ERIC Number: ED165327
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Nov-17
Reference Count: 0
Community Conflict and School Board Response: A Study of Superintendent Survival.
Lutz, Frank W.
Findings of this ethnographic study are the product of observations of the Capital Area School Board from January until September 1976. The data were fit into two models, the Dissatisfaction Theory of Democracy and the elite-arena model. "Elite" boards reach most decisions in private meetings and feel independent of the electorate. "Arena" boards debate issues publicly and see themselves as delegates of the people. Often during arena behavior of school boards, the board suffers high turnover and superintendents are not reelected. This study attempts to explain how superintendents manage to remain in office during such stormy periods. During the period described by the study a new superintendent promoted the abolition of elite behavior and the institution of arena behavior. Because of a split in the board, board meetings were full of conflict and turnover was high, yet the superintendent retained support. Researchers concluded that a superintendent may survive in conflict situations if the superintendent values arena behavior, separates administration from policy-making, administers policy enacted, and keeps separate from board factions. It was suspected that when board members do not value their own arena behavior, the conflicts will tend to be personalized and unmanageable. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Elite Arena Model
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropology Association (Los Angeles, California, November 1978)