Most current approaches to improving teaching and learning in American public schools rely on either market pressures or bureaucratic controls to leverage performance. In this article, however, authors Joshua Glazer and Donald Peurach examine occupational control as a third approach, whereby the internalization of norms, technical language, and practices among educational professionals drives coordination and knowledge generation and supports the implementation of ambitious instruction. To investigate the dynamics of occupational control, they use the concept of epistemic community to identify the mechanisms that unite practitioners into a community of practice extending beyond the borders of local work environments. They argue that underlying this is a shared set of theory, codes, and tools that govern interpretation and practice and, in their interaction, facilitate the continuous generation of knowledge. Illustrating the utility of this framework are two examples of school networks that employ the principles and mechanisms of an epistemic community and that can be interpreted as systems of occupational control. The authors conclude by arguing that the development of educational epistemic communities is critical to the success of current approaches to improving instruction in schools, most notably the Common Core State Standards and the charter school movement.

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