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Analysis of Texas Education Agency Commissioner of Education Decisions Regarding Superintendent, Associate Superintendent, School Administrator, Athletic Director and Central Office Administrator Term Contract Nonrenewal Appeals From 1983 to 2013

Description: I conducted a legal analysis of decisions by Texas Commissioners of Education in appeals by Texas school administrators from nonrenewal decisions made by Texas school districts from 1983 to 2013. I analyzed the findings of fact and conclusions of law described in the commissioners’ rulings to determine the legal basis of school districts’ decisions to nonrenew school administrators’ term employment contracts. I also examined the legal rationale for commissioners’ rulings and determined which party most commonly prevailed in these administrative proceedings—the respondent school district or the petitioner school administrator. In particular, the study determined factors that contributed to commissioners’ decisions to overrule or support school districts’ nonrenewal decisions. A careful review of commissioner decisions, which are accessible on the Texas Education Association website, identified 44 commissioner decisions involving appeals by superintendents, associate superintendents, public school administrators, athletic directors, or central office administrators concerning school districts’ term contract nonrenewal decisions from 1983 to 2013. Commissioners’ decisions in these cases were surveyed using legal research methods. This study provides recommendations to assist local education agencies to refine current policies and regulations regarding the nonrenewal of administrators’ term contracts, and provides insight on Texas Commissioners’ rulings on term contract nonrenewal appeals brought by Texas school administrators. The findings revealed that school boards’ lack of understanding of local policies and lack of evidence resulted in commissioners granting 27% of appeals. Additionally, commissioners denied 73% of the appeals because school boards provided at least one reason that met the substantial evidence standard of review, and respondents failed to substantiate allegations or enter evidence in evidentiary hearings.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Ramirez, Carlos

Effects of Board Training on the Relationship Between Board Members and CEOs

Description: The purpose of this study is to ascertain the opinions of chief executive officers (CEOs) and school board chairs of Texas private schools in educational service center (ESC) Regions 10 and 11 toward board training and the potential benefits for the success of their respective roles. Literature regarding private school board training is limited. As a result, most private school boards face challenges regarding school board training expectations, which could affect their roles and the roles of CEOs. The quantitative and qualitative cross-sectional research design examined Texas private school CEOs’ and school board chairs’ perceptions about school board training and the working relationships between Texas school CEOs and school boards. The researcher developed the survey and interview questions used in this study. Responses to a 4-point Likert-type scale instrument, short answer questions, and interviews were solicited from a population of private school CEO and school board chairs within ESC Regions 10 and 11 from schools with an enrollment of at least 100 students and that contained Grades 9 through 12. In-depth Interviews were conducted with 12 private school CEOs and 12 school board chairs with varying levels of school board training. The research findings indicate that board training does make a significant difference in the working relationships between CEOs and private school boards. The findings of this study may assist private school boards in addressing school board training and the components of such training, which would benefit the working relationships between CEOs and school boards, as well as the success of private schools.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Riley, Beth A.

Framing Bilingual Education Policy: Articulation and Implementation in Texas

Description: Language education policy and its implementation have been controversial and ongoing issues throughout the United States, especially in the border state of Texas, with its large population of students who are learning English. This dissertation reports two studies, the first of which was a frame analysis of problems and solutions as represented by the five bills amending the Texas Education Code with regard to bilingual education and English as a second language programs. These laws, passed in 1969, 1973, 1975, 1981, and 2001, have been enacted since 1968, the year the Bilingual Education Act (BEA) was passed. The problem framed consistently by these state policy documents was inadequate instruction for children who come to school speaking languages other than English. More variability was seen in the framing of solutions, with approaches changing from the authorization of instruction in languages other than English, to the establishment of mandated bilingual programs, to the extension of special language programs, and to the establishment of dual language immersion programs. The primary ideology influencing the policy documents was the monolingual English ideology; however, alternative ideologies are apparent in the policies that allow for dual language immersion programs. Geographic information systems (GIS) analysis was used in the second study to investigate the geographic locations of particular programs and the demographics of students they served. Choropleth maps showed variability in program distribution across the state with distinct patterns apparent in only two programs. The maps indicated that districts with high percentages of student enrollment in one-way dual language programs tended to be located in and near the major metropolitan areas, whereas many districts offering early exit transitional bilingual programs tended to be located along the Texas-Mexico border. Despite the literature on bilingual/ESL program effectiveness, the predominant program in the border region of Texas is among those considered ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Dixon, Kathryn V.

Immunity for New Mexico Public School Districts and the 1978 Tort Claims Act

Description: In a 3-year timeframe, nearly 800 student negligence suits were filed, and most involved some claim of personal injury. Despite heightened public attention of negligence lawsuits against school districts and their employees, an empirical study of court decisions revealed that the volume of litigation against school districts remained steady from 1990 to 2005, the majority of cases were ruled in favor of the school district employees, and government and official immunity were most often the basis for these rulings. Researchers have concluded that immunity laws are strong in the United States, although they vary by state in their application. However, a primary recommendation was that, because of the misconception of a lack of immunity for public school employees, a comprehensive study on governmental and official immunity is needed. This dissertation employed legal research, analysis, and methodology to engage in a comprehensive investigation of teacher immunity in the four southern states of Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and New Mexico. Of central concern to this dissertation was the Tort Claims Act of 1978 from the State of New Mexico. The Tort Claims Act is the vehicle by which immunity is granted to public school employees. Court findings over the last 35 years point to three primary domains under which cases pertaining to immunity fall: negligence (62.5%), evaluation and supervision (16.7%), and student discipline (8.3%). Immunity appears strong across all three domains; however, only future studies on cases by state will determine whether states in the southwest United States are the norm or an anomaly.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Herauf, Todd J.

The Impact of Target Revenue Funding on Public School Districts in North Texas

Description: A pre–post case study was conducted to examine how target revenue funding from Texas House Bill 1 (2006) has impacted the school districts within the Texas Education Service Center Region X area. Forced by the courts, the Texas Legislature was required to fix the Texas school finance system because of a de facto statewide property tax it had created by capping school district’s maintenance & operations tax rate at $1.50. Texas Governor Rick Perry used this opportunity to reduce school district M&O taxes by one-third. The Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1 (2006), the Public School Finance and Property Tax Relief Act, in response to the courts and to address a continuous decline in state funding support for public education. The Public School Finance and Property Tax Relief Act reduced local school districts’ property tax rates and revenue with the assurance that these funds would be exchanged for state aid. Local school property taxes were reduced over two years, 2006–2007 and 2007-2008, by 33%. In order for the State of Texas to meet the state aid funding guarantee from House Bill 1 (2006), each school district was frozen to its 2005–2006 revenue per weighted student, which was called a district’s revenue target. This study examined the impact target revenue has had on these school districts by analyzing and comparing revenues and expenditures prior to and following the law’s implementation. Specifically, changes in per-student revenue, per-student expenditures, and district fund balances were assessed.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Womack, Dennis E.

Measuring Teaching Effectiveness Using Value-Added and Observation Rubric Scores

Description: This mixed-methods study examined the extent to which teacher performance and student performance measures correlated, and to understand which specific practices of mathematics teachers in Grades 3-5 related to student performance. Research was conducted at five elementary schools in a large, urban north Texas school district. Data sources included component scores and recorded evidence from observation rubrics, interviews with campus administrators, and value-added modeling (VAM) student growth scores. Findings indicated a modest relationship between teacher performance levels and student performance levels. Lack of access to individual teacher VAM data, per district policy, might have impacted the strength of the relationship. Interviews with administrators and an examination of the evidence cited in the observation rubrics identified specific practices associated with highly rated mathematics teaching. Differences in administrators’ experience levels with both mathematics instruction and the observation instrument might have influenced rubric scores and the level of specificity shown in evidence statements.
Date: December 2014
Creator: McKenzie, Andrew

The Relationships Between the TeacherInsight Score and Student Performance As Measured by Student TAKS Academic Change Scores

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between TeacherInsight™ (TI) scores and student performance as measured by student academic change scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. School district administrators, particularly district personnel administrators, are continually faced with the task of screening and hiring potential teacher applicants who are expected to influence student achievement outcomes directly. Efforts to make the screening, selection, and hiring process more efficient and effective have led to the use of certain teacher prescreening selection instruments that provide a research-based assessment of teachers’ affective attributes, which purportedly predicts teacher effectiveness. This study addressed this concern using a teacher screening and selection tool, the TI, design by the Gallup Organization. According to the Gallup Organization, the TI is a predictor of teacher affective attributes or talents. The state of Texas uses a student evaluation process called the TAKS to measure student academic gains in certain subject areas. This study examined the relationship between the TI and teacher effectiveness as measured by student academic TAKS change scores in mathematics in fourth and fifth grade. I used data obtained from a single school district in north central Texas. The specific targeted population consisted of 874 students enrolled in mathematics and 44 fourth- and fifth-grade teachers hired over a 3-year period (20082011). I applied a quantitative causal-comparative research design. Descriptive statistics for all variables were presented and bivariate relationships between continuous variables were examined. A two-level linear regression model was used to predict student performance on state-mandated assessments using teachers’ TI scores while controlling for relevant covariates. The statistical significance level throughout the study was set at α = .05. A major finding of this study revealed that teachers’ TI scores were not significant predictors of student achievement in the final model (p ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Stewart, Robert L. (Robert Lee), 1960-

Resource Allocation Efficiency at the Elementary and Middle School Levels in a Texas School District

Description: In recent years much attention has gone to school efficiency, as determined by assessing student achievement relative to expenditures at the school district level. The present study built on prior work in school efficiency with a focus on the school campus level instead of the district level. Included in the study were 28 elementary and middle school campuses in a selected school district in Texas. The approach taken in the investigation was data envelopment analysis (DEA), which provided scores for efficiency and was intended to provide clarity on efficiency research at the campus level. Past studies using the DEA model have involved business and private institutions, but not public schools. The DEA model calculated and assigned efficiency scores for each campuses. The two variable categories used to determine campus efficiency were student demographics and resource allocation. The total enrollment numbers included the number of White, economically disadvantaged, at-risk, and limited English proficiency students. The resource allocation variables included the total expenditures in instruction, instructional related services, instructional leadership, campus leadership, and student support services. The efficiency scores paired with student achievement scores determined campus efficiency and effectiveness. An effective and efficiency framework was used to represent the data with student achievement on the y-axis and campus efficiency scores on the x-axis. I applied Pearson product moment and regression analyses using the same variables as previous studies. The Pearson product moment assessed the correlation between student demographic variables, function code variables, and campus efficiency. The Pearson product showed a weak positive relationship between the number of White students and the number of LEP students enrolled in the district. The analysis also showed moderate and strong negative relationships between efficiency and instructional leadership and student support services. The regression analysis identified the student demographic and function code variables that affected the level ...
Date: May 2014
Creator: Hamlin, Lance

Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Responsibilities in Teaching Social Emotional Skills: a Case Study

Description: This study investigated the beliefs of teachers at a particular elementary campus in North Texas during its first year of implementation of a social emotional curriculum regarding teaching social emotional skills and the influence of those beliefs on their classroom practices. The study drew from the works of Dewey and Bandura in the development of a framework for teacher decision making. A case study design incorporating multiple cases within the case study utilized a mixed-methods approach for data collection and analysis. Ten teachers volunteered and participated in the quantitative data collection, and four of those ten participated in the qualitative data collection through interviews and classroom observations. Data collection methods also included a demographic survey, a questionnaire on teacher beliefs about social emotional learning, and a self-ranking scale of practices related to teaching social emotional skills. Results indicated that although all participants believed social emotional skills instruction was part of their duties as teachers, their practices in teaching social emotional skills varied. Additionally, there was a mismatch between participants’ self-identified practices and the practices that were observed during the study. Administrative support for program implementation was high, but did not necessarily translate to effective practices during the first year of implementation of a particular program. While not significant in this study, variation in teacher characteristics may be important.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Madueke, Nkechi A.

Texas Politics in Citizenship Education: a Critical Discourse Analysis of the Texas Government Curriculum

Description: This study used a critical discourse analysis (CDA) to examine the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for government. These are the learning standards that public schools are required to use as the curriculum in Texas. Additionally, the study critically examined the Texas State Board of Education meeting minutes from the spring of 2010, when the board revised all social studies TEKS. James Gee’s framework for conducting CDA was used to analyze the government TEKS and meeting minutes to uncover the ways in which the language in the documents defines democratic and citizenship education in Texas, determine if the language creates an imbalance of power among participants in education, and do these documents agree with educational philosophers’ construct of citizenship and democratic education? The results of the CDA concluded that the Texas learning standards, and the words of many SBOE members reveal a preference toward right-wing, conservative beliefs. The construct of citizenship and democratic education created by the Texas government TEKS and SBOE meeting minutes contradicts these notions, as defined by educational theorists, and excludes those participants who do not embrace these beliefs.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Strunc, Abbie R.

Texas Principals’ Data Use: Its Relationship to Leadership Style and Student Achievement

Description: This study applies an empirical research method determine whether Texas public school principals’ leadership styles, coupled with their use of real time data in a data warehouse, influenced their leadership ability as measured by student achievement. In today’s world of data rich environments that require campuses and districts to make data-driven decisions, principals find themselves having to organize and categorize data to help their school boards, campuses, and citizenry make informed decisions. Most school principals in Texas have access to data in multiple forms including national and state resources and a multitude of other data reports. A random sample of principals was selected to take the Multi Factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ5x) and the Principals Data Use Survey. The MLQ5x measured principals’ leadership styles as transformational, transactional, or passive avoidant. The Principals Data Use Survey measured how principals use data to inform campus decisions on student achievement, shaping the vision of the campus, and designing professional development. Data obtained from the survey were correlated to determine the relationship between principals’ use of data warehouses and their leadership styles on student achievement as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. The results yielded significant relationships between student achievement, principals’ leadership styles, and the principals’ data use with a data warehouse. Student achievement scores were highly correlated with the campuses that participated in the study and provided limited differences between those with data warehouses and those without data warehouses.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Bostic, Robert E.