The Role of Social Capital in Comprehensive School Reform
A Paper Prepared for the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Canada, April 11–15, 2005
Using data from a large-scale program evaluation of comprehensive school reform (CSR), we examine the role of social capital in the context of CSR. We evaluate a model where we consider social capital as an outcome of implementing CSR models. Further, using some outcome measures of successful implementation, such as teachers’ perceived change in teaching practice, we evaluate the role of social capital in the implementation process of CSR. Findings based on cross-sectional data suggest that CSR seems to be related to the development of social network factors that we call “collegial foci” and social roles that teachers take on as mentors and learners. CSR’s effects on some school capacity outcomes also seem mediated by the social network factors. Given the findings, we argue that social capital should be treated as an independent outcome goal of CSR that is of interest in and of itself.