Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rural School Superintendent Perceptions of the District of Innovation Initiative
by Satterwhite, Cindy Womack, D.Ed., Tarleton State University, 2020, 119; 27997542
Abstract (Summary)

For decades, a battle between proponents of strong statewide legislative mandates and those advocating for more localized community regulation have sparred over educational control. In an effort to address some of the concerns, the Texas legislature passed the District of Innovation (DOI) law with the intent of providing public schools more autonomy at the local level (TEC, 2015). The DOI designation and the corresponding innovation plans allow for targeted exemptions from current educational statutes that districts feel impede their ability to educate the children within their care. As such, it attempts to provide more local control of educational services to districts, more specifically superintendents. While the DOI initiative targets all districts types, this research was designed to address the perceptions of superintendents serving rural school districts in Northeast Texas regarding the local districts’ capacities to facilitate changes and accomplish district goals under the DOI policy as outlined in Chapter 12 of the TEC. This qualitative study used phenomenological inquiry through in-depth interviews of superintendents to obtain their lived experiences. A purposeful random sampling of rural school districts as defined by the TEA and the NCES was utilized to select districts within region service centers located in Northeast Texas. Rural superintendent interviews resulted in multiple themes across three categories: exemption selection, perceived impact on local goal attainment, and perceived impact on superintendent roles as leaders and policymakers. Analysis of superintendent interviews suggests that exemptions most claimed and perceived to have the greatest impact on attainment of local goals align with the overarching needs of rural school districts: teacher certification, professional development, teacher contracts, class size, and local control of calendar. The results will add to the body of literature addressing education reform and the impact of decentralization of education, allowing superintendents of rural schools to tell their stories. This topic will spark future interest in studying local control within educational institutions and the impact local control has on attainment of district goals. Future research focused on the relationship between the amount of local control afforded rural districts and the impact local control has on meeting district needs would provide depth to previous research conducted for the purpose of targeting the needs of rural schools and how best to meet them.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Beaty, Danna M
Commitee: Weber, Mark J, Reyes, Juanita M
School: Tarleton State University
Department: Department of Educational Leadership and Technology
School Location: United States -- Texas
Source: DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education Policy, Education, Educational administration, Teacher education
Keywords: District of Innovation, Local Control, Rural schools, School superintendent, Teacher certification, Teacher recruitment
Publication Number: 27997542
ISBN: 9798664725612
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