Title

Connecticut's public school superintendents and board of education chairs: A political cultural orientation and educational value preference perspective

Date of Completion

January 2005

Keywords

Education, Administration

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Researchers have suggested that superintendents and boards of education need to form leadership teams to improve the educational process and increase student learning. The superintendent and board of education relationship is established through the interaction of individuals as they fulfill their specific job requirements. How individuals interpret their roles and responsibilities is influenced by their views on governance and their policy preferences, which are reflective of their political cultural orientations and educational value preferences. ^ The purpose of the study was to research and compare the political cultural orientations (individualistic, moralistic, traditionalistic) and educational value preferences (choice, efficiency, equity, quality) of Connecticut's public school superintendents and board of education chairs. The study used a nonexperimental descriptive format. A random selection of 20 superintendents and 20 board of education chairs determined the population. Data collection relied on a structured interview format. Data analysis required coding, frequency counts, and thematic analysis. ^ Connecticut's public school superintendents and board of education chairs were similar in an overall analysis of their political cultural orientations. The study identifies areas of agreement and disagreement between populations and also similar responses which reflected indecisiveness for a dominant orientation. ^ Connecticut's public school superintendents and board of education chairs were similar in an overall analysis of their educational value preferences. The findings illustrate that there were similarities and similarities with individual differences where a majority value was identified. The findings reveal that there were similarities with individual differences and no majority value was identified. Educational value preference differences were also identified. ^ The perceived roles and responsibilities of study participants were recognized. How individuals determined their role and responsibilities and if they were in agreement with their personal beliefs was also discussed. ^ The findings from this study have implications for organizations and individuals interested in local educational governance. Superintendents, boards of education, board chairs, professional organizations, and educational institutions will benefit by developing a better understanding of the superintendent and board chair relationship by examining the similarities and differences in the political cultural orientations and educational value preferences of Connecticut's public school superintendents and board of education chairs. ^