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THE EFFECT OF NCLB ON STATE BOARD AND LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD RELATIONS: A PENNSYLVANIA EXAMPLE

Dietrich, Joseph John (2011) THE EFFECT OF NCLB ON STATE BOARD AND LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD RELATIONS: A PENNSYLVANIA EXAMPLE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    The political environment created by the high expectation for educational systems by voters, coupled with the requirements of federal legislation, and the political gains to be made by educational reform politicians exert a downward pressure on local school boards. As a result, school boards are being isolated from the local control that they have traditionally enjoyed. Federal efforts such as NCLB have required state bureaucratic reforms demanding higher levels of conformity with centralized state education policy in many jurisdictions. As a result, school boards may no longer be the representatives of local control but simply the administrators of state policy at a local level. This qualitative study investigates whether a set of school boards in Pennsylvania is losing traditional autonomy and how this may be occurring. Using a critical case study design, the relationship between local school boards in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education (PSBE) is considered in relation to principal agent theory (PAT). PAT is a widely used theory in the social sciences that provides a basic framework for investigating the role of individual and organizational interests, information flows, and incentives in governance settings. Data was collected by interview and sorted by codes based on an a priori content analysis. These codes were then combined to create themes from which the interplay of the relationship between the PSBE and the local school boards can be examined. The key finding of this study supports the idea that Pennsylvania is centralizing authority over education. However, local school boards are also maintaining a high degree of local control as the implementation of state policy has generally been left to the local boards. Findings indicate that those involved in the study feel that state standards and the prescribed Annual Yearly Progress goals have been a positive influence in Pennsylvania. Additional findings of this study are that authority over education in Pennsylvania is more broadly distributed among the state government than expected. This study also provides a policy recommendation that the role of local school boards be reviewed as their function in the new centralized policy environment lacks definition.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee ChairWeidman, Johnweidman@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberNess, Erikeness@uga.edu
    Committee MemberDennick-Brecht, Kathrynbrecht@rmu.edu
    Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.edu
    Title: THE EFFECT OF NCLB ON STATE BOARD AND LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD RELATIONS: A PENNSYLVANIA EXAMPLE
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: The political environment created by the high expectation for educational systems by voters, coupled with the requirements of federal legislation, and the political gains to be made by educational reform politicians exert a downward pressure on local school boards. As a result, school boards are being isolated from the local control that they have traditionally enjoyed. Federal efforts such as NCLB have required state bureaucratic reforms demanding higher levels of conformity with centralized state education policy in many jurisdictions. As a result, school boards may no longer be the representatives of local control but simply the administrators of state policy at a local level. This qualitative study investigates whether a set of school boards in Pennsylvania is losing traditional autonomy and how this may be occurring. Using a critical case study design, the relationship between local school boards in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education (PSBE) is considered in relation to principal agent theory (PAT). PAT is a widely used theory in the social sciences that provides a basic framework for investigating the role of individual and organizational interests, information flows, and incentives in governance settings. Data was collected by interview and sorted by codes based on an a priori content analysis. These codes were then combined to create themes from which the interplay of the relationship between the PSBE and the local school boards can be examined. The key finding of this study supports the idea that Pennsylvania is centralizing authority over education. However, local school boards are also maintaining a high degree of local control as the implementation of state policy has generally been left to the local boards. Findings indicate that those involved in the study feel that state standards and the prescribed Annual Yearly Progress goals have been a positive influence in Pennsylvania. Additional findings of this study are that authority over education in Pennsylvania is more broadly distributed among the state government than expected. This study also provides a policy recommendation that the role of local school boards be reviewed as their function in the new centralized policy environment lacks definition.
    Date: 13 May 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 04 November 2010
    Approval Date: 13 May 2011
    Submission Date: 04 January 2011
    Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-01042011-132638
    Uncontrolled Keywords: principal agent theory; school boards; state board of education; autonomy; local control
    Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:30
    Last Modified: 16 Feb 2012 17:48
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-01042011-132638/, etd-01042011-132638

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