ERIC Number: ED396449
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Interest Groups and the Shift from Appointed to Elected School Boards.
Public schools in America are often at the center of controversy over conflicting values and interests. This paper explores three areas of conflict that surfaced in a Virginia community as it shifted from an appointed to an elected school board. The first section explores the three areas of conflict: (1) conflict over what is taught in school; (2) conflict regarding the operation of educational institutions; and (3) conflict surrounding the cost of public education. The second section reviews literature in the fields of sociology and political science that pertains to group theory and the political process. The third section tells the story of the Virginia county's first school board elections. The final section explores the activity of interest groups in the county and points to possible areas of change due to elected boards. Data were gathered through interviews with key members of local educational interest groups, recently defeated school board members, and recent school board candidates. The case illustrates how group formation reinforced Truman's (1951) understanding of group equilibrium, illustrates the role of interest groups in converting citizen demands into policy outputs, and shows how elections act as access channels to school policymaking. Members of certain interest groups believed that elected boards would be more responsive to their demands. Three tables are included. The appendix contains methodological notes. (LMI)
Descriptors: Board of Education Role, Boards of Education, Conflict, Conservatism, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Democracy, Elections, Elementary Secondary Education, Governance, Local Issues, Political Issues, Political Science, Politics of Education, Public Education, School Policy, Social Theories
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Interest Groups; Virginia
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).