Response to “Disrupting the Status Quo”
The main purpose of this article is to urge the inclusion of action research dissertations as a requirement for the Ed.D. degree. In many schools offering doctoral degrees in education, there is insufficient differentiation in the dissertations between the Ph.D., which is normally more of a research-oriented degree, and the Ed.D., which is more of a practically oriented degree. Research has shown a connection between the quality of an organization’s educational leadership and the quality of the achievement of that organization’s students (Firestone and Riehl, 2005). In the areas of boosting equity in educational outcomes, and increasing overall student excellence, having leaders who can bring reforms and changes to their school systems may be the difference maker when it comes to building top-notch school systems. The authors appear to assume, while making this argument, that just about all of the deleterious effects of the chaotic home lives associated with children in poverty can be easily overcome, because the challenges associated with teaching in socioeconomically struggling areas, which are well documented throughout education, receive no significant mention in this article.
However, there is considerable merit in urging action research dissertations for the Ed.D. candidate. While Ph.D. dissertations build knowledge for the sole purpose of acquiring it, the action research dissertation results in information that will work in a variety of academic settings and is immediately practicable (Greenwood and Levin, 2007). Continuing the use of action research dissertations should build a reflective generation of school leadership who know how to bring effective change to virtually any learning environment (Grogan, et. al., 2007). While this article does come from the viewpoint suggesting that the school system can cure many of the ills that exist outside the walls of the classroom, if that sort of idealism were to pass away, education as a profession would lose much of its transformative power.
Firestone, W.A. and Riehl, C. (Eds.) (2005) Introduction. In W. Firestone and C. Riehl (Eds.), A
new agenda for research in educational leadership (pp. 1-11). New York: Teachers
Greenwood, D.J. and Levin, M. (2007). Introduction to action research: social research for social
change (2nd. ed.) Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
Grogan, M., Donaldson, J. and Simmons, J. (2007) Disrupting the status quo: the action research
dissertation as a transformative strategy. The Connexions Project.