The Relationships between Principals and Teachers: A Queer(er) Multifocal Study of the Neoliberal Policy Context
The first paper in this multifocal policy analysis (Young, 1999) is a traditional, quantitative policy study that tested a comprehensive framework that links teacher perceptions of leadership, autonomy, and accountability to principal, school, and teacher characteristics. The study examined the relationship between principals' instructional influence and teachers' perceptions while accounting for state and district fixed-effects. The findings indicate that a principal's instructional influence and the ability to provide more favorable working conditions may be limited by state policies.
The second paper is a critical policy study that employs ethnographic methods and feminist theories of subjectivity to demonstrate how the political system of educational policy governs a principal and her teachers in a school serving marginalized youth. In considering the relationship between teacher and principal subjectivities, this study finds that collective agency is limited by the acceptance of a reproduction of power through the subjects. Additionally, the participants' ability to reflect on their own subject positions in relation to others provides a starting point for resistance to the neoliberal policies that constrain them.
The third paper serves as a reflexive account of engaging in this multifocal project. The paper explores how theories of subjectivity employed in the critical study revealed that policies are contextually and individually dependent, which was particularly useful for making sense of both studies. In this paper, I draw on queer and critical theory to argue for the re-appropriation of traditional methods of policy analysis in an effort to challenge marginalization of critical voices in scholarship, and to enhance the critical, multifocal approach to policy analysis.