Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Education

First Advisor

Charles Dwyer

Abstract

Since the 1983 publication of A Nation at Risk, our country has engaged in an educational reform movement. This study examines the intervening years of National Education Association (NEA) state affiliate key members' activities and attitudes in Minnesota, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania involved with state-legislated educational reform. A neglected issue in A Nation at Risk is teacher unionism on reforms. Exploratory field study conducted (1988-89) unearthed salient issues. Five major variables considered in selection of states studied include: known unionism level; reform degree undertaken legislatively since 1983; value ascribed and citation frequency of reform; accessibility of significant players; and Elazar's state political cultures' category: moralistic, individualistic, or traditionalistic. Including return 1995 site visits, more than fifty people interviewed revealed state NEA affiliate involvement for construction or obstruction in legislated educational reform. A major question of this study is "What are the involvements and/or impacts of the National Education Association's affiliate groups in or on legislated reform policy decisions in three states?" The findings in three politically and educationally different states may prove significant to researchers and "reformers" who want to optimize forward movement. The analysis of selected cases articulates detrimental or helpful patterns and processes in making educational improvements in regard to NEA affiliate groups' involvements.

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