The “Representative Bureaucracy” in Education

Educator Workforce Diversity, Policy Outputs, and Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students

Jason A. Grissom, Emily C. Kern, Luis Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Bureaucratic representation—the idea that a governmental organization is better situated to serve its clients when its employee composition reflects that of its client population—has received considerable scholarly attention in the study of public institutions in the fields of political science and public administration. In a wide variety of settings, this research has demonstrated important connections between the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of the public sector workforce and how different groups—particularly traditionally underserved groups—interact with street-level bureaucrats and benefit from public services. Although scholars in those fields long ago recognized that the public school system is a large bureaucracy with diverse street-level bureaucrats (teachers) and clients (students and parents) and thus began studying bureaucratic representation in the context of schools, the concept and the causal mechanisms it hypothesizes remain largely unfamiliar to education researchers. This article synthesizes the main ideas from the bureaucratic representation literature and demonstrates their applicability to schooling outcomes—including discipline, gifted assignment, special education, and student achievement—with the goal of opening up new avenues for education research into the mechanisms linking demographic similarity among educators and students to schooling outputs and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalEducational Researcher
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Fingerprint

bureaucracy
educator
education
student
public institution
school system
special education
public administration
political science
public service
public sector
parents
employee
organization
gender
teacher
school

Keywords

  • bureaucracy
  • descriptive analysis
  • equity
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • race
  • representation
  • social stratification
  • student outcomes
  • teacher characteristics
  • teacher-student relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

The “Representative Bureaucracy” in Education : Educator Workforce Diversity, Policy Outputs, and Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students. / Grissom, Jason A.; Kern, Emily C.; Rodriguez, Luis.

In: Educational Researcher, Vol. 44, No. 3, 01.01.2015, p. 185-192.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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