, p.238) "The external validity of case studies is enhanced
by the strategic selection of cases rather than by the statistical selection of cases." Inside
the sampling frame, this research will rely on representative case selection. Typical or
representative cases show neither extremely good nor extremely negative examples of the
organizations under consideration. de Vaus (2001, p.240) argues, "We have no sure way
of knowing whether a case is truly typical and no way of estimating its typicality."
Instead of typical cases, de Vaus claims researchers should focus on cases that present
valid and challenging tests of theory. However, in this instance I use results from existing
state evaluations to select cases that show typical or representative performance.
According to the Juvenile Justice Education Enhancement Program Annual Report
(2003), there are 137 private programs that provide educational services to Department of
Juvenile Justice youth. Approximately 363 teachers are employed by all of the private
programs in Florida. Associated Marine Institutes runs twenty-six of those programs,
including both residential and day treatment facilities. Although these numbers fluctuate
on a yearly, even monthly, basis due to attrition, program closures, and other events, it
could be extrapolated that Associated Marine Institutes employs approximately ninteen
percent (70) of the teachers employed (363) in private juvenile justice facilities in
There are on average four teachers at each Associated Marine Institute School. By
interviewing as many teachers as possible from at least nine schools, I feel that a wide
enough range of responses were collected to discern common themes that cut across all
cases, using the approach to theory development suggested by grounded theory.
Furthermore, multiple cases in a study contribute to a form of replication, which
increases confidence in the findings (de Vaus 2001).
I chose three cases with low, three with medium, and three with high performing
formative evaluation scores as determined by the Quality Assurance reports. Specific
program goals and objectives provide the basis for the development of the standards used
in the quality assessment process. The standards are the general categories in which the
programs are evaluated to determine overall level of quality. These categories include
program management, health care, mental health services, employee training, and
program safety. The quality assurance system uses a team of evaluators comprised of a
lead reviewer, peer reviewers, a juvenile justice board or council member and an
educator. The quality assurance process uses multiple data sources to document
compliance with policies, procedures, and practices. The evaluators inspect records
provided by the program, interview staff, and observe daily operations. The Juvenile
Justice Educational Enhancement Program conducts a review of the educational
programs. The educational portion of the review examines the programs compliance with
assessment requirements, academic instructor certification, in-service training and the
community involvement. The reviewers assess compliance with lesson plan requirements
and the maintenance of grade books. Based on these findings the programs are rated by
their level of performance and compliance with the program's adherence to its policies
and procedures. These scores are then used to determine an overall score. This report is
published each year on the Department of Juvenile Justice website
I used the 2004 QA report to determine the cases I intended to sample. I chose three
schools that fell in the bottom third of the reported scores. Likewise, I chose three schools
whose overall scores fell in the mid range and three schools that had overall scores that
fell in the high range of scores on the 2004 QA report. By using cases from schools with
different performance rates, I was better able to identify outlying cases and explore
situations that did not meet my expectations (de Vaus 2001). These cases were chosen to
reflect the fullness of the experience of teachers working in the privatized juvenile justice
setting. I used ordinal data collected and provided by the Department of Juvenile Justice
to purposively select the cases that represent a range of circumstances happening within
the specific context of the private juvenile justice setting. The range of experiences and
the in depth descriptions expressed by the respondents offer the greatest opportunity for a
thorough examination of the setting.
The schools are considered units of analysis, with teachers as the embedded units
within the cases (de Vaus 2001). Keeping in mind that these programs are generally
small, community-based programs with relatively few students, I worked with all
teachers, or embedded units, from each school, or case that I was able to visit.
I collected data from twenty-seven teachers from six different schools. There were
three cases of unit non-response. The three schools chosen from the lower range of the
QA scores are not in this study, not by design, because I was unable to collect data from
these schools. This issue is discussed completely in the results section.
Figure 2 denotes the six schools in which I gathered data and the 2004 overall QA
score. The schools are coded with a number to maintain the respondents' confidentiality.
Table-3.1 2004 Quality Assurance Scores for Six Schools Operated by A.M.I. (Florida
Department of Juvenile Justice)
SCHOOL # 2004 OVERALL QA SCORE
*Deemed status means that in the previous review period the school performed at a 95%
or better and did not receive a review this year.
I administered both a self-completion questionnaire and a structured oral interview
designed specifically for this investigation. The complete instrument is found in
Appendix A. The self-completion questionnaire obtained demographic information as
well as perceptual data as measured by scalar response questions. The questionnaire
offers the respondent a range of choices and therefore measures the intensity of a
response to variable (satisfaction) (Sullivan 2001). The closed answer response structure
allows the researcher to aggregate ordinal data, which can have more statistical power
than nominal data (Sullivan 2001). Also, allowing respondents to answer questions on
their own instead of to an interviewer may produce less social desirability bias for some
items (Fowler 1993). The respondents may feel a greater sense of anonymity and
confidentiality when their answers are written on an anonymous paper with reminders in
the instructions that answers will be available to the researchers only (Fowler 1993). The
questions on the questionnaire were written in present tense and grammatically agreed
with the response categories (Fowler 1993).
According to Fowler (1993), the researcher needs to ensure that questions directly
relate to the concepts and indicators under consideration. Therefore, the self-completion
questionnaire I administered was organized in sections that correspond to the indicators I
wish to measure. Each time a new section was introduced, an introduction statement was
placed at the beginning. Additionally, new instructions appeared each time the format
changed (from agree/disagree question to high/low questions to demographic questions)
In both the agree/disagree and the high/low sections, I provided four answer types,
one extreme positive, one positive, one negative, and one extreme negative. Although
many researchers provide five item responses (Fowler 1993), I chose to omit a "middle of
the road" alternative. Converse and Presser (1986) suggest that to measure intensity, a
questionnaire should force the person to decide on his/her opinion. They further suggest
providing gradations in intensity such as very high, high, low, very low. Thus, you avoid
losing information about the direction in which some people lean.
Questions for the index were devised from variables outlined by two main
researchers. Louis, et al (1996) outlined many variables to measure the main indicators
of professional community. They state, "Working in concert, structural conditions, and
human and social resources provide the foundations of professional community" (p.761).
The researchers used shared norms and values, collective focus on student learning,
collaboration among faculty, and reflective dialogue to measure school wide professional
community. They also examined structural conditions such as organizational
environment, scheduled planning time, and teacher empowerment. Some of the human
and social resources measured in their research were supportive leadership, openness to
innovation, respect, feedback on instructional performance, and professional
I contacted the researchers and obtained permission to include some of the
questions they developed on the instrument I developed. This proved to be a wise choice,
as they had used this instrument on 910 public school teachers. This was an indication
that the items are valid and the questions provide a reasonable estimation of the variables
to be measured.
I included questions about the teachers' perceptions about a shared sense of
purpose. I asked the teachers to rate their feelings about whether their colleagues share
their beliefs and values about the mission of the school. The respondents were asked to
rate the alignment of the administration and the teachers to a shared goal.
I probed the teachers' opportunity to collaborate with other teachers by asking them
to rate their level of cooperation with other teachers and their efforts to coordinate course
content. Additionally, I inquired about the frequency of education meetings and shared
planning meetings. The teachers were asked to describe how often they have received
meaningful feed back from their peers and from administration. These questions probed
the teachers' professional relationships. The presence of meaningful feedback about
instructional practices is widely discussed in the literature as a mediating factor in
The schools that I planned to visit were very small. There are usually only four or
five teachers on the faculty at any one time. With this in mind, I did not use the measure
of staffing complexity or of school size. I also did not include questions about reflective
dialogue on this instrument.
To measure perceptions of administration relationships, I asked teachers to rate the
level of cooperation they received from the administration. The teachers were asked to
rate the level of responsiveness of the administration. Additionally, the respondents were
asked to indicate whether the communication between them and the administration was
adequate. The teachers were asked to rate their perceptions of respect and decision
I asked teachers to rate their level of agreement with the mission state through a
series of questions. These questions asked the teachers to rate how the day to day
operations of the school reflected the mission statement. The respondents were also asked
to rate how closely their personal philosophy was aligned to the mission statement. One
question asked the teachers to rate how clear the goals of the school were.
To measure perceptions of the use of clear and consistent policies and procedures, I
asked teachers to rate whether resources are distributed in a fair way and whether
financial incentives were awarded in a systematic way. The respondents were asked to
rate their perceptions about how well the Quality Assurance scores reflect the quality of
the school on a day-to-day basis. They were asked to rate how much they were personally
motivated by the Quality Assurance process. Additionally the teachers were asked to rate
their feelings about whether changes to policies and procedures are related to the teaching
staff in a timely manner.
The structured interview gathered data about satisfaction relating to organizational
justice and professional community. The decision to include a section of open response
format questions in the interview stemmed from two considerations. First, it allows for
triangulation. Collecting the information in more than one format provides reiteration of
that data collected. One of the ways to increase validity in subjective questions is to ask
the same question in different forms (Fowler 1993). Therefore, the open response
questions approach the same indicators but use slightly different wording and a different
response format. Second, open response questions may more closely reveal the attitudes,
opinions, and perceptions of the respondents because they allow for unanticipated
responses in the respondents' own words (Fowler 1993). Shacklock (1998) argues for the
necessity of gathering authentic portrayals of teachers' work. He asserts that the true
description of the complexity of the profession can only be voiced by the teachers
themselves. Shacklock argues that it is more productive for teachers to attend to the basic
values of their own enterprise and to forge a professionalism distinctively suited to their
ideals. Malm (2004 p. 412) states, "Tendencies towards continuity or change in education
depend to a great extent on the ways in which teachers are able to critically reflect about
how they think and what they do. Taking seriously what teachers have to say is in fact
essential in order to understand the forces that sway their motivations, something I
believe to be of relevance and concern to all involved with teaching and educational
The oral interview provides teachers a chance to freely comment on their
experiences as a professional. They can describe factors that may contribute to
satisfaction. Again, the questions have been designed to lead teachers through a thought
process. The first question asks about satisfaction and provides probes to the principal
investigator to ensure thorough coverage of the subject. These questions also give
teachers a chance to make suggestions for what would increase their levels of
satisfaction. After having considered what contributes to satisfaction, their reflections
might be more focused and revealing. These data will be analyzed according to the
principles of grounded theory (discussed below) for trends in answers. Because of the
nature of the research design, the data will not be coded. It will, however, be examined
for trends that occur in multiple teachers' responses as well as nuggets that help to
explain a phenomena in whole new ways.
To measure perceptions of peer relationships, I asked teachers to describe their
working relationships with their peers. I asked teachers to discuss their perceptions about
their working relationships with the administration and how it impacts their performance
in the classroom. The teachers were asked to discuss their feelings about the school's
mission statement and its impact on their performance as an educator.
To measure overall satisfaction regarding these indicators, I asked teachers: 1)
What would you describe as the most significant factor in your decision to continue
teaching at your school, 2) Describe the strengths of your school and 3) Describe the
weaknesses of your school. Appendix B displays the questions contained on the
questionnaire and survey instrument grouped into categories according to relevance to
the intervening variables and their relation to professional community and organizational
Participants were recruited by contacting nine selected schools in a proximal
geographical area and asking administrators for their cooperation in the research process.
I asked teachers if they would be interested in participating. I interviewed all
respondents, from each location. No monetary compensation was offered. Willing
teachers were contacted to schedule interviews at the work site. The interviews were
scheduled at the teachers' convenience.
In a pilot study on teacher satisfaction, I experienced several threats to internal
validity because of sampling response issues. Sampling non-response can indicate bias if
the reasons for non-response are somehow related to the variables under consideration.
In order to deal with this threat, I had to devise several ways to improve the
response rate. I joined a professional organization, Correctional Educators Association,
in order to increase contacts and increase professional credibility. I obtained a letter from
Secretary Schembri of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice endorsing the research
because this letter might help administrators and teachers understand that the research
goal is to improve conditions for teachers and organizations not point blame. One
researcher created a one page flyer describing the research effort, its goals, and intent. I
mailed and emailed the flyer to the schools. I contacted the Juvenile Justice Enhancement
Project (JJEEP) to request a letter of endorsement.
At the appointed time, respondents were provided with a letter of consent and given
an introduction to the purpose of the research. I advised the participants concerning
consent, instructions on how to answer written and oral questions, and the length of the
interview. The participants were then given the self-completion questionnaire to
complete. When the participants were finished, I began the oral interview, which lasted
approximately 45 minutes. The names of the respondents were not recorded on the
instrument. I was the only person conducting interviews in order to protect the privacy of
the participants. At the end of the interview, the participants were thanked and informed
that the results of the research would be made available to them.
I used a grounded theory epistemological approach to analyze the data from the
open response items in the interview. According to Bryman (2001, p. 144), "Grounded
theory has become by far the most widely used framework for analyzing qualitative data.
It has been defined as theory that has been derived from data that was systematically
gathered and analyzed through the research process. In this method, data collection,
analysis, and eventual theory stand in close relationship to one another." Data are
analyzed as they are collected and what is learned in one setting is used to enrich and
enhance the data collection process itself. Throughout the data collection process,
constant comparisons between and within cases need to be made. This is a dynamic,
intuitive and creative process that involves inductive reasoning, critical self-examination,
verification and theorizing.
Verification is a process used in qualitative research that ensures reliability and
validity. Verification techniques are interwoven into every step of the research design and
implementation process. It involves using the appropriate research design,
instrumentation, sampling procedure, and identifying and correcting design related issues
as they arise in the inquiry process (Morse et al., 2002). In the data collection phase, the
data was transcribed from the interviews with the help of another researcher and an
assistant. The responses from the interviews were carefully examined and discussed with
the other researchers to determine which data was relevant. The data was organized into
cohesive units and a matrix was created. This matrix sorted the data into categories
corresponding to variables under consideration. The other researcher and I independently
examined the data organized in the matrix and identified themes. We met again and
consistent themes were then agreed upon and reviewed for their interrelationships.
This process provided an opportunity to minimize personal bias and subjectivity
and to improve reliability and validity. Reliability was increased by having the data
examined multiple times by different researchers. This was done through discussion and
in written form. Extensive quotes were also included to enhance validity. Validity was
increased through the process of triangulation. The triangulation process involved the use
of various data sources, researchers and methods to investigate the same phenomenon.
The goal of much case study data analysis, according to de Vaus (2001), is
theoretical generalization, not statistical generalization. Analytical inductive strategies are
used to help explain indicators of causality. Statistical analyses are not useful when
sample size is small, and often not when sample selection is purposive. Instead, the
iterative, inductive approach to data analysis is used to identify the categories,
relationships and assumptions that inform the respondents' view of the world in general
and of the research topic in particular. This approach respects the complexity, subtlety
and detail of human transactions. Knowing how many people feel positively or
negatively about something was not the intention of this portion of the research. Rather
the intent was to ascertain how teachers feel and why they feel that way. This provides an
in-depth understanding not easily captured by numbers, percentages or statistical tests
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
There were three incidences of unit non-response. The director at one school did
not respond to repeated attempts to schedule the interviews. Another school lost their
contract with the local school board and was closed completely. The third episode of non-
response occurred because the school's faculty had dwindled to one certified teacher and
one vocational teacher. The certified teacher was out sick the day I visited the school.
Attempts to reschedule failed. I had identified these three schools to include in the study
because the results of the 2004 QA report indicated they were low performing schools.
The QA scores ranked them in the lower third of all of the AMI schools. The fact that I
cannot include any data from these schools in my research is a limiting factor. The
absence of this data means that I am unable to include information, experiences, and
insights from teachers who were working at these low rated schools. My research does
not reflect their feelings or thoughts. The complete effect of the non-response on the
validity of the study is unknown however, because I learned nothing about the non-
respondents and their experiences. Although, not by design, my research is based on the
experiences of the teachers in the middle range and the high range of private juvenile
justice programs operated by AMI in Florida.
Table 3.1 (contained in the previous chapter) has a chart identifying the schools
from which data was collected and their scores from the 2004 QA report. I collected data
from 27 teachers at six different schools. The results and discussion that follow are based
on this data. Table 4.1 displays a socio-demographic description of the analysis of
teachers that participated in this project.
Table 4-1 A Socio-demographic Analysis of Respondents (n=27) who Participated in
Research Project on Teacher Satisfaction in Privatized Juvenile Justice
Programs Contracted by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, 2005
Level of Education
Current Annual Salary
1 $20,000 $25,000
18 $25,001 $30,000
6 $30,001 $35,000
1 $35,001 +
I measured professional community and organizational justice through a series of
questions about their perceptions of conditions in the workplace. Table 4.2 shows the
teachers' responses to the five measures of professional community and organizational
justice, grouped by school. The table shows the mean for each category for each school
and the mean of all values form each category for each school is also shown. A four
indicates strongly agree, a three means agreement, a two signifies disagreement and a one
denotes strong disagreement. Agreement represents a positive opinion about the issue.
Disagreement signifies a conflict. The overall mean of each school was derived by adding
the scores to all questions.
Table 4-2 Individual and Composite Mean Scores of Teacher Ratings of Six Factors Affecting Teacher Satisfaction in Six Privatized
Schools Contracted by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, 2005
TEACHER INTERACTIONS SCHOOL SCHOOL
WORKING POLICIES & WITH MISSION MANAGEMENT JOB COMPOSITE
SCHOOL # RELATIONSHIPS PROCEDURES ADMINISTRATORS STATEMENT STRATEGIES SATISFACTION MEAN
1 2.9 2.5 2.4 2.7 2.5 2.6 2.6
2 3.1 3.3 3.1 3.5 3.1 3.2 3.2
3 3.0 3.1 2.2 3.1 2.8 2.4 2.8
4 2.9 3.1 2.9 3.3 2.9 3.1 3.0
5 3.3 3.2 2.8 3.0 2.6 2.8 2.9
6 3.6 3.7 3.3 3.4 3.2 3.4 3.4
MEAN 3.1 3.1 2.8 3.2 2.8 2.9 3.0
Hypothesis 1: I expect that the most positive component of the teachers' job to be the
The responses show the teachers felt most positively about the school's mission
statement. Teachers at four of the schools felt most positive about this variable. They
indicated that they agreed with the mission statement and that they felt as though it
contributed to their feelings of satisfaction in the workplace. This finding supports the
theory that teachers chose the teaching profession because they want to contribute to their
community through their work with the youth. This finding supports my hypothesis that
teachers derive the highest level of job satisfaction from their work with the youth.
Hypothesis 2: I expect that peer relationships will have a mediating effect upon teachers'
level ofjob satisfaction.
Responses about the teachers working relationships with other teachers also
indicated agreement. The teachers rated this area second highest. They indicated that they
feel positively about their peer relationships. These peer relationships contribute to their
feelings of job satisfaction. This finding supports my hypothesis that the teachers'
working relationships with their peers would be a positive influence on their feelings of
The use of consistent policies and procedures was also rated as a positive
condition by the teachers. They indicated that the use of consistent policies and
procedures contributed to their feelings of job satisfaction. This finding is interesting
when considering how the respondents rated the next two areas.
The teachers gave the lowest marks to their interactions with administrators and
with the strategies of the management. The teachers indicated that these two areas
contributed to feelings of disagreement and dissatisfaction with their job. These two
categories of questions examined issues such as shared decision making, respect from
administrators, professional development, and feedback on instructional practice.
There is almost a full point difference between the composite mean scores
reported by the schools. Teachers at school 6 reported the highest level of job
satisfaction. Teachers at schools 2 and 5 scores indicate an agreeable level of job
satisfaction. While school 1 and 3 reported less than positive level of job satisfaction.
These findings support my hypothesis that teachers will feel most positive about the
student/teacher and teacher/teacher relationships; however, these positive aspects of their
job are not enough to sustain feelings of job satisfaction. Their levels of job satisfaction
will diminish if the teachers do not receive adequate support from administrators, respect
and they are not given feedback on instructional performance. Additionally, when
management practices are perceived as fair and consistent, teachers will experience a
lower level of job satisfaction. These findings support my hypothesis that teachers'
positive perceptions about their working relationships with the students and peers will
insufficient to mediate the negative feelings caused due to the lack of indicators of
professional community and organizational justice.
One of the most interesting results of my research is the disparity that exists
between the results from the self completion questionnaires and those of the interviews.
The results of the two just do not agree. The same respondents who indicate that they
have a good relationship with the administration on the questionnaire disclose details in
the interview that describe unfair treatment of the staff by the administration.
I turned to the existing research literature to help me better understand this phenomenon.
Sommer and Sommer (1986, p.157) write, "Interviews are particularly useful for
exploring complex and emotionally arousing topics. They can be used to explore beliefs,
opinions, and personal experiences. An interview gives people the opportunity to tell
their stories in their own words. It can provide a release for pent-up feelings and can be
empowering as it recognizes people as experts on their own experiences. A further
advantage of the interview is that people who may be unwilling or unable to write out a
long, coherent answer are often willing to say it to an interviewer."
I believe that the discrepancy in the results is a consequence of fear of reprisal
from administration. It is less intimidating to verbalize something than to put it in
writing. It is safer to say what you think and feel than to commit it in writing. At the
beginning of each interview, after I had informed the subject that the interview would be
confidential, the teachers would again ask if what they were going to write or say would
be passed on to their superiors. They would often ask for reassurance of their
confidentiality again at the start of the structured interview, and again as they were going
to disclose some information that could be interpreted as negative about the working
environment. Once I had gained their trust, it was if a floodgate had opened. Their
thoughts, feelings and insights about their experiences as a teacher rushed forth, creating
a rich body of data.
Kvale (1996) uses the metaphor of a miner for the interviewer. This model
assumes that the subject has specific information and that the interviewer's job is to dig it
out. Narrative inquiry encourages reflection. It captures the nature of beliefs, thoughts
and practices. In this study, the structured interview gave the interviewer an opportunity
to ask questions that encouraged the respondent to describe their experiences in more
depth. The process became thought provoking. Overall, I place greater confidence in the
data from the interviews than those from the questionnaires. The more the teachers talked
the more they thought of to talk about. They identified experiences in their professional
lives that describe and qualify the work of a teacher in a private juvenile justice program.
These narratives can provide insight into the events that form their professional
knowledge. Reflecting collaboratively on the stories and their lessons can provide
understanding of how teachers make sense of their experiences and incorporate them into
their personal practical knowledge. Sharing stories and lessons among teachers can
further build a sense of community, reduce the isolation so endemic to teaching, and
encourage teachers to see themselves as intentional practitioners integrating skill and art
into their practice.
Hypothesis 3: I predict that when the indicators of professional community are not
present in the workplace that teachers will experience a low level of job satisfaction.
Shared Sense of Purpose
A shared sense of purpose is characterized by a belief in common values and
expectations. The focus is on student learning in a school community. Members of the
school community reinforce these common values and beliefs through language,
instruction, and personal interaction among staff, and the staff s interaction with the
students. The focus on student learning creates an opportunity for students to succeed
academically. Additionally, the concentration on academic achievement provides
teachers with the opportunity to fulfill their professional mission. Teachers want to teach.
A professional community values and supports this mission by promoting a school
culture that expects kids to learn and teachers to teach.
The mission statement in any organization provides the ethos for that organization.
AMI schools are guided by the company's mission statement. The teachers were asked to
describe their feelings about the influence of the mission statement on their ability to
perform as a teacher. Many of the teachers I interviewed expressed a strong affinity to
AMI's mission statement.
Teachers at school 1 report an affinity for the mission statement. They state, "I
believe in it, but it is not being put into action." The respondents from school 2 described
the mission statement as a "goalpost, it's what we do." At school 3, the teachers report,
"It makes the biggest difference." The teachers from schools 4 and 5 gave similar
responses. The faculty at school 6 seems to have a remarkable allegiance to the mission
statement. They described the mission statement as permeating their day. They stated that
the staff and students recite it together several times throughout the day. They stated that
it helps the teachers stay on track and reminds them of their purpose throughout the day.
The teachers indicated that the mission statement is used to reinforce positive behavior
among the students. One teacher said, "It reflects my goals for being a teacher."
The teachers I met during this research project spoke about their goals for being a
teacher and their dedication to the youth in their care. They explained that teaching these
youths was of great importance to them. The teachers described the fulfillment and
rewards of working with these hard to reach youths. They expressed appreciation for the
opportunity to impact a youth's life.
The teachers' responses were consistent with the research described in the in the
literature. The teachers reported that their greatest motivation was their work with the
youths. Several teachers made comments like, "The relationships with the kids are the
whole core of this." Another teacher told this story, "At the last graduation, seven
students thanked me for helping them get their GED. I would be happy with just one
thank you a year...but seven kids attributed their success to me. That is the real reason I
want to be a teacher...to hear kids say thank you." All but two of the teachers reported
positive relationships with the students and a feeling of satisfaction with this part of their
However, several teachers expressed concern about the lack of focus on academic
achievement at their school. One of the teachers expressed his concern in this anecdote.
"The executive director is not an educator. He does not understand the nuances of the
educational process. When he walks down the hall, he just has a knee jerk reaction to
something. He doesn't inquire about the educational aspect of the situation. He doesn't
even understand kids. He was a professional athlete and he just thinks kids should just do
what they are told. He really does not understand these kids at all. Academics are not
priority. On a scale from 1 to 10, academics are number 9. This is frustrating and
worrisome. What will happen to these kids without an education?"
Other teachers voiced similar concerns about the emphasis placed on student
learning at their school. Several discussed the fact that students were pulled from their
classes without prior notification without a system in place for the student to make up the
class time. The teachers were unable to point to the process in place that created the
situation. One respondent stated, "How can I teach a child that is not in the classroom?"
One teacher reported, "Teaching is pushed to the side. The administration doesn't care if
teaching is done." Other teachers reported that academic instruction was impeded by
constant interruptions from noise from the walkie talkies and support staff addressing
issues like dress code during instructional time. One teacher stated, "The administration
is more concerned about the boats and marine activities than they were about educating
the kids." Another stated, "AMI has given up on these kids." Other teachers reported that
the students in one class are at varying levels of capability. This requires that the teacher
prepare several different lesson plans for one class. This places extra stress on the teacher
and gives less time to direct instruction.
A recurring positive comment was about the flexibility and autonomy the teachers
were able to exercise in the classrooms. They reported that hands-on learning is
encouraged. One teacher reported that he teaches surfing and that was a really great way
to kids involved. Another reported that he was able to build models with the students and
this was a way to reinforce teamwork, reading and following directions. One of the
teachers said, "They allow me to approach teaching in my own way. They respect the fact
that I am an adult and that I know why I am here. I am given the leeway to try different
things." Another teacher stated that they felt as though the school went above and beyond
in funding field trips. A teacher in another school described taking students on a
snorkeling trip to the Florida Keys, a trip to the capital, and taking the kids to a statewide
Olympic meet. She felt these were all positive, learning opportunities for the students.
She indicated that opportunities like these were one of the reasons she liked working in
that school, and continued opportunities like this would influence her decision to stay
A sense of shared vision is an integral component of any community. In the school
community, developing a shared meaning or vision can create a foundation that is
inspiring to the educator. A related contribution of the community is that of providing the
interactive locus of the emergence of the self (Wilkinson 1991). This contributes to the
This shared vision provides consistency and structure for the youths, as well. The
youths may find the coherence that was previously lacking in their lives through the
positive interaction of the staff. The interaction and shared vision provide a locus of
control. It is a function of community. Membership in communities is the primary way
in which socialization of wants and needs happens (Strike 2004).
The interaction of the staff provides a model of behavior for the youths.
Community begins in learning the norms of those who care for and about us, and ends in
caring for and about those whose norms we share. People begin to internalize the norms
of communities because someone cares about them. Normation begins with caring and
belonging, not with reasoning and not with nature. The community's focus on student
learning creates the expectation of academic achievement and of personal success.
The teachers interviewed during this research project appear to share the common
goals and values for student learning. They identify with the school's mission statement
and believe that adherence to it will help them succeed as teachers and help their students
succeed in the classroom and in the community at large. However, some of the teachers
also express disappointment about how their school puts this mission statement into
action. They say when the school does not stay focused on its mission of student learning,
that their ability to perform as an educator is compromised. The teachers I interviewed
indicate that they have a strong affinity to the mission statement but dissatisfaction with
the degree to which daily practice actually reflects it.
The mission statement serves as a blue print for an organization's shared vision.
When teachers perceived that the vision and the goals of the school were clearly shared
philosophically and in day to day operations, they expressed a high level of job
satisfaction. They reported that they were motivated and better able to perform in the
classroom. They expressed commitment to the school and their intent to stay at the
school. The positive impact of a common goal was expressed by the majority of teachers
at two of the schools I visited.
However, when the tenets of the statement were not adhered to, when the vision
was blurred through inconsistent practices, teachers expressed a low level of job
satisfaction. They expressed frustration and discontentment due to shifting of policies
caused by unclear goals and practices that did not adhere to the mission statement. These
teachers reported that dissatisfaction and an inability to trust the organization. These
teachers discussed their disappointment because when the mission is not adhered to it
means that the students are not receiving the educational services they need and deserve.
A shared vision appears to have an impact on the job satisfaction of teachers in
juvenile justice programs. This indicates that this component of professional community
is important in juvenile justice settings just as it is in public school settings. However,
these findings indicate that this element of professional community is lacking in most of
the settings that I visited. Most of the teachers I interviewed felt as though the education
was not valued. They were not able to provide the quality of educational services that the
students needed and deserved. Consequently, they felt devalued as professionals which
diminished their levels of job satisfaction. This finding supports my hypothesis that when
this indicator of professional community is not present teachers feel less job satisfaction.
It is important to teachers to be able to teach in an environment that focuses on student
achievement and when this goal is not upheld by the school culture teachers become
frustrated and dissatisfied. The teachers at school 2 reported that their school had a clear
mission. The average length of employment of the teaching staff was three years. Their
teachers had been there the longest and they planned to stay.
Structural conditions such as shared planning time, shared decision making, and
adherence to school policy and procedures are important components of a professional
community. Allocation of resources in a school affects the teacher's instructional
performance. Structural conditions are features in a school community that provide the
framework for the day to day operations of the school.
The allocation of resources in these schools was inconsistent with information
found in the literature about the lack of funding available to schools with primarily
minority, low achieving students. Teachers at schools 2-6 all reported that they had the
supplies they needed. The teachers made comments like, "I have everything I need, I get
everything I ask for, and I am never told no." One teacher indicated that the executive
director's generous allocation of funds showed that he was 100 percent for education.
One teacher reported that he can get anything for the students however supplies that
teachers need are not readily available.
However, there were some important differences. Teachers at school 1 reported a
dismal picture of resource allocation. One teacher put it like this, "Supplies are whatever
you can find. There are not enough textbooks and the ones we have are way out of date,
second hand, and the wrong grade level. This puts a terrific strain on teachers. We have
to make extra copies just to have enough to go around. It is very frustrating."
All teachers at all schools were in agreed about salary. They all agreed that the
salary was "terrible, $10,000.00 less than at public school. And we work year round." A
teacher pointed out that they also work 45 more days than public school teachers.
Another consistent theme expressed by the teachers at all of the schools was not
having planning periods, lunch breaks or bathroom breaks. Most of the teachers are
required to supervise their students during lunch. Since the students must stay in constant
supervision a teacher must request coverage from another staff person in order to use the
restroom. The lack of planning time and lunch breaks was a major issue among the
teachers I interviewed. They reported that they were with the students from 9:00 am until
5:00 pm, without a break. A teacher said it like this, "Being on for that long is
exhausting... mentally, physically, and emotionally. It takes away from my overall
performance as a teacher. Any preparation I do, I have to do on my own time."
The teachers referred to the lack of planning time as an impediment in their ability
to build collegiate support. One of the teachers said, "The lack of planning time limits the
amount of time we teachers have to discuss instructional issues informally. This does not
allow us to grow professionally."
Another question probed the use of consistent policies and procedures. Overall,
most teachers reported that there was inconsistency in this area. One teacher referred to
the way the inconsistency affected his ability to teach, "The policies are not consistent
which makes it really hard to implement rules and to run a classroom." Another described
his school's policies and procedures like this, "They look very good on paper. In reality,
there are some lapses. In the morning meeting we're instructed to do something, but then
the decision is changed and we don't know anything about it. The kids play on this
inconsistency. I am confused about some rules because they are unclear. I end up not
being able to make some simple decisions because the rules change instantly. Like we are
told not to let the students use the restroom during class but then the team leader will let
At another school, a teacher described a similar situation. She reported that during
the morning meeting there will be a decision made, but by lunchtime this decision will be
changed. Why and who changed it will not be communicated. What is clear to her is that
none of the teachers had input into the change, because the teachers were with the
students in class. This teacher reported that, "This type of inconsistency diminishes the
integrity of the whole school. It is a slap in the face to us teachers... because nine out of
ten times we are the ones who will implement the decision, because we are the ones who
actually work with the kids. This kind of management causes confusion among the staff
and the students."
Comparable circumstances were described by a teacher at another school. These
teachers reported that they are responsible for supervision of the students. Students in DJJ
programs must be in the sight of staff at all times. This means a student can not have a
bathroom pass or a hall pass, or can a teacher just step out of the room for a minute. This
means that they are very busy and often not consulted about potential changes in policies
and procedures that they are asked to implement. And like the other two schools, these
changes are made while the teachers are teaching and "on the fly." This teacher reported
that this practice "causes disruption and a chaotic climate on the campus and an element
of mistrust between the teaching staff and the administration." Teachers from four of the
schools mentioned the inconsistency as a weakness of their school. One teacher described
it as the biggest weakness at his school.
The majority of respondents that participated in this study reported dissatisfaction
in these indicators of professional community. The lack of adherence to policy and
procedures create confusion and impair the teachers' ability to perform in the classroom.
Peer collaboration is made difficult due to the lack of planning periods, inconsistent
faculty meetings, and the amount of time they spend directly supervising the students.
However, teachers at five of the schools did report that they have more than adequate
financial resources that enable them to get the necessary instructional supplies to operate
The findings of this research support the theory that structural conditions impact
the level of job satisfaction among teachers in juvenile justice settings in much the same
way as they do in public educational settings. When teachers reported the use of
consistent policies and procedures they reported a higher level of job satisfaction and
commitment to the job. They also reported that they felt more competent in the
classroom. The majority teachers at one of the schools I interviewed felt as though these
conditions were not present in their school. When teachers reported that they could not
rely on consistent policies and procedures they reported distrust of the organization and
inability to commit to the organization. They reported a low level of job satisfaction
when the structural conditions do not contribute to a professional community. Consider
the average length of employment four of the schools was a year. This further supports
the theory that when teachers are dissatisfied they do not stay at that school creating a
high level of teacher turnover.
Human and Social Resources
Human and social resources are the features of professional community like
administrative support or supportive leadership, mutual respect, feedback on instructional
performance and professional development. Supportive leadership is crucial in
developing and sustaining professional community. Leaders identify and reward actions
that promote the mission of the school. They are the "keepers of the vision." Respect is
the honoring of the expertise and value of others. Respect validates the members of the
community. Feedback on instructional performance provides teachers with essential
information about their instructional practices. This critique provides substance for a
teacher's sense of efficacy and commitment to teaching. Professional development
grounds a teacher to broader community of educators. This process encourages personal
and professional growth (Louis, Marks, & Kruse, 1996).
Responses were very mixed. At school 2, the teachers report that they do have
adequate support. They spoke of the administration's effective and careful hiring
practices. They report that this has had a positive influence on teacher retention. One
teacher mentioned that she gets the support she needs to be creative and to do things
without obstacles in her classroom. The teachers at school 3 report hat there has been a
lot of turnover in the administration causing a disruption in the organization. Four of the
teachers there mentioned a lack of clear communication from the administration.
Teachers from schools 4, 5, and 6 expressed concerns about unequal treatment of staff by
the administration, not being treated as professionals, and the recurring theme of no lunch
breaks, planning time, and no time away from the students during the day. A teacher at
school 1 described that administration there as "being in a bubble." Another teacher at
that school reported that, "The administrators act interested until I bring up a real
concern. Then they don't want to listen and they certainly don't respond with an
appropriate action." The teachers at school 1 also report a lack of feedback on
instructional performance from the administration. One teacher made this comment,
"They don't give feedback. I am given autonomy in my class, but I really don't know if I
am doing the right thing. This diminishes my performance."
The respondents also gave a variety of answers when asked about promotion of
professional development through policies and procedures. Teachers at school 2
consistently gave their school high marks. Teachers at school 4 reported similar
circumstances. A teacher stated, "The director of education does a great job keeping us in
line; the school pays for certification and classes." Comments from teachers at school 6
reflected a positive climate for professional development. The teachers remarked that
most of the teachers were currently pursuing further education and that the school was
providing tuition assistance. They reported that they had regular education meetings that
were "very professional." They indicated that they were informed and encouraged to
attend training held through the local school board.
Teachers at school 3 reported that they were compensated for costs related to
certification and that AMI offers various training opportunities, however, they had
education meetings on an inconsistent basis. Teachers at school 5 reported that most of
the monthly training focus on DJJ requirements. One teacher reported that, "This school
is out of the loop. We don't get memos about training. We have to aggressively find it.
And, then our training days do not coincide with the school boards days. So it is hard for
us to earn points toward recertification." The teachers at school 1 consistently reported a
deficit in this area. One teacher stated, "There are monthly training but they are only lip
service. They are lackluster and have no real value to us teachers."
There was variation not only among schools, but among staff members within a
school. The answers given by teachers in the same school make it seem like they are not
describing the same school. These comments from two different teachers at the same
school regarding how the school is preparing to meet the standards set by the No Child
Left Behind Act provide an example. One teacher reports that, "The administration is
doing everything they need to do; they are following every guideline to a T." While
another teacher at the same school stated, "They have never really discussed it." The
teachers at schools 1 and 3 consistently reported that they were unaware of what the
school was doing to prepare to meet the specifications of the law. The teachers at those
schools also reported that they did not know what they needed to do as individuals to
prepare professionally to be in compliance with the law.
Several teachers reported that they wanted to know more about the act. One teacher
stated that they had mostly learned about it from reading the newspaper. Teachers at
schools 2, 5, 4, and 6 reported that their schools were making efforts to ensure that the
teachers were teaching within their subject area. Several teachers reported that they were
taking extra classes. One teacher reported that she was working on obtaining the reading
Dissatisfaction with the No Child Left Behind Act was expressed by several
teachers at the different schools. Their comments were: "The law has handcuffed us.
There are some brilliant teachers who are not qualified under that act so they are no
longer allowed to work here. This is a loss for the faculty and most of all for the
students." Another teacher called the act an "under funded joke." Several teachers
referred to the kids in their school as "the children left behind."
The teachers were also asked to discuss teacher turnover at their school. The
teachers at school 2 described the director as "human and comfortable", as a contributor
to the fact that the low turnover rate at that school. The average length of employment
was almost three years at school 2. Table 4.3 shows the mean length of employment at
each school. Teachers at schools 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 described the turnover as high. The
teachers' average length of stay was about a one year for the other schools except for one.
School l's teachers reported an average length of employment of five months.
The teachers were also asked to discuss how the administration motivated teachers.
This question was designed to illuminate practices in the school that would encourage
teachers to develop as professionals. Another question aimed at discovering
administrative action was one that asked about ways the administration encourages
teacher retention. The responses from the teachers indicated that these subjects were
closely related in their minds. The actions an administration takes to motivate teachers
correspond strongly to the actions they take to retain teachers.
The teachers at school 2 described a humanistic approach to training and the
recognition from the administration that the teachers are doing a good job. Teachers at
schools 5 and 6 discussed financial incentives and bonuses as being used as motivation to
stay at that school. At school 1 all of the respondents indicated that the administration
does nothing at all. Teachers at schools 3 and 4 responded similarly.
The findings of this research support the theory that human and social conditions
contribute to job satisfaction among teachers in juvenile justice programs. The
components of professional community have an impact on the level of job satisfaction
experienced by teachers in this setting. The findings support the hypothesis that teachers
derive the greatest satisfaction from their work with their students and secondly from
their working relationships with their peers. However, the overall level of job satisfaction
is diminished by inadequate support from the administration. Teachers feel conflicted.
They love the kids, they like their coworkers, but, they do not feel as though they have
the support they need to do their job. This contributes to feelings of frustration and
alienation. Most teachers do not stay long in this working environment. Teachers like
other professionals thrive in an environment where their work is valued and respected.
Teachers, unlike many other professionals, choose their career because they want to
contribute to their community and society. However, when they feel as though their
efforts are thwarted and devalued, they feel as though they must forsake their convictions
and move elsewhere. The teachers at school 2 stand alone in their conviction to remain at
that school. They repeatedly indicated that they had the support from each other and the
administration to do their jobs. Professional development is encouraged and supported.
These findings support the hypothesis that when the human and social conditions support
professional community teachers experience a higher level of job satisfaction. Figure 4.1
demonstrates the mean length of employment for each school that participated in the
1 2 3 4 5 6
Figure 4-1 Mean Length of Employment per Individual School of Teachers in Six
Privatized Schools Contracted by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice,
Hypothesis 4: I predict that when the indicators of organizational justice are not present
in the workplace that teachers will experience a low level of job satisfaction.
Organizational justice is a theory used to examine how clear, consistent, transparent
policies and procedures are implemented to ensure individuals receive fair and equal
treatment. In the study by Laschinger and Finegan (2005) the effects of organizational
justice on the turnover rate in the nursing profession were examined. They found that the
nurses' perceptions of fair management practices, feelings of respectful treatment by the
management, and trust in the management impacted their level of job satisfaction and
commitment. They found that these conditions buffered feelings of burnout and stress
and contributed to the promotion of professional practice among the nurses.
I used this theory of organizational justice to examine the working conditions of the
teachers in the juvenile justice programs. I propose that this theoretical construct
correlates to that of professional community. Professional community cannot be fostered
without consistent policies and procedures or fair and equal treatment of the individuals
in the community.
Most of the comments previously discussed refer to policies and procedures in
general. Some of the teachers also described procedures that affected them personally and
professionally, such as inconsistent use of employee incentives, inconsistent treatment of
employees, and inconsistent salary advances. Others reported that they were not given
evaluations on a consistent, timely basis. The questions regarding the use of consistent
policies and procedures were designed to evaluate the presence of organizational justice
within the school. As before responses varied from school to school and within schools.
When asked directly to describe the impact of organizational justice on their
performance, organizational justice was ranked as high among teachers at school 4. One
teacher commented, "It is very high, it is one of the reasons I stay." At school 2, the
teachers report, "We have all the way through to the kids. Respect begets respect."
Teachers at school 3 report that there is not a lot of positive feedback; however, everyone
is treated fairly. At school 5, teacher reported, "I was very successful but that rapidly
went away. My enthusiasm fizzled because I am not treated as a professional." The
teachers at school 1 reported that the lack of it "saps my motivation and means I am often
frustrated and don't know what is going on."
The teachers at school 6 described a situation that involves all the elements of
organizational justice. This situation unfolded during the different interviews with the
staff. One of the teachers I interviewed remarked that he did not feel as though employees
received equal and fair treatment. He described a contest that was initiated by a manager.
This contest was for homeroom of the month. The prize was a $1000 for the teacher
whose class won. The teacher reported that he was highly motivated and that he was
really proud of his class's performance. He stated that he thought he won, but, at the end
of the month the winner was never announced. The contest was never discussed again.
The program disappeared without a trace. The teacher described his frustration and
disappointment: "The absence of justice takes away from the students because you can't
serve them in the same way because you do not feel valued."
During the final interview of the day at that school, another teacher disclosed to me
that he did not feel as though all teachers were treated equally or fairly. He reported that
he was treated well, but that it bothered him that the other teachers did not get the same
level of respect. He then described the very same contest, for homeroom of the month. He
discussed it as a way to describe employee incentives. He had won the $1000 reward for
the homeroom of the month. The award was made in private and not communicated to
the rest of the staff.
It seemed apparent that this school does not always have transparent procedures or
treat the staff in fair and predictable ways. This had a negative effect on level of job
satisfaction experienced by both of teachers; the recipient of the incentive and the one
that was excluded. This example illustrates how organizational justice impacts job
This is also evidenced in comments made by other teachers at other schools.
"Administration does not enforce policies equally." "The rules change instantly." "We
are not consulted about procedures that we have to implement." "Management has
meetings behind closed doors and don't tell us what is going on." "The executive director
is leaving. We all know it but it is a secret."
Does the presence of organizational justice have an effect on the rate of teacher
turnover in these schools? Tables 4.3 and 4.4 show a graphic representation of the
information gathered in this study. Table 4.4 shows the length of employment in six
month increments across the entire sample. Table 4.3 shows the average length of
employment per school. The study published by Ingersoll (2002) spoke of the alarming
rate of teacher turnover in public schools. He reported that 30 to 50 percent of the
teachers entering the field leave within the first five years. Clearly the teacher turnover
rate in the privatized juvenile justice programs I studied does not follow the same pattern.
However, it does support the hypotheses that teachers experience a lower level of job
satisfaction when they do not feel as though everyone is receiving fair and equal
treatment. The majority of the teachers in five of the schools did not feel as though they
were treated fairly. These schools reported a high rate of teacher turnover. Teachers at
school 1 consistently reported inconsistencies in adherence to policies and procedures
and unfair practices. Their turnover rate was the highest among the schools I visited.
Figure 4-2 displays the length of employment measured in six month increments of the
teachers who participated in the study.
0-6 7- 13- 19- 25- 31- 37- 43- 49- 55-
12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60
TIME PERIOD (MONTHS)
Figure 4-2 Length of Employment Measured in Six Month Increments of Teachers in Six
Privatized Schools Contracted by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice,
Could the fact that these schools are operated by a private company have an
influence on the presence of professional community and organizational justice? Are
some of the situations previously described an indication of the disruption of traditional
agreements, the disordering of tradition described by Clarke (2004)? He also cautions
that there could be a dispersal of decision making authority and new problems of
Currently, there is an investigation into misuse of funds, cronyism, and nepotism in
the state prison system in Florida. The sordid details are revealed to the general public in
the newspaper, on television, and on the radio. The public is aware of just exactly whose
relatives were on the payroll, how much they were paid, and what their qualifications
were. Corruption happens. It happens at the national, state, and local levels. It happens in
government agencies and in private ones. Perhaps the difference is that when it is
happens in a government agency the public has the right to know all about it. Does
having the affairs of an agency under the scrutiny of the public eye lessen the temptation
to abuse and misuse the power of authority? Does public scrutiny encourage honesty and
quality of service and deter inappropriate actions?
A story told by one of the teachers I interviewed causes one to pause and consider
this very question. The story involves a school vehicle, a manager, and a bit of intrigue.
One Monday morning a manager did not come to work. There was no explanation about
his absence. And on the same day, the school's van was also absent. Several days passed
and still there was no van, no manager, and no explanation about his absence.
The rumors around the school were plentiful and colorful. The students had several
theories. Their presumptions were driven by the circumstances that had been involved in
this employee's two previous extended absences. This employee had been suspended
twice while the Department of Children and Families investigated allegations of abuse
against him. The employee never returned and the staff was never told why he and the
van disappeared at the same time. The managers at the school refused to discuss the
situation. However, a teacher from another school told this teacher that the employee was
driving the van while intoxicated and got into an accident. Soon all the students knew it.
The staff knew it, but there was no discussion of the incident.
The secrecy spawned even more rumors, that he was involved romantically with
another manager, for example, another was that a manager was mishandling funds and
giving this employee monies set aside for the students' activities. Mistrust of the
administration grew, and with it a sense of alienation between the faculty and the
administration. From this teacher's perspective, the lack of communication from the
administration about the incident demonstrated a lack of trust by the administration for
This behavior of the manager who used the school van for personal reasons while
intoxicated is unacceptable, if true. Truth be told, a person working for any agency,
public or private could make such a terrible judgment call. However, when this kind of
mishap occurs in the public sector there are procedures in place to deal with the situation.
The situation was not just about the employee and the van. It truly affected everyone at
the school. It caused a disruption upset at the school and the other manager's personal
decision to sweep the issue under the rug left the school shrouded in mystery.
This decision disrupted the delivery of service to the constituents. However, the
constituents, the public, or the consumers, the students were not given an opportunity to
address the situation. Due to the dispersal of accountability there was no structure present
that could process the concerns of those in immediate contact with the situation. Those of
us outside the circle of contact are still affected. This program is entrusted to provide
service to some of the neediest members of our society. The manager is an employee of
the public sector because he is the executor of the contract this company has with the
state. However, due to the dispersal of accountability his and those of his employee
remain out of the purview of the public. Is this for the public good?
The findings of my research indicate that the presence of professional community
and organizational justice has a profound effect on the level of job satisfaction
experienced by teachers in juvenile justice programs. Unfortunately, most of the
indicators of professional community and organizational justice are lacking in the
majority of the juvenile justice programs surveyed in this study. Where there was a lack
of professional community and organizational justice there was also a high level of
dissatisfaction among the teachers. Where there was a high level of dissatisfaction, there
was also a high level of teacher attrition and reported intent to leave. These findings are
consistent with those found in research literature. Figure 4.5 represents a graphical
display of the intervening variables and their relationships that I propose influence the
conditions in the workplace of teachers in private juvenile justice settings.
Figure 4-3 Theoretical Framework Describing the Influence of Privatization on the
Presence of Professional Community, Organizational Justice, and School
Effectiveness on Teacher Satisfaction and Recidivism in Privatized Juvenile
Community is a place where people share common goals and interact. Students in
a DJJ program are no longer served by their community school. This relationship has
been restricted through a court order due to the youth's involvement with law
enforcement. More than likely it is a temporary separation. Often these programs are
physically isolated. The youths they serve have failed to make the grade in their
community in some fashion. These youths require an extra measure of care, consistency,
educational services, and community. The teachers serving these youth are challenged to
meet the needs that the family, the schools, and the community could not.
Like other professionals in education, (Meich and Elder, 1996) the teachers report
the reason they work with these youths is because they want to help their community.
This is why teachers choose to be teachers. They report that the best part of their jobs is
their relationship with the students and the other teachers.
Like other professionals, teachers need to work within a professional group,
community that encourages them to develop their sense of craft enabling them to work
within contexts that are difficult, challenging, and potentially rewarding. Collaboration
among peers is one of the ways professionals have a way of knowing how good of a job
they are doing. Teachers rely on one another for mutual support and this communication
encourages responsibility for effective instruction. A lack of feedback is one of the
reasons Meich and Elder (1996) list for the high rate of turnover among teachers. They
found that the lack of information about whether one's service was of value contributed
to their decision to leave the profession. This lack of information leads to professional
isolation. Shared planning time is one way to facilitate this.
This focus on instruction confirms the school's mission, to educate youth. The
focus on student learning is fundamental to an effective school. Groth and Brock (2003)
reported that an effective school can be described as having a common mission, an
emphasis on learning, and a climate conducive to learning. Their research suggests that
these components along with professional development, a high degree of staff
involvement, continuous monitoring of student progress and strong administrative
leadership can mediate the effects of socioeconomic factors and promote academic
Shann (1998, p.99) argues, "Principals can promote strong professional
relationships within the professional community. An effective principal will foster
professional growth, active involvement in the educational community and increased
autonomous behavior. As a result, the teachers are more likely to become active and
effective leaders within the educational community. (Shann (1998) and Singh and
Billingsly (1996) found the strongest influence on job satisfaction was principal support.
Administrative support takes many forms. Feedback about instructional
performance, providing resources for educational materials, or involving teachers in
decision making about educational policies are all ways administrators show support.
Additionally, administrators develop and implement policies and procedures that effect
staff and students. They oversee hiring, compensation, and promotion of staff. The
manner in which tasks are carried out makes a significant difference in employees' ability
to develop trust in the organization. When administrators treat individuals fairly, with
respect and dignity, employees are able to develop trust in the organization.
Implementation and adherence to consistent, transparent policies and procedures promote
perceptions of justice in the workplace. Perceptions of justice have pervasive effects on
employees' attitudes and behaviors. They can mediate burnout, promote organizational
commitment, and discourage employee turnover. (Laschinger, Spence, & Finegan, 2005)
An inconsistent finding in my research was the perception among the teachers
interviewed about the lack of interest and concern from the administration about the high
rate of attrition. Policy makers, administrators at the state and national level and at
universities and colleges that educate teachers expend considerable energy searching for
solutions to the problem of high rate of teacher attrition. Consistently, the teachers at five
out of six of the schools where I interviewed reported that the administration was doing
nothing to retain teachers. One teacher reported to me that executive director had told
him that he does not intend to retain teachers. The director had explained to the teacher
that this school just provided a training ground for the teachers. The teachers would work
there for a while and then move on to public schools. A teacher at another school
reported that the administration saw teachers as "expendable." This attitude appears to be
indicative of diminished expectation. A "why even try" approach rather than mirroring
the solution approach of the other leaders in field of education. This attitude translates to
the teachers (and perhaps the students) as a lack of value of them as people and as
professionals and for education itself.
Contrary, to my hypothesis, the results of this research indicate that supportive
leadership from the administration has the most significant impact on the level of job
satisfaction and commitment of the teachers. This leadership takes several forms. One is
that the leadership recognizes the value of its teaching staff. This leadership knows you
cannot have a school without teachers. It also recognizes teaching as a profession and
consistently encourages professional development. The leader knows that people need to
be treated fairly and they operate best in an organized, predictable environment. This
goes for the teachers as well as the students. As evidenced by the responses by the
teachers at school 2, you can even pay them less, if you treat them and the students fairly
and give them what they need to teach, they will not only stay, they will be happy.
A truly disappointing fact is that this type of leadership was only present in one
out of six schools. The teachers at the other schools are willing to work with the most
difficult youth, to work 45 more days than public school teachers, and to work for a lower
salary. However, regardless of their contribution they felt they were not valued. The lack
of leadership resulted in a lack of focus on student learning, and an inconsistency in the
fruition of the school's mission. Inconsistent and erratic adherence to policies and
procedures led to unequal and unfair treatment of the teachers and the students. This
inconsistency contributed to a chaotic atmosphere where decisions are "made on the fly"
and not clearly communicated.
A chaotic environment is not conducive to learning reading, writing, and
arithmetic. Many of these students have learned all to well how to function in an
unstructured and untrustworthy environment, one in which you must fend for yourself.
They come to these programs in need of a predictable, safe environment, one in which
they can learn some skills they do not have, the skills that will enable them to finish high
school, become employable, and become productive, law abiding citizens of society. In
fact, the culture represented in the majority of the schools I visited mirrors the dog eat
dog mentality of the streets. When what these kids need most and what these teacher
want most to give, is a safe, structured environment that is focused on student learning
and academic achievement. Research by Gaziel (2003) indicated that that at risk students
are more sensitive to environmental factors such as school climate.
Does the lack of leadership present in these programs have a relationship to
privatization and the consequential dispersal of decision making bodies and
accountability? My research is far too limited to draw any firm conclusions. However, I
believe there are indicators of this relationship. If one believes in the validity of the
trickle down effect, that the directors are hired, retained, and promoted in the same
manner as the directors hire and fire their teaching staff, there is reason to believe these
same problems exist at the top of the corporation. I do not know, and at this point have no
way of knowing. Although this corporation receives public funds and serves the public,
its operational procedures such as hiring practices are private. They are not within the
One conclusion I can draw from my research is that the Quality Assurance (QA)
reports produced by the Department of Juvenile Justice do not tell the same story as the
teachers I interviewed. In the QA reports for 2004 school l's overall score was 68
percent. In that same time period, the school lost its entire teaching staff. When I
interviewed teachers there the average length of employment was five months. A follow
up call to the school in October reveals that the school has lost 50 percent of its staff
since June. Whereas school 2 had a QA score of 81 percent and had an average length of
employment of almost three years. The teachers there consistently reported favorable
conditions. A follow up call to their school indicated that they have lost no teachers since
Implications for Future Research
The opportunities for future research are many. Further research into the working
conditions of teachers in juvenile justice programs seems appropriate. This study could
examine their feelings of self efficacy or discuss their insights into program reform. A
comparative study of teachers in privately and publicly run programs could broaden the
research on the phenomenon of privatization. This research could assist us in
understanding how the practice of privatization is effecting service provision. At this
point, there is only speculation about the outcome of this endeavor.
Another area ripe for further research is a study of outcome measures for the
consumers themselves. This could take the notion of customer service to examine the
perceptions of quality of care from the perspective of the youths and their parents.
Research that probes the belief systems of the administrators could extend our knowledge
about their views on relevant issues such as the teacher attrition and retention, the value
of education, and organizational justice. A study that compares the views of the
administrators and the educators could prove beneficial in creating a shared vision of the
mission of juvenile justice.
These research efforts could assist policy makers and people responsible for
oversight in developing assessment tools that will enable us to examine the effectiveness
of juvenile justice programs. These assessment tools would measure outcomes for the
youths. This assessment would measure recidivism, educational attainment, and
employment, adherence to policies and procedures, and interview staff, students, and
parents about their perceptions of the program. They will help us determine if these
programs are truly benefiting the youth they serve. This is really the crux of the matter.
One of my former coworkers took a job at an inner city school when she left the
juvenile justice setting. She teaches first grade, quite a change from the high school
setting. She says they are the same kids just a little bit younger. She is very happy at her
new school. She loves her coworkers, her kids, and her vacation days. She loves having a
lunch break and planning periods. She told me, "The first thing I did was join the union.
Now, if anyone even thinks about asking me to give up my time, without giving me
something back, I'll be on that phone so quick to that union rep that it will make their
head swim. If I don't have time to think about what I am going to teach or to get things
ready for the kids or if I am hungry, I am not as good of a teacher as I can be. And, that is
not fair to the kids or to me. Why else would I go through all that schooling to be a
teacher, if I am not going to be a good one?"
My former coworker is certain that she never wants to be in a position where
someone can diminish her potential as a teacher. She feels as though her membership in
the teachers' union will be a safeguard against mismanagement and poor administrative
practice. Could this work for the teachers at the private juvenile justice programs? Would
they be protected from whimsical decision making and unequal treatment by the
administration? Would this also promote a school culture that was focused on student
I believe it could prove beneficial to all. If the teachers had the option to join the
local teachers' union it would ensure that they are given the same treatment as other
teachers in the area. It would mean like the teachers employed by the school board, they
would be compensated for time spent above their normal hours, such as if they had to
cover another teacher's class during their planning time. It would also mean that the
school would have access to a pool of substitute teachers that would result in more
stability in the school. It would reduce the teachers' isolation from the larger educational
community. They would have access to other benefits available to educators in the union.
An additional advantage would be an endorsement as a professional in the local
educational community. After all, these teachers are teaching the kids the other teachers
just couldn't handle any more. To be successful at this, they need and deserve all the
support, recognition and encouragement possible. They perform a huge service to the
community and should be treated thus. The teachers need to be a part of the larger
I propose that joining the union would have a stabilizing effect on the turnover
rate as well as enhancing the educational programming the students are receiving. The
affiliation with union would encourage professionalism and instructional excellence.
Additionally, the affiliation would limit the possibilities for the unjust treatment of
the teachers that was disclosed during the course of this study. They would be evaluated,
compensated, and promoted by the same professional guidelines as the public school
teachers. They would have access to the same grievance policies as the other
professionals in their field.
Every youth deserves to be educated by a competent teacher. Students that have the
greatest needs require high quality instruction. This is more likely to occur in a climate
where the educators are respected, valued and experienced. To attract and retain teachers
in this setting, changes must be made at the policy level.
"If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is, but if you treat him as if he
were what he ought to become then he will become what he ought." Goethe
Well, maybe sometimes but if we do not do something differently we will probably
have similar results. If these six schools are indicative of private juvenile justice
programs in Florida, we need to do something different.
It really boils down to expectations. The teachers need to expect that the
students will achieve. The teachers need to expect that they will be treated like valued
professionals and they will have the resources necessary to instruct their pupils in a safe
environment focused on student achievement. The administrators need to provide this for
the students and the teachers. Since these programs are all in essence public programs for
the public good we, the public, should expect that they come under the scrutiny of the
public. We, the public, need to expect that these programs will provide every resource
necessary to make sure that these children don't get left behind permanently. We can help
them now or as the research shows they will more than likely they will end up behind
Secretary Schembri, the current head of Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice
has voiced his intention to provide improved rehabilitation services. I applaud his efforts.
These youths need comprehensive services to address the many issues that contribute to
their involvement in the juvenile justice system. Many of them need treatment. They have
been victims of neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Punishment and harsh
treatment will not heal the scars caused by the misdeeds of adults that have been
entrusted with their care. Often when these issues of abuse and neglect are present,
youths struggle with substance abuse, poor academic performance, and emotional and
behavioral problems. These problems can not go untreated if we hope to assist these
youths in reaching their potential. Adequate funding for enhanced educational services
and instructional resources could improve the opportunities for these youths to attain
sufficient academic skills needed to obtain employment.
This additional funding needs to be available to fully staff these programs with
competent individuals. This trained staff needs to be compensated at a level consistent
with other professionals in the field. Why do we expect the people who work with the
most challenging students, the students who need the most help to work more days for
less money? This mindset is setting up the students for further failure as well as limiting
the potential for success of the staff and the programs. This direction can only take place
through proper funding and these monies can only be assured through policy changes.
These policy changes would reinforce the educational and treatment components of the
juvenile justice programs.
Another area in need of reform is that the managers and administrators of these
programs need to have a solid foundation and training in the principles of effective
educational practices. How can the administrator in charge make informed decisions
about educational practices if they have no understanding and inadequate information
about pedagogy? Additionally, the administrator needs to have a firm understanding
about the process of human development. They need to have sufficient knowledge and
insight into the factors that influence and promote growth in the developing human being.
How can an administrator make wise choices about the care and treatment of these youths
without training in this area? This change must take place through a change in policy and
with adequate funding to ensure compliance.
Juvenile justice programs need to have comprehensive assessments that reflect the
true mission of the programs. These programs exist to rehabilitate youth. The assessment
process should reflect this goal. When this is the criteria by which success is measured,
programs will begin to focus more on the quality of the care of the youth they serve. This
refocusing must be policy driven and properly funded.
The reformation of juvenile justice programs requires that management and
operational procedures come out of the shadows and into the purview of the public. The
Sunshine laws that protect other governmental agencies should apply to these
organizations, as well. These agencies exist to serve the public and the quality of the
services they provide will be enhanced by full disclosure of their strengths and
weaknesses. Just like the students and the teachers, these programs need to know that
they are valued and that they are expected to succeed. This message will most effectively
be conveyed through adequate funding and comprehensive monitoring and honest,
thorough assessment that demonstrate how well the program serves the student and the
1) In this setting (organizational structure, i.e. private setting) how do these elements
impact your performance as a teacher?
a) Budget/financial support
b) Administrative support for teachers
c) Relationships (student/teacher bonds, coworkers, management)
d) Mission statement
e) Consistent policies and procedures
2) What is your most important motivation for being a teacher?
3) Describe in your own words your working relationship with your peers.
4) Describe in your own words your working relationship with your administration.
5) Who holds decision-making power for the educational program at your school?
a) Describe the chain of command
6) What does the administration do to retain teachers?
a) How would you describe teacher turnover?
7) What does the administration do to motivate teachers?
8) What is your school doing to prepare for No Child Left Behind Act?
9) What percentage of your teaching staff is considered "highly qualified" under the No
Child Left Behind Act?
10) How are you preparing professionally to meet the No Child Left Behind Act?
11) Describe the policies and procedures that promote professional development.
12) What is the mission statement of your school?
13) Describe the strengths of your school.
14) Describe the weaknesses of your school.
15) Does your organization/setting/school reflect your idea of a space that promotes
16) Does the presence of justice in the workplace have an effect on your performance?
17) Considering our conversation, what would you describe as the most significant factor
in your decision to continue teaching at your school?
Instructions: Please take a moment to answer the following questions concerning job
satisfaction using the scale provided. You do not have to answer any question you do not
feel comfortable answering. Please mark ONE box for each question: Strongly
Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree.
How are your relationships with other teachers? This section
of the questionnaire explores some aspects your rapport with
Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly
I feel that I receive the cooperation I need from my O O O O
peers to do my job effectively.
I make a conscious effort to coordinate the content of | |
my courses with other teachers.
I have the opportunity to participate in regularly O O O
scheduled planning time with other teachers.
I would be willing to participate in cooperative -
planning time with other teachers.
I feel like cooperative planning time with other | | |
teachers would be beneficial to reaching our vision.
I feel respected as a colleague by most other | |
teachers. l l
I feel respected as a colleague by most other staff
This section of the questionnaire looks at the use of consistent policies and procedures.
Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly
Resources are distributed in a fairway. O O O O
Financial incentives are awarded in a systematic way. O O O O
I am knowledgeable about the way financial incentives
I am aware of how financial resources are allocated. O O O O
The Quality Assurance auditing process motivates my O O O
The Quality Assurance audit scores reflect the quality O O O
of your school on a day-to-day basis.
Changes to policies and procedures are related to the | |
teaching staff in a timely manner.
How do your interactions with administrators affect your job satisfaction? These questions
examine your relationships with administrators.
1= 2= 3= 4=
Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly
I feel that I receive the cooperation I need O O O O
from my administration to do my job
The administration is responsive to my O O O O
There is adequate communication between I L I I
teachers and administrators.
The school administration's behavior IL I I
toward the teaching staff is supportive?
I feel the principal/director is interested in I I I I
I feel respected as a teacher by the LI I
My opinions are considered when making O O O O
decisions concerning education.
My opinions are valued by the I L I I
The decisions made about education at my O O O O
school are made by educators.
The administrators at my school are I I I I
The decisions about education at my school O O O O
are grounded in scientifically based