Everyone seems to be calling for educational reform in Texas public schools, specifically school finance reform. Education policy advocates and newspaper editorials long have lobbied the legislature for such reform. Although educational reform is a prevalent phrase in the public policy arena, all parties involved in the policy-making process may not agree on the opportunities for, encouraging factors for, and factors that prevent school finance reform in the Texas legislature. As public education stakeholders gather to define, refine, and create school finance reform through policy initiatives, it is imperative that all parties understand each others perceptions of the need, definition, and purpose of reform. Despite research focused on the limitations in governmental reform and political change, little research has examined the perspectives of various stakeholders about the barriers to education reform as well as a dearth of research about the barriers specific to school finance reform in Texas. Therefore, this qualitative research involved 34 interviews of 6 elected officials, 15 state agency employees, 10 educational advocates, and 3 high-level staff of elected officials. The research sought to determine key stakeholders perceptions about public school finance reform, the issues or activities are identified as barriers to achieving such reform, the policy and political implications of such barriers, and how the experiences of these individuals impacted their perceptions of the possibilities for school finance reform. One general theme emerged: perception. From the perspectives of the research participants, the presence, or lack, of perception governs the dynamics of the legislative process and the efforts to reform school finance policy through that process. Unifying the central theme of perspective are the following three factors: a) political, b) interest group, and c) external factors. Six subthemes emerged regarding political factors: a) perceived lack of leadership, b) political turnover, c) the 2003 power shift, d) political pressure, e) staff turnover, and f) loss of institutional memory. Three interest group communities emerged as well: a) the business community, b) the education community, and c) the public. Finally, external factors included population, time, voter apathy, lack of participation, taxes, the economy, and the nature of the problem.
Tag Archive: Political Science
The perspectives of education stakeholders on the barriers to school finance reform in Texas (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )
The relationship between emotional intelligence of patrol sergeants and subordinate patrol officers (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )
This research project was undertaken to investigate the relationship between the emotional intelligence levels of patrol sergeants and the emotional intelligence levels of their respective subordinate patrol officers. Given the nature of the policing, the potential benefit to law enforcement agencies employing officers with functional or high levels of emotional intelligence was assumed to be a desirable attribute. Contributions to the research literature was considered a worthy endeavor regarding the correlation of patrol sergeants emotional intelligence as it may be correlated to the emotional intelligence of the sergeants subordinate officers. This study was assisted by a law enforcement agency in the Southeastern United States to derive the population sample. After failing to acquire participation from a sufficient randomly selected sample from the population, a convenience sample was derived and data were collected from 22 sergeants 96%) and 82 officers 54%). Bar-Ons Emotional Quotient Inventory EQ-i) was used to acquire the emotional intelligence scores of the participating sergeants and officers. Data analysis was conducted using the Pearson product-moment correlation to determine if a linear correlation existed between the patrol sergeants EQ-i scores and the EQ-i scores of their respective subordinate officers. The results of this analysis determined that no statistically significant correlation existed between the independent variables of the Sergeants Total EQ-i and five Composite scores and the dependent variables of the Patrol Officers Total EQ-i and five Composite scores. A t-test was also instituted to analyze the mean score differences between the groupings of patrol sergeants and patrol officers. The results of this test yielded no statistically significant differences between the respective groups. Based upon the statistical results of the study, the null hypothesis was retained. Recommendations were suggested that included 1) the use of an abilities-based EQ-i test instrument for future research, 2) the use of experiments within the ranks of supervisors and field training officers to determine if enhancement of emotional intelligence will have a quantifiable effect on subordinate personnel, 3) the use of emotional intelligence enhancement training to reduce police burnout and occupational stress, and 4) the use of and participation in emotional intelligence research projects directed toward the policing profession.
A study of problems inherent in public school funding practices and the impact of Missouri Revised Statute 137 on St. Charles County school districts (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )
This project first presents an overview of public school finance in the United States and the types of funding models as they have evolved overtime. Equity and adequacy issues of school funding are reviewed along with the impact of resulting litigation. Horizontal and vertical equity, as well as equal access to an adequate education, is also addressed. The project focus moves from a very broad look at public education funding throughout the nation to a more specific look at education funding practices in the state of Missouri. The project addresses both legislative and judicial attempts to resolve Missouris school funding inequities. The focus of the project then spotlights the impact of Missouris school finance legislation specifically in respect to new construction—Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 137, Assessment and Levy of Property Taxes, Section 137.082. In analyzing the impact of new construction legislation, the study again narrows its focus to five school districts located in St. Charles County, Missouri, and takes a look at how these five districts approach and interpret the new construction legislation. Data from the five, St. Charles County School Districts indicate the legislation has required taxing jurisdictions to reduce operating levies for property tax classifications. While initially advantageous by providing immediate revenue from new residential properties, funding, over time, has ultimately been reduced for four of the five districts in St. Charles County. Trend data predicts this funding reduction likely to occur in the fifth district as well. The project teams recommendation is that Missouri legislators revisit the statute in an effort to ensure a positive and long-term impact on local revenues to support public services, including school districts.
Results of early implementation of Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 34 in 15 Ohio public school districts (Education Papers posted on March 21st, 2013 )
The study researched the experience of treasurers in 15 Ohio public school districts in implementing Governmental Accounting Board Statement No. 34 in the districts annual financial reports prior to the required implementation date. Statement No. 34 is intended to make government annual financial reports more useful for and comprehensible to members of three user groups—the financial community, legislative and oversight officials, and citizens. In the study, treasurers of the 15 school districts were interviewed regarding their experience in implementing Statement No. 34, the changes in school operations resulting from implementation, and changes in questions from the three user groups about the school districts finances that resulted from implementation of Statement No. 34. The study found that improving the school districts fixed asset records was the greatest hurdle in implementing Statement No. 34, school district operations were affected little by implementation, and that questions from the three user groups about school district finances generally did not change after implementation. The majority of treasurers in the study said that Statement No. 34 was not cost-beneficial because there was little evidence that the changes it required were noticed by the three user groups； it provided few, if any, benefits to the school districts； and it increased the school districts costs of preparing their annual financial reports at a time when many school districts were cutting staff and programs because of revenue shortfalls.
Despite speculation that the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001′s (NCLB) finely tuned attention to improving academic opportunities for traditionally low-performing students and student subgroups compromises educational opportunities of high-performing students, there is limited empirical evidence that NCLB actually inhibits the progress of high-performing students. Consequently, ideological predispositions have dominated public interest in distributional effects under NCLB. A Student X Subject general linear model with school and Year X Grade fixed effects is estimated to isolate whether a school, based on prior year’s performance, has targeted resources to (a) students in a failing subgroup, (b) students in a failing subject, and/or (c) students failing math on a failing subgroup in Idaho. There is strong evidence that NCLB’s threat of sanctions increased incentives for schools and school districts to elevate learning opportunities for traditionally low-performing students and student subgroups, but that the increased performance by traditionally low-performing students and student subgroups did not occur at the expense of traditionally high-performing students. It appears that Idaho’s response to NCLB is one of improved efficiency and not achievement tradeoffs, in that traditional public schools in the state did more with the same level and distribution of resources as in years past.
Globalization, democratization and government education provision in East Asia (Education Papers posted on March 14th, 2013 )
How would globalization and democratization affect government education provision in East Asia? My dissertation conducts the first systematic statistical and comparative case study in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong before 1997), Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. The statistical study covers all eight cases for the time period 1971 to 2003. It finds no robust effects of trade and capital account openness on government education provision, evaluated from resources, participation, attainment, and gender equity. However, comparative case studies of Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand show significant effects of globalization. As governments in these cases adopted an outward-oriented economic strategy, increasing competition from the global market eventually pressured them to adapt their education systems to the needs of the economy and the global market. Common reform measures include expanding education access, updating vocational, science and technology education, administrative reforms and learning reforms. The role of the state is critical in this process of education upgrading. The states that prioritize the importance of human capital in their development model early and have efficient policy linkages matching economic demand and education supply did better. The case studies also show that the globalization indicators used in the statistical study cannot capture its impacts well. Democratization has been found to have positive effects on government education provision in both the statistical and the case studies. The statistical study finds that comparing with their authoritarian counterparts, democracies in East Asia have a higher per capita education spending, a higher per student spending as percent of GDP per capita at the primary and the secondary levels and a higher gross secondary school enrollment. Consistently, the case studies show that democratization is associated with expanding education access, redistributing education resources from the elites to the masses and fundamental education reforms. However, the mechanisms producing these changes vary by case. The civil society played a major role in initiating changes in Taiwan whereas electoral competition had limited effects. In Thailand, the main architects of reform were educational and bureaucratic elites in the 1970s and might be the civil society and democratic elites in the recent democratic period.
Ideas, institutions and economic policy choice: The case of Spain in the 1980s (Education Papers posted on March 13th, 2013 )
This dissertation analyzes how ideas and institutions impacted Spanish economic policy choice in the 1980s. Specifically, how the economic ideas that came to dominate Spanish policy and economic reform entered into, and guided, the governments economic policy direction is examined. The role of crisis and uncertainty in understanding this economic transformation is explored. The flow of ideas, within the state and society, are traced back to the 1950s, in order to best comprehend the policy choice made by the first socialist government to come to power in more than 40 years. The choices made in 1982 continue to resonate in the present. The work here is concerned with both institutions and ideas. The institutional configuration within Spain, and the positional advantage of some actors over others, and how that influenced policy, is delineated. However, foremost, this dissertation focuses on the impact of ideas on the economic policy choice taken in newly-democratic Spain. In trying to ascertain the power of ideas on Spanish policy outcomes, Mark Blyths “Sequential Theory of Ideas and Institutional Change” is used to analyze Spains economic policy shift. Blyth suggests that the impact of ideas is best understood as a sequential phenomenon. He outlines five hypotheses about the effects of ideas over time. These are tested against the case of Spain. Overall, the examination of Spain reveals the power of this theory in explaining why economic policy changed as it did in the 1980s. The application of it to the Spanish case also helps to highlight some factors typically overlooked in studies of the socialist governments policies. For one, the importance of societal influences stands out, in addition to state elements. The mingling of political and economic ideas is also made clearer. This is important, particularly in Spain during the Franco dictatorship, when economic ideas, unlike political ideas, could be more openly discussed. Furthermore, how international and domestic ideas met and were reconfigured into new economic ideas is illuminated. In sum, this dissertation shows how uncertain conditions can allow for new ideas to impact policy choice that may lead to large-scale economic policy transformation.
Federal nurse training legislation: A study in legislative opportunity (Education Papers posted on March 10th, 2013 )
Between the world wars, reform studies of nursing recommended modernizing the structure and financing of nurse training. By reforming nurse training, nursing leaders believed they could establish their independence from the rest of the healthcare profession. Defense production and military recruiting created a nursing shortage that threatened the stability of civilian medical care and gave nursing leaders their first substantive political power. This research will examine how nursing leaders and their advocates and the rest of the healthcare community responded to this opportunity and related ones in the years immediately before, during and after the war. This research analyses wartime nurse training legislation using John Kingdons Multiple Streams Theory of public policy to suggest an explanation for nurse training failing on the public policy agenda.
Enfranchisement through Freire’s conscientizacao: The case of the Bachillerato Popular de Jovenes y Adultos “Maderera Cordoba” (Education Papers posted on March 8th, 2013 )
This research investigates the contributions of the conscientizacao inspired alternative pedagogy1 developed by Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed2 to the Bachillerato Popular Maderera Cordoba de Jovenes y Adultos in the Almagro neighborhood of the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina through an evaluation of its dialogical actions. These behaviors have been evaluated through a concise framework of eight characteristics of what the researcher has concluded a complete Freirian educational program should entail. This analysis will discuss the associated implications of such behavior on the liberating and humanizing educational experience for students and faculty members. 1Freire, Paolo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed . Continuum. New York. 1970. 2Freire, Paolo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum. New York. 1970.
Education finance trends in a No Child Left Behind America: Implications of student performance on changes in per-pupil spending (Education Papers posted on March 8th, 2013 )
The implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) brought about a new national system of high stakes accountability in which federal legislation, tied to federal dollars, attaches student performance levels to severe, though graduated, sanctions inviting stigma at both the district and school-levels. Given the federalist structure of the education in the United States, state bodies have traditionally controlled educational funding and school performance standards for their own localities, with finance reform generally targeting cross-district equity. In order to avoid the stigmas associated with failure on state standards tests, states may direct aid to low-performing schools and districts. This study incorporates data for five states, two of which have had pre-existing school finance reform. I use these data, spanning from two years preceding NCLB until 2006, to assess whether or not a significant correlations exists between student performance on standardized tests and per-pupil spending, contributing to a potential explanation for differences in spending patterns after the implementation of the law. These evaluations are based on state reporting of student performance and the department of education’s Common Core of Data (CCD) documenting of per-pupil spending and enrollment by district. Through the use of a fixed effects model within states over the course of the time period selected, I find that overall there is not statically significant relationship between per-pupil spending and student performance data, though there is a statistically significance difference in spending across states with each progressive year after the implementation of NCLB.