Educational Management Organizations and the Development of Professional Community in Charter Schools1
This paper examines the ways in which entities external to schools, in this case for- profit educational management organizations (EMOs), can influence the development of school professional community. Drawing on case studies of six charter schools operated by three EMOs, we examine the presence of the five elements of professional community (Kruse, Louis, & Bryk, 1995), supports and barriers to the development of professional community, and the role of EMOs in influencing those supports and barriers. We found that EMO staff can influence professional community in important ways, through the design of their programs (including the structures that they set up for the use of time and staffing) and their informal relationships with schools (including their roles as "cheerleaders," constructive critics, flexible keepers of the model, and reliable managers). The findings of this study have important implications for the potential of other central entities, including school districts, to influence professional community.