Schools in Cross-Sector Alliances: What Do Schools Seek in Partnerships?

Ori Eyal*, Marissa (Gross) Yarm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: In recent years, the rise of cross-sector alliances (CSAs) in education has elicited growing concerns regarding the unrestrained influence of external partners. Against this backdrop, this study aims to explore the ways in which public schools perceive and collaborate with nonsystem actors (NSAs). Research Methods: Using a qualitative design, 32 in-depth interviews with 29 school CSA coordinators responsible for managing 32 civic education CSAs in Israel were triangulated with CSA email correspondence and completed feedback forms. Data were coded and analyzed using categorical techniques. Findings: Three main themes emerged from our data: identity of the public education system, pedagogic identity of the school, and collaboration and mutuality. While concerned by the threat of CSAs to public education, school coordinators expressed confidence in their ability to protect their school’s identity from NSA influence via twin strategies of regulation and adaptation. However, our analysis revealed that by avoiding substantial engagement with NSAs, the coordinators effectively ceded control to them over educational activities. We propose two new theoretical constructs to categorize alliances: reproductive mutuality, in which schools effectively accept the ideology and programs of NSAs, by a form of “soft coercion”; and transformative mutuality, in which school coordinators and NSA representatives engage in substantive dialogue about educational values, goals, and methods, leading to pedagogical innovation and protecting the public school ethos. Implications: The findings suggest that schools expand their involvement in vetting, monitoring, and activating CSA programs; protect teachers’ professional status; encourage knowledge transfer; and foster transformative mutuality to propel socioeducational change.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)648-688
Number of pages41
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • cross-sector alliances
  • privatization of education
  • regulative gatekeeping
  • reproductive mutuality
  • transformative mutuality


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