A DESCRIPTIVE STUDY OF SUPERINTENDENTS' PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL BOARDS IN PENNSYLVANIA

ELMER CALVIN MYERS, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This 1985 study analyzed the perceptions of Pennsylvania public school superintendents toward the actions of boards of education. Answers concerning the following areas were sought: (1) the problems boards face, (2) the quality of board's performance, (3) the "types" of board members and their effect on decision-making, (4) the involvement of boards in administrative matters, and (5) the impact of the boards involvement on the superintendent's performance. A questionnaire was sent to each Pennsylvania public school superintendent. Questionnaires from 425 of the 501 districts were returned. Seventy percent of those responding rated their boards' performance an A or a B. The need for board members to understand more clearly their role as policy-maker, not administrator, was the most frequent comment. Other comments suggested decisions be based upon the merit of the issue and not personalities or personal feelings. Forty percent of the superintendents felt boards were excessively engaged in administrative matters. Approximately 50% of the comments noted the need for better understanding of role clarification. Because of conflicts with their boards, 20% of the Pennsylvania superintendents found it necessary to compromise their position. The major problems facing boards, in rank order, were collective bargaining, budgetary shortages, the need to improve basic skills, and declining enrollment, according to the perceptions of superintendents. Two-thirds of the Pennsylvania school boards include the following stereotypes: the single issue board member; the knows-all-about managing; the individual who gives into pressure groups; and the person who responds to the teacher's viewpoint. Suggestions for improvement were: clarify the boards role; eliminate the political or special interests from influencing board decisions; mandatory in-service programs; and an improvement in the general operation of the board.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

MYERS, ELMER CALVIN, "A DESCRIPTIVE STUDY OF SUPERINTENDENTS' PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL BOARDS IN PENNSYLVANIA" (1985). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8515420.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8515420

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