ERIC Number: ED124441
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Feb-19
Reference Count: 0
Communication and Decision Making in American Public Education: A Longitudinal and Comparative Study.
Zeigler, Harmon; And Others
The hypothesis of this paper is that the patterns of political influence on public school systems are changing. Public school systems are subject to so many political influences that one can raise the question, "Who governs?" The educational policy-making procedures seem to have become politicized in the wake of the turbulence of the 1960's. The relationship among school boards, superintendents, and the public in the realm of education is unclear. In order to gather data to test the hypothesis, a longitudinal, comparative research method was devised to include both systematic observation of events and periodic recordings of participants' perceptions. Data were collected for the 1974-75 academic year on the flow of communications and decisions in 11 public school districts in the United States and Canada. Observation of open school board meetings in these districts indicates that among the evident differences are variety in the functions of decision making and communication, distribution and intensity of discussion, the qualitative nature of communication, distribution and intensity and against specific action, and the responsibility for setting the agenda of the meetings. The finding is that, in spite of marked contrast in these and other areas, the superintendent still emerges in each case as the dominant actor. This conclusion implies that further research investigating public communication to the school board and to the superintendent is indicated. Tables, charts, appendices, and footnotes are included in the essay. (Author/DB)
Descriptors: Administrator Role, Boards of Education, Conflict Resolution, Decision Making, Educational Policy, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Political Power, Politics, Power Structure, Public Education, Public Schools, Research Methodology, Sampling, School Districts, Statistical Analysis, Statistical Studies, Superintendents, Trend Analysis
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Oregon Univ., Eugene. Center for Educational Policy and Management.