Tag Archive: Administration

An Examination of the Phenomenon of Growth after Trauma and its Influence on Leadership (Education Papers posted on May 14th, 2014 )

Leadership development programs focus studies on the positive attributes and experiences of effective leaders. From this focus comes the next generation of leadership. This study, however, suggests that there is much to be learned in the development of new leaders from an examination of the traumatic experiences leaders face. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to investigate the influence of growth after trauma on leadership. Using a validated screening tool to determine if a leader who experienced trauma grew as a result, the co-researchers interviewed leaders to investigate the phenomenon of how growth as a result of trauma changed their leadership. The findings of this study revealed that leaders who grew as a result of a traumatic event were more learning centered, more relationship centered, and more purpose centered. Given that these findings are also attributes of effective leaders as documented in the leadership literature, the implication of these findings is that leaders who grow as a result of trauma have the opportunity to be more effective leaders.

Adequacy post-Rose v. Council for Better Education in Kentucky public school facilities: A case study (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

The decision in the 1989 landmark Kentucky case, Rose v. Council for Better Education, initiated many reforms to ensure that children have access to an adequate education, including funding new construction and renovations for school facilities. The purpose of this instrumental, qualitative case study is to describe how the additional state and local funding for a selected Kentucky public school facility affected the provision of an adequate education. The term adequacy is used in the study to mean the fiscal sufficiency to meet a qualitative set of achievement standards required by the state as indicated in the Rose decision. One recently renovated middle school was purposefully selected based on its relatively lower score on the Kentucky School Report. Selected features: (1) security, (2) technological readiness, (3) lighting, (4) thermal comfort and (5) air quality were examined. Interviews, facility observations including photographic images, archival and contemporaneous documents, and reflexive field notes comprised the data collection. District and school administrators, teachers, and other individuals deemed knowledgeable were selected purposefully and by the snowball method for interviews. Observations focused on the five features and their relationship to teaching and learning. Classrooms were observed without students present. Document analysis was used for contextual information about the school district and the school case. Triangulated data were analyzed in an iterative and holistic process to identify common themes. Trustworthiness of the findings was established through triangulation of data, peer debriefing, disconfirming analyses, the rich description, and field notes. The findings suggest that the additional facilities funding since the Rose decision created a teaching and learning environment that supported the tenets of an adequate education that previously had not been realized. Improvements that support an adequate education were found in three of the five features. Evidence of three additional building features emerged (the facility’s auditorium renovations, added disability accessibility, and classroom renovations according to content area). Enhancements made to these three additional features added to the educational opportunities afforded to the students. The study adds to the knowledge base on outcomes of Kentucky reforms and the relationship between facilities and opportunities for an adequate education.

Government accountability reports and public education policy: Studying political actors’ decision-making (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

This study asks how government accountability reports are used to influence public education policy. Government accountability reports, called “audits” in Utah, prove to be useful tools for examining education policy. Using a collective case study design examining Utah’s Class Size Reduction (CSR) policy, government accountability reports demonstrate that a systematic review of request, report, and result is an effective means for identifying policy narratives. These government accountability reports showed that over 10 years Utah’s State Office of Education and local school districts repeatedly failed to comply with Utah Statutes requiring accounting for CSR appropriations. Repeated findings of data integrity and poor accounting did not lead to political action by state legislators. Despite repeated negative findings about CSR expenditures legislative appropriations were maintained even during two economic downturns. Evidence in this study suggests that these reports result from a breakdown in communication between agency officials and the Legislature. Government accountability reports do not appear to have any more influence on policy decision-making than other sources of policy information. However, these sources of information are financed with public dollars, and political actors’ dissatisfaction with agency responses does not justify the cost of unused reports.

An implementation study of the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) in New York State (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

As global demands for workers in the science, technology, Engineering and math STEM) fields persist, there are increased opportunities for historically underrepresented African-American and Latino youth to fill STEM career pipelines. African-American and Latino youth have long faced disproportionately high unemployment rates. Joblessness has been complicated by lower high school graduation rates for African-American and Latino youth. Significant federal and state funding has been allocated to address this state of affairs. Research findings on STEM career development programs for historically underrepresented youth can inform public policy and resource allocation. The career development provided by the Science and Technology Entry Program STEP) of the New York State Education Department is nationally recognized. STEP plays a major role in strengthening STEM career pipelines for youth who are historically underrepresented in post-secondary STEM courses of study. STEP is a recipient of a Presidential Award for Excellence for mentoring secondary students as they transition successfully into undergraduate and graduate academic programs that lead to STEM careers. This comparative study of four STEP sites is a process evaluation. The study examines STEP state policy as adopted and local STEP implementation processes. The study findings are derived from official documents and semi-structured interviews with key STEP personnel at the state and local levels. This timely study yields important findings about program design as well as the will and capacity of program implementers. It identifies ways to strengthen the capacity of STEM career development programs for economically disadvantaged youth. The study suggests that K-16 partnerships should be characterized by implementation flexibility so that career development staff may connect and restructure program activities to best meet programming needs. This flexibility can lead to instructive solutions regarding increased parental involvement and male participation in career development programming. The findings also suggest that when partnering organizations work in close proximity with one another, transparent, professional relationships are cultivated. These partnering organizations should extend beyond K-16 organizations in order to broaden the constituency that has a stake in the success of programs that serve historically underrepresented ethnic minorities.

Relationship Between Racial Microaggression and Psychological Wellbeing of African American College Students (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

Many researchers have investigated the relationship between the experiences of overt racist events and psychological wellbeing (Greene, Way, & Pahl, 2006; Harrell, Hall & Taliaferro, 2003; Okazaki, 2009). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between psychological wellbeing and racial microaggressions. Psychological wellbeing is measured through classifications of depression, depressive symptoms, and self-esteem. A total of 234 African American college students completed the Racial Ethnic Microaggression Scale (REMS: Nadal, 2010); Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES: Rosenberg, 1965), and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI: Beck, Ward, Mendelson, & Erbaugh, 1916). An analysis of the primary factors, depression, self esteem and racial microaggression was conducted. A statistically significant positive relationship between racial ethnic microaggressions and depression (BDI raw scores; r = .622, p < .001; BDI classifications r = .563, p < .001), and racial microaggression and self-esteem, (RSES; r =.206, p =.002) were found.

Negotiating strategic change in a small suburban school district: The concept of a systems leader (Education Papers posted on March 26th, 2013 )

This action research study carefully reviewed and critiqued the strategies employed by systems leaders of a school district in bringing about strategic change as well as to learn from the experience of negotiating and implementing change. To address the research question and objectives, an integrated theoretical framework was developed that included concepts from leadership, systems thinking, capacity building, and change theory within the context of the principles of action research. This inquiry examined the relevant theories of leadership to determine how leadership becomes the connective tissue between the public, corporate, citizen, professional, and school board subcomponents of a system in need of change. Selected archival documents from the Sylvania Schools were analyzed as source data to examine the content and framing of key policy and systems issues raised by the study question and objectives. The mode of analysis relied substantially on the hermeneutical and phenomenological process of Lindseth and Norberg 2004) which focused on the generation of future-oriented sub themes, themes, and messages. Findings from the combined documents in the archives resulted in 15 themes that necessitated attention from leaders in negotiating strategic change. These included a) maximizing teaching and learning strategies, b) defining leadership responsibilities, c) determining budgetary/fiscal accountability, d) increasing school and community partnerships, e) engaging in long-range technology planning, f) concentrating on facilities/operations, g) providing comprehensive long-range strategic planning, h) improving internal and external communication, i) reviewing district operations, j) enhancing curriculum, k) managing changing demographics, l) incorporating data-management systems, m) providing safe and supportive learning environments, n) increasing professional development opportunities, and o) implementing policy revision. The study results had both professional and conceptual implications. Among the professional implications is the need for educational leaders to effectively use systems theory to negotiate and implement educational policy and administrative change. Change within a school system needs to be addressed in whole systems terms, not as a series of uncoordinated individual initiatives. Consequently, strategic planning must be embraced as the roadmap for change with buy-in from all stakeholders. Increasing leadership capacities and focusing on student assessment data to drive curricular and instructional practices are essential components employed by systems leaders to bring about strategic change. Theoretically, the study results support the literature on systems thinking and change, particularly with regard to the need for effectively led self-organizing initiatives. These initiatives derive from and eventually impact on the entire educational system as reflected in the roles of the federal and state government, corporate and community sectors, the Sylvania School Board, and parents.

Education reform implementing the Baldrige in Education continuous improvement process. “Lessons learned” from schools who implemented Baldrige in Education (BiE): Including the first three K–12 BiE award winners (Education Papers posted on March 26th, 2013 )

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to learn why schools adopted the Baldrige in Education BiE) model, how the BiE continuous improvement process was successfully established in schools, and to describe the common approaches used by these schools. Methodology. This qualitative research design used a descriptive-comparative multi-case study approach. Sixty-five administrators, teachers, parents, board members, and community leaders were identified and interviewed in the five study school districts. Most questions were open-ended and related to specific research questions. Findings. Four of the five school districts started quality management systems before there was a BiE. A critical success factor in these schools was leadership. Leadership took a strong hand in managing the budget, cutting overhead costs, and understood what was necessary to develop a shared vision to improve education in their districts and schools. They improved organizational and process efficiency and involved stakeholders in their strategic planning process aligning operations to support their mission and vision. Schools shared a common vision that grew out of a belief that “all children can and will learn.” All the districts used the “PDSA Cycle” as part of their implementation and continuous improvement process and ensured stakeholders concerns or recommendations were recognized. Teachers developed goals and worked in collaborative teams adjusting instructional strategies based on formative assessment feedback. Significant organizational improvement occurred because the schools focused on management by fact, sharing data analysis. Schools in the study used “Data Binders” that defined student performance and what was needed to close the achievement gap. The Baldrige winners believed in benchmarking comparing world-class performance to their performance. Conclusions. All of these successful schools had strong leaders who identified and involved all stakeholders in the education process to develop a “shared vision” and ensure good continuing communications with these groups. Schools must teach students to develop learning plans that align with their individual goals and action plans including coaching, feedback, teamwork, while continuously checking student progress in their “Student Data Portfolios.” Teachers must work in collaborative teams and support learning at the students individual and developmentally appropriate level versus age-graded classrooms. All the schools in this research took advantage of technology using data management systems to administer formative tests and to simplify data disaggregation at the grade or department level. Recommendations. Conduct a study that evaluates the longitudinal academic performance of students as they progress from elementary to middle and then to high school in BiE education systems compared with students and schools with similar demographics but who have not used BiE processes.

An examination of corporate charitable contributions: Evidence from firm, managerial, and community factors (Education Papers posted on March 26th, 2013 )

In this dissertation, I examine the determinants of corporate giving with special attention to three areas – firm characteristics, local factors, and managerial concerns. In doing so I attempt to determine whether the level of corporate giving is driven exclusively by firm-level characteristics, or alternatively, if factors such as community characteristics or managerial utility also play a role. The empirical analysis central to the study of these three areas is in part motivated by the discussion of two models of corporate giving. In the first, giving serves only to maximize profits, while in the second, giving is chosen to maximize a managerial utility function that depends on profits, community welfare, and the level of giving itself. Results suggest that firm characteristics are the primary determinant of corporate giving levels. Local factors overall are found to have only a modest effect on firm giving. In general, firms do not appear to take the characteristics of their local community into account when deciding how much to give to charity. Giving by single-location firms, however, is found to exhibit a closer relationship with community characteristics than is giving by multiple-location firms. In a result of specific interest, firm giving does not appear to be crowded out by government spending or individual giving by residents of the community. Managerial compensation is found to affect giving behavior. Specifically, managerial salary and the share of the firm owned by the CEO are found to be related to firm giving levels. However, the fact that giving does not appear to react to changes in top management suggests that while compensation structure may affect giving, the managers themselves may not have a large say in the giving practices of a firm. Overall, results concerning the impact of taxes, the role of local factors, and the role of managerial stock ownership provide modest evidence against the hypothesis that firms give with the sole purpose of maximizing profits.

Five reforms in the transition of the university from the late Middle Ages to the early modern era, 1502–1825: A historical study (Education Papers posted on March 26th, 2013 )

Purpose, scope, and method of study. The purpose of the study was to derive a descriptive examination of historical reforms of the university. Specifically, in terms of the transition of the university from the University of Wittenberg in the late Middle Ages to the founding of the University of Virginia in the early modern era. The scope of the study included the reform of the University of Wittenberg, and the Anglican reforms of Oxford and Cambridge universities. The study also included an investigation into the colonial origins of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and the post-American Revolution founding of the University of Virginia. The method of study consisted of a comprehensive review of literature and historical documents, evaluation of materials, and data synthesis, which resulted in a determination of the causes and outcomes of five reforms of the university in the transition of the European, medieval university from the late Middle Ages to the founding of the American university of the early Modern Era. Findings and conclusions. As a result of the reform of scholasticism and scholastic tradition of the late Middle Ages, the 16th century university was separated from the Roman Catholic Church in the German principalities and Protestant Reformation nations of central and western Europe. With the spread of the Protestant Reformation new learning became the primary resource and an instrument of university reform. The Anglican Reformation of England was a continuation of the reform of scholasticism and the university by both the Church and the State in conjunction with the Protestant Reformation. The College of William and Mary in Virginia was a colonial outreach of the Anglican Church with its curriculum and university practices patterned after Oxford and Cambridge universities. Beginning with the reform of the University of Wittenberg, and culminating with the post-American Revolution founding of the University of Virginia, the medieval university of the late Middle Ages was reformed to serve the educational purposes of the newly emergent Protestant nation-state of the early Modern Era. The reforms of the University of Wittenberg, 1502-1560, Oxford and Cambridge universities, 1529-1559, the College of William and Mary, 1693-1780, and the founding of the University of Virginia, 1820-1825, were reflections of the changes in the religious, political, Social and economic ideologies of each period in the transition of the university from late Middle Ages to the early Modern Era.

Bridging the achievement gap for African Americans: An analysis of statutory and case law (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

Since the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education 1954) schools across the country have been challenged to provide an equitable education to all students. The U.S. Supreme Court rendered the decision that “…Separate educational facilities [were] inherently unequal” Russo, 2004, p. 944). They were unequal in the areas concerning: 1) student assignments, 2) transportation, 3) physical facilities, 4) extracurricular activities, 5) faculty assignment, and 6) resource allocation, which was connected to the quality of education being offered to students. While some improvement occurred, currently separate educational facilities are again forming in districts across the United States. Since this landmark case, there have been others challenging the district-established segregation decrees in order to create a system that is equitable for all students. However, there remains an academic “achievement gap” between African-American students and their counterparts. Therefore, this study examined legal cases brought by African-American parents, students, and community organizations. Additionally, the study examined cases brought by Whites, and other minority students alleging violations of constitutional rights and, in some cases discrimination as listed above which can contribute to the “achievement gap.” The researcher designed this study in an effort to identify and explicate the legal parameters governing provision of equitable educational facilities. The researcher contends that narrowing and eventually closing the achievement gap will only result if equality in education is a fact rather than a theory. This researcher identified the constitutional rights of children and parents as they seek equal access to resources and programs offered by districts. Finally, recommendations to districts, administrators, teachers, and parents are offered.