A multi-variate analysis of Indiana school board member attitudes : concerning controversial educational practices and issues

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Watson, Steven Ellis, 1945-
Snyder, Jack F.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of the study was to assess the relationship between selected characteristics of school board members and public school systems in Indiana and the educational progressivism of board members as measured by the attitudinal responses of board members to statements on an instrument pertaining to controversial educational practices and issues.A major theoretical perspective adopted in the study involved the notion that attitudes of school board members may be differentiated by structural and contextual characteristics related to the school systems of board members in addition to, or rather than by, background characteristics of board members.Data pertaining to the background characteristics and attitudes of board members were obtained from a two-section instrument. Section I contained items designed to elicit information pertaining to the background characteristics of board members, while Section II contained a modified version of Education Scale VII that was employed for assessing progressivist attitudes.Stratified random sampling techniques, based upon the student enrollment of Indiana school systems, were used to select a sample of 524 school board members. The 524 school board members selected for the sample were administered the two-section instrument by mail. Two mailings resulted in 302 usable instrument copies being returned.Data pertaining to the selected school system variables were obtained, except data pertaining to the variable of study council affiliation which were obtained from a doctoral dissertation, from statistical reports furnished by a Division of the Indiana Department of Public Instruction.A correlation matrix was generated from the data for analysis of the simple relationships between all combinations of the continuous independent variables and the dependent variable by pairs. The one-way analysis of variance procedure was utilized for analysis of the simple relationships between. the categorical independent variables and variables contained in the matrix.Multiple regression statistical techniques were employed for analysis of the collective contributions of the selected independent variables to the variance of the dependent variable when the variance shared by other independent variables in a set was statistically controlled. The various multiple regression computations were utilized for analysis of two null hypotheses formulated for investigation relative to the relationship between selected background and school system variables and educational progressivist attitudes. On the basis of the findings, the two null hypotheses were held as being tenable.Major conclusions, among others, derived from the findings included:1. The findings do not support the proposition, as traditionally advanced in the literature, that age related to progressivist attitudes.2. None of the six background variables included in the investigation are strong and reliable predictors of educational progressivist attitudes among Indiana school board members.3. Two of the eight school system variables included in the investigation, student enrollment and teacher training and experience index, are relatively strong indicators of educational progressivist attitudes among Indiana school board members, but only when the contributions to the variance of educational progressivist attitudes shared by the two variables and other selected school system variables are not statistically controlled.4. The attitudes Indiana school board members hold regarding practices and issues in public education are varied and complex and do not lend easily to generalization on the basis of any one single dimension related to the backgrounds or school systems of board members.