Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


William Benet


In a democratic society the use of inter- and intraorganizational collaboration as a pragmatic approach to addressing social issues germane to sustaining that democracy is a challenge, especially in the realm of public education reform. The Common Core State Standards Initiative, an attempt at collaboration to reform public schools initially adopted by more than three fourths of U.S. states, created an ongoing response that included proponents and opposers. The opposition in Pennsylvania led to the State reneging on its original commitment to the Common Core State Standards created by the initiative. Research revealed a gap regarding the ability of the Common Core State Standards to solve social problems in a democratic society. To fill that gap and understand more about collaborative education reform initiatives within a democratic society the research question examined the perceptions of citizens in Pennsylvania regarding the CCSSI in regard to its collaborative nature. Benet’s polarities of democracy theory served as the theoretical framework to explore perceptions about the collaborative initiative using Q methodology. Data analysis followed the Q method protocol which led to the key findings of no strong indications of disapproval of the collaboration but of requirements it created; most agreed with the State’s repeal of CCSS; there was subtle recognition of democratic polarities. Findings suggest that the PA Department of Education should adopt collaborative reform initiatives that overhaul the PA Civics curriculum requirements. These initiatives should be rooted in democratic polarities management resulting in positive social change.