After decades of accountability and market-based reforms in education, school systems are now organizing more around improving teaching and learning. Yet these efforts frequently yield unintended, superficial, or even counterproductive changes at the school level. In this article, Maxwell Yurkofsky develops the concept of technical ceremonies as a way of theorizing this emerging pattern of school organizations. Technical ceremonies involve educators changing their practice to align with new reforms in a way that privileges what is visible and measurable as a way of appeasing external stakeholders over more substantive improvements to practice. He argues that technical ceremonies arise as principals navigate a multitude of surface-level demands from the environment and the uncertainties that pervade efforts to transform teaching and learning.

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