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How Charter School Teachers Act on Perceived Autonomy: A Qualitative Study of Curricular Decisions Open Access

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Two decades ago, charter schools were proposed as places where teachers would be able to experiment and innovate, with the end goal of providing new ideas for education. This research on charter school teachers explores the concept of autonomy and the resulting impact on curricular decisions. Through a multiple case study of two charter school teachers, the researcher explored the participants' perceptions of autonomy as well as how these teachers were able to enact a curriculum that encouraged students to form their own knowledge. The researcher used the framework of Jardine, Friesen and Clifford (2006) in order to understand the degree to which the two participants employed an "abundant curriculum" in their classrooms. Interviews, observations and document analysis led to the conclusion that autonomy did not guarantee that these teachers would use a curriculum of abundance to encourage students to form their own knowledge. Rather, this study shows both the promises and challenges facing these two urban charter school teachers as they encouraged their students to excel academically and personally.

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