This study sought to learn about African American community members' perceptions regarding their satisfaction with local elementary schools in predominantly white, rural school districts in Maryland. The research was conducted in rural counties because much of the attention about the achievement gap has focused on urban areas, where necessary solutions may differ. The Community Opinion Inventory (AdvancED, 2003) was distributed to African American community members in five school districts in rural Maryland using snowball-sampling methods. One hundred and fifty six surveys were collected, representing a 41% return rate.
In this study, African American community members' perceptions revealed they were most satisfied with well-maintained grounds, comprehensive programs, opportunities to learn, and media resources. They were most concerned with bullying, a lack of staff diversity, and substance abuse. Support for Student Learning resulted in the highest mean subscale score, and School Climate yielded the lowest score because it was the subscale with the lowest degree of agreement. Analysis of the COI scores with Maryland State Assessment reading and math performance data showed high to moderate correlations between the math scores and COI measures but little or no relationship between local school satisfaction and the state reading scores.
This study's findings supported a need for educators to collaborate with African American community members in predominantly white rural school districts to further investigate solutions for closing the achievement gap. Examining the community members' perspectives demonstrated the merit of a caring and safe environment, the value of staff diversity, and the importance of high expectations.
|Commitee:||Bull, Kelly, Sarther, Catherine|
|School:||Notre Dame of Maryland University|
|Department:||Department of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||African American Studies, Black studies, Elementary education|
|Keywords:||Advanced, African-American, Community Opinion Inventory, Elementary, Maryland, Rural, Rural education, School climate|
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