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Title:School board decision-making: Factors and influences
Author(s):Klebs, Kathleen J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McGreal, Thomas L.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Abstract:Local boards of education are given the responsibility of making policy decisions that affect the future of the children in their communities. Various forces move in and out of the policy-making process seeking to influence the work of the board. These policies are made against a backdrop of individual and shared ideologies and are impacted by local, state, and national issues and economic conditions. What part does each of these factors play in the formation of school board policy in a large, suburban school district?
The school board under study is Unit School District 203 in Naperville, Illinois. In April 1993 the Naperville Board of Education voted unanimously to support a health curriculum that teaches sex education including but not limited to an abstinence perspective, though there were forces that would have the board vote otherwise. This issue provided the basis for the study.
The research presents an interpretive case study. The design for inquiry included a cultural framework to discern board members' assumptive worlds and value preferences, along with Pitkin's theory for determining representation orientation. The design for analysis is Weiss's (1983) Ideology, Interests, and Information theory.
The board voted for a health curriculum that teaches abstinence along with other approaches to prevent sexually-transmitted diseases and pregnancy because the members' collective ideology included the belief that students should be presented with all of the facts in every curriculum area, including health. All of the information the board received was compatible with the group's ideology, except for that which came from a conservative Christian group and a few individuals. The board members' interest centered around what they believed to be the best job they could do for the students in the district. This idea of school board policy making for its own sake is key to understanding this board and its actions.
One implication that can be made from this study is that the quality of the board members' commitment has an impact upon the quality of decision making at the school board level.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Klebs, Kathleen J.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512430
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512430

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