PhD in Public Policy

Jane Crowley ’15

jane crowley

Career

Current position: Literacy Interventionist and RtI Coordinator, Grades 6-8, MSAD 51

As a classroom teacher for twenty years, Crowly has taught sixth, seventh, and eighth grade social studies, language arts, and mathematics. She has held a variety of leadership roles within the schools in which she worked: developing curriculum and professional development programming; serving as a literacy coach; and coordinating RtI programming.

Degrees & Certifications:

  • PhD in Public Policy with a concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Southern Maine, 2015
  • Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership, University of Southern Maine
  • MS in Business Administration, University of Kansas 
  • BS in Government Studies, Bowdoin College

Memberships:

  • Golden Key International Honour Society
  • The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

Dissertation

Title: A view from the bottom: The self-perceptions of highly regarded teachers' experiences in a time of multiple policy implementation

Abstract: American public schools are charged with preparing young students for the 21st-century global economy and the society in which they will be adult citizens.  The goal of educational policy is help achieve this goal by striving to improve the teaching and learning processes within public schools.  This study was designed to provide insight into the understanding of highly regarded teachers during implementation of policy reforms within the classroom.  The three policy initiatives being implemented were impacting public schools in Maine - Teacher Evaluation System (TES), Response to Intervention (RtI), and Proficiency Based Education (PBE).

Within the design of this phenomenological interview study, the researcher sought the perspective of midcareer, middle school teachers of English/language arts and mathematics who are highly-regarded within their educational communities.  While quantitative research provides teacher responses on topics concerning educational policy,  the depth of detail and understanding about the implementation of policy is not provided in these studies.  The researcher’s goal was to deepen knowledge about the understandings of classroom teachers during a time of significant educational changes.  Classroom implementation does not always parallel the originally intended policy goals.  The researcher sought to gain understanding of the implementation phenomena that are an influence on the process.

The research focused on the presence of three factors that influence practitioners' comprehension, and therefore implementation of policy initiatives:  policy coherence, compliance readiness, and cognitive sense-making.   Each is composed of multiple components.  The main conclusions drawn from the research were that policy implementation was impacted by the following components:  1) convergence of multiple, complex initiatives introduced simultaneously 2) insufficient organizational capacity throughout the structure of public education; 3) ability of some target agents to resist change and 4) reliance on individual sense-making rather than collective sense-making processes.  

A significant implication of this study was that policymakers at all levels have a responsibility for successful implementation of policy within the classroom.  They must be knowledgeable about the desired goals, the resources necessary for implementation, and the conditions that exist in the field.