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Magic or Mirrors? Questions about Partnership as a Construct Arising from Micro-Level Case Analysis


"This paper presents a preliminary cross-case organizational analysis of K-20 partnership. The paper is "preliminary" because it is an analysis of two (of a proposed four) cases of K-20 partnership for professional development design. Drawing upon the literature, we first argue that K-20 partnerships can take different forms and have a range of characteristics. We suggest that a community of practice, as defined by Wenger (1998), can be one form of K-20 partnership. Next, we conduct a micro-level analysis of two K-20 partnerships. Our analysis discusses actors' differing motivations and roles, and describes partnership operations. We show that policy-initiated partnerships are begun with needed financial capital, but this policy initiative does not necessitate a departure from "business as usual." The cross-case analysis shows joint and facilitated activities among K-20 actors develop new understandings and opportunities among actors that transforms partnership to a community of practice, which harnesses IHE and K12 talents to develop solutions to pressing local problems. We conclude with questions about "partnership" as a construct."