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Career Paths to the Texas Public School Superintendency

Description: This study focused on the identification of career paths that led to the Texas public school superintendency, including an examination of career path differences associated with gender, ethnicity, and district type, and on the identification of the career path positions superintendents perceived as being the most beneficial in preparing them for the superintendency. Additionally, the study examined place-bound versus career-bound superintendents. The most common career path to the Texas public school superintendency was secondary teacher, secondary principal, and superintendent. Female administrators and administrators who worked in large districts were more likely to take the director route to the superintendency. Additionally, most major urban superintendents took the director route to the superintendency. Ethnicity was not a significant factor in determining the career path to the superintendency. A significant correlation did exist between educational attainment and the secondary teacher, secondary assistant principal, secondary principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent career path. A higher representation of superintendent respondents who held earned doctorates existed in that career path than in any of the other career path groups. While educational attainment was important in higher paying districts, most Texas superintendents did not hold doctorates. Few held doctorates from the most prestigious, nationally recognized universities.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Farmer, Tod Allen
Partner: UNT Libraries

The impact of alternative school intervention on subsequent student performance in the mainstream school environment.

Description: The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of alternative school intervention on subsequent student performance. The literature review examined the history and development of alternative schools, the legislation pertaining to alternative schools, and related studies. The population consisted of students placed in the discipline alternative education program (DAEP) of an alternative school located in a large suburban school district in north Texas. Students placed in DAEP in the spring semester of 2001 in grades 7, 8, 9, and 10 were included in the sample. Data on student success was gathered for the one semester prior to placement (pre-intervention) and for the two semesters after placement (post-intervention). Student success was measured in terms of course grade averages and attendance. The student sample was divided into the following subgroups: grade level, sex, ethnicity, and qualification for the school meal program. The students' grade averages were compared within the subgroups utilizing a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Tukey's post hoc comparison was utilized on the groups when ANOVA was found to be significant. The students' attendance was analyzed by comparing the proportion of days attended in each of the three semesters included in the study. A normal test of two independent means was conducted on the attendance proportions. The results of the study indicated the following significant findings (p <. 05): the eighth-grade students' grade averages were significantly lower in the second post-treatment semester, the 7th-grade students had lower attendance in the first post-treatment semester, the 8th-grade students had lower attendance in the second post-treatment semester, and the 10th-grade students had higher attendance in the first post-intervention semester. The female students' attendance was higher in both post-intervention semesters and significantly higher in the second. A discussion of the dropout rate for this group and recidivism to DAEP was included.
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Date: December 2003
Creator: Galloway, Cathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries

Women and the Superintendency: a Study of Texas Women Superintendents

Description: Education remains one of the most gender imbalanced fields, with disproportionately fewer women in higher levels of leadership. Women who reach leadership positions in education experience many triumphs and tribulations during their tenures as principals, assistant superintendents, and superintendents. The experiences of these women in their various administrative levels of leadership can provide important insight into the reasons for their success as women superintendents in Texas. This research has probed the career trajectory of nine women who have successfully attained and retained superintendencies in Texas to determine what career decisions have helped them and the challenges these women have faced in their positions. A qualitative research method, open-ended interviews, yielded several findings of what women considered important in proceeding from teaching through the various levels and ending in becoming superintendents. According to nine successful women superintendents in Texas, there are specific characteristics one can bring to the table that would really make a difference: Communication, collaboration, compassion, preparedness, hard work, and passion. All nine participants overcame challenges when climbing to the higher levels of leadership in education. These women have achieved success in the superintendency, and several factors appear to have played into the success of these women who have achieved in education’s top position.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Guajardo, Lesli Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Longitudinal Impact of Technology Immersion Through a One-to-One Mobile Technology Program on Reading and Math Performance in a Rural Title I Public School District

Description: In conjunction with the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot program (TIP), the State of Texas implemented a four-year annual evaluation called the Evaluation of the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot (eTxTiP). It focused on the technology immersion experience through one-to-one mobile technology of sixth grade students in 22 selected middle schools. Initial findings suggested academic growth, especially in math, increased rigor of student work, greater teacher collaboration, a more positive school environment, and transformation of instructional practices. This study focused on one of the original schools selected to participate in the TIP program, exploring the impact over time of one-to-one mobile technology on one group of students over an 8-year period beginning with their third grade year. The selected school’s demographic makeup reflected a large number of schools within the state, including its size, rural location and economically disadvantaged student population. Based on an interrupted time series design, state assessment data was analyzed using a piecewise growth model. The study revealed no statistically significant academic growth in reading and math performance among the participants.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Ice, Laura R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Does Instructional Delivery Method in an Elective Business Class Impact Student Achievement with Respect to Gender, Race and Socio-economic Status in a Selected Texas Public School District?

Description: The problem that guided this study was a socio-constructivist view of education via online learning. Based in the extant literature, a deficiency existed that directly correlated online learning closing the academic achievement gap between student populations. In other words, schools invested in technology; however, few empirical data sets existed that established a connection between technology integration and the academic achievement of different student groups. The purpose of this pooled regression analysis study was to determine whether the method of class instruction effected academic achievement gaps between three subpopulations based on gender, race, and SES. Specifically, this study examined whether gender, race, and SES could predict semester grades within and across traditional, blended, and online course instructional methods. The dependent variable for this study was student success in the form of an end-of-unit test grade designed to evaluate student understanding of the curriculum. The independent variables included student gender, ethnicity, and SES. Quantitative data were collected through an analysis of Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) data and student end-of-unit exam grades. The research suggests one combined interaction, [gender x race] in the traditional learning environment, is statistically significant while several independent interactions are significant. Those independent interactions are TAKS scores, gender, and Socio-economic status. According to the trends in this research, no significant differences exists in academic achievement between African American males and White males enrolled in traditional, blended or online classes. This non-significance is important. As suggested, when all other external factors, in this research, are held constant and the academic playing field is level, male students perform equally within the classroom, also, because no significant differences exists in academic achievement, the quality of instruction from well-trained, highly qualified educators can be an integral factor in closing the achievement gap between African American, low-SES male students.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Moore, Eldridge D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

School and Community Partnerships: Effect on At-risk Elementary Student Populations

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the current practices of school and community partnerships in five North Texas elementary schools. In addition, the study focused on the influence community partnerships have on at-risk students based on at-risk indicators data. The literature revealed that when schools, parents, and families work together, students tend to earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and enrolled in coursework beyond high school. The target population included approximately 350 administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals from five North Texas elementary schools. Also included were the respective partners from each of the five elementary schools. This research included online survey instrument and data were gathered and analyzed through a combination of statistical procedures and descriptive and inferential statistics. The results may provide other schools with a profile of school and community partnerships that can be implemented as a method to help their at-risk student populations. Findings included a descriptive analysis of factors that contributed to the success of community engagement efforts as well as those factors that limited those efforts. A secondary purpose of this study was of continuous improvement in developing these approaches through a goal-setting approach. Schools included in the study provided a next steps plan by describing their major goal(s) for improving existing school and community partnerships over the next 3 years.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Tucker, Linda Cavazos
Partner: UNT Libraries

Efficacy in Texas Charter Schools Compared to Traditional Public Schools

Description: The need to spur innovation and improve student performance initiated the formation of, under different legislative acts, charter schools that include variations of traditional public schools. With the enthusiasm and level of investment going into the formation of charter schools, it is necessary to explore whether these schools have achieved their objectives. This study explored whether Texas open enrollment charter schools perform bettered compared to Texas public schools. The study applied a causal comparative quantitative research design. School data on graduation and dropout rates, college preparation, attendance rates, and overall performance were analyzed quantitatively. Student achievement data available for statistical analysis includes student performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) state assessment from 2007 to 2011. Data analysis for race, special programs, at risk, economically disadvantaged, and limited English proficiency was incorporated. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance techniques were included in the data analysis. The analysis extended to post hoc tests to determine variables that caused variation. The study found Texas open-enrollment charter schools had more African American students but fewer Whites compared to public schools. Students in public schools performed better than those in charter schools, and Whites yielded the best performance. Charter schools had high dropout rates, low attendance, and low graduation rates, while public schools had low dropout rates, high attendance, and high graduation rates. Finally, public schools had more students ready for college than charter schools.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Keller, Karlyn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Adequacy and Equity: How the Texas Supreme Court's Perceptions Have Changed Over the Past 50 Years

Description: The purpose of this study identifies state court cases involving public school finance specifically related to adequacy and equity in funding. Results address how state court cases have challenged the constitutionality of school finance in the United States, including Texas, over the last 50 years. The study further shows how the decisions from previous cases have influenced the Supreme Court of Texas decision in the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness litigation.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Ford, Daniel William
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Pre-Kindergarten on Spanish-Speaking Bilingual Students Taking the Third Grade TAKS Reading Test

Description: The purpose of this dissertation is to provide research and data examining the impact of pre-kindergarten on Spanish-speaking ESL students on the third grade TAKS Reading test scores. The two questions that guided this study are: (1) As measured by the third grade TAKS reading test, what is the relationship between those limited english proficient (LEP) Spanish-speaking children who attended a pre-kindergarten program and those who did not attend a pre-kindergarten program? and (2) As measured by the third grade TAKS Reading test, how do the test scores of those LEP Spanish-speaking third graders who attended the district's pre-k program in 2000-2001 and testing in 2005, differ from those who attended the district's pre-k program in 2001-2002 and testing in 2006? The research study used a quantitative methodology designed as causal-comparative analysis. Independent t-tests were used to determine if there were any significant differences in test scores of third graders between the two groups of students. Although the results of the statistical analysis revealed some isolated statistically significant differences between those Spanish-speaking bilingual students who attended pre-kindergarten and those who did not, the data showed no real differences in the test scores of those students.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Ringhauser, John T.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Texas Public School Principals' Application of Procedures in Identification and Prevention of Sexual Harassment

Description: The procedural survey on sexual harassment procedures sent to 300 Texas principals had a response rate of 48.3 %. The mean score on the procedural survey for all 300 principals was 69.30 %. Eighteen research questions were addressed in detail in Chapter 4. Only five showed a significant correlation or effect size. Question 5 asked if there was a correlation between gender and the mean score of the survey instrument regarding sexual harassment procedures. The mean score of women was significantly higher than men. Question 6 asked if there was a correlation between the number of students in a school and the mean score of the survey instrument regarding sexual harassment procedures. This revealed that a significant correlation appeared between principals who worked at larger schools. Question 10 asked if there was a correlation between the location of the school, whether rural, urban, or metroplex and the mean score of the survey instrument. Principals of urban and metroplex schools scored significantly higher. Question 13 asked if there was a correlation between the hours of sexual harassment training attended in the last year and the mean score of the survey instrument regarding sexual harassment procedures. The results of this analysis revealed that a correlation approaching a medium effect size of .237 was present. Question 18 asked if there was a correlation between the total number of hours a principal had attended training and the mean score of the survey instrument. Neither the Pearson's correlation or the Spearman's rho was statistically significant. However, due to the large variation in responses on the sum of hours of training about sexual harassment, it was suspected that there might be a covariate accounting for sub-populations within the principals who participated in the survey. For ages 30-43.5, as the number of total training hours increased, the ...
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Date: May 2002
Creator: Cramer, Conita K. Markel
Partner: UNT Libraries

The school reform movement and high stakes standardized testing: An analysis of factors impacting the academic outcomes of students receiving special education services.

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate special education outcomes in relation to state standardized testing. It specifically sought to determine if a relationship existed between selected data from the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) comparing district students receiving special education services TAAS scores with selected district demographic, fiscal, and special education data. The population for this study consisted of all 2001-2002 grades 3-8 and 10 public school students with the exception of charter schools, special-purpose statutory districts, and state-administered districts. The reading analysis incorporated data from 896 Texas school districts. The mathematics analysis used data from 914 school districts. Multiple linear hierarchical regression was chosen as the method for statistical analysis. Data was obtained from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as a special data pull. For both the reading and mathematics analyses, wealth and ethnicity were statistically insignificant although ethnicity individually accounted for a large percentage of the variance for both the reading (20.3%) and mathematics (13.2%) scores as well as producing negative β weights. All other predictor variables produced varying degrees of statistical significance. Community type, socioeconomic status, instructional expenditures per students, and instructional expenditures per student receiving special education services also produced negative β weights. Two variables in this study, enrollment and the percentage of students receiving special education services tested, produced positive β weights, substantial squared structure coefficients, and positive Pearson correlation coefficients. Of these two predictors, the strongest overall positive predictor for students receiving special education services success on the grades 3-8 and 10 reading and mathematics TAAS exams was the percentage of students receiving special education services tested. These percentages produced the largest positive correlations with passing rates (reading r = .283, mathematics r = .219) and the second largest regression coefficients (reading β = .224, mathematics β = .202). They individually ...
Date: May 2005
Creator: Roach, Robert G.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The implementation of international education in colleges and universities in the state of Texas: A follow-up study.

Description: This study is a follow-up to a study completed by Dr. Thomas Barker in 1994 entitled The Status of the Implementation of International Education in Texas Four-year Colleges and Universities: A Comprehensive Study. A survey of 35 Texas universities and 6 out-of-state benchmark universities revealed information regarding the international programs at these universities in four areas. The four areas surveyed include: (a) administrative, (b) instructional, (c) international student support services, and (d) outreach. A summary of the survey results includes 34 tables detailing the university responses for the 2004 survey compared with the responses obtained from the original, Barker (1994). The results from the 2004 participating benchmark institutions were also reviewed. Texas universities continue to work toward the internationalization of the curriculum with increased numbers supporting an international focus in their mission statements and staffing patterns. Benchmark institutions continue to lead Texas institutions in a majority of areas surveyed. Funding for international education continues to be an issue for both the benchmark and Texas institutions. Changes in attitudes and immigration policies continue to affect the implementation of international programs on the university level. While universities continue to provide support to community and businesses in the area of international education, the extent of this support has decreased in the ten years since the Barker (1994) survey.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Hodges, Sarah
Partner: UNT Libraries

Government Funding and Regulation of a Texas Voucher Program

Description: This study was designed to determine how willing private schools are to participate in a limited school voucher program if various state regulations are required and whether willingness to participate varies among types of schools. Provisions of voucher bills proposed in the Texas legislature and requirements included in other states' legislation were used to determine the sample, hypothetical voucher amount, and possible state regulations. Three hundred eighteen surveys were sent, and 150 were returned, giving a 47% return rate. Data were entered into SPSS and analyzed using chi-square and crosstabs. Initially chi square was used to see if findings were significant at the .0041 level. This alpha level was reached by using the Bonferroni correction factor, which holds experiment wise Type I error to .05. Crosstabs was used to determine if relationships between regulation acceptance and type of schools were significant. Overall, as the amount of regulation increased, private school willingness to participate in a voucher program decreased. The regulations rejected by a large majority of schools in all categories were open admissions and student religious exemptions. In the areas of testing, curriculum, and teacher qualifications, private schools were much more willing to participate if they were allowed to utilize their own practices than if required to follow regulations required of Texas public schools. These findings were significant. When analyzing what type of school would be most interested in participating in a voucher program, the factor that yielded the most significant results was amount of yearly tuition. Private school willingness to participate in a voucher program was directly related to the amount of tuition charged. Those private schools with tuitions that were at or below the hypothetical voucher amount were much more likely to participate than those with higher tuition. Overall, significant results were shown with almost every regulation.
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Date: August 2005
Creator: Morgan, Lisa Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teacher Turnover among Teachers of Students with Emotional and Behavior Disorders

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate factors that compel teachers of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) to quit or stay in their job. Invitations to participate in the study were sent to a sample of educators from each the four census regions of the United States who currently work or have worked in the past worked with students with E/BD and have participated in one or more of the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD) professional development events. A total of 156 educators responded to the online survey and 9 participated in the focus groups. Quantitative information generated from the survey was analyzed using frequency distributions and ANOVA, whereas, qualitative information were analyzed by summarizing and sorting information into different categories. The results were presented in narrative and tabular form and organized in response to each of the research questions. The projected high teacher turnover as depicted in the findings, were mainly attributed to workplace variables and classroom conditions. Both variables are likely to be associated with high levels of dissatisfaction and lack of commitment eventually leading to decisions by teachers of students with E/BD to leave their job. Most respondents perceived themselves as being adequately prepared for responsibilities associated with teaching students with E/BD. The low variances associated with the grouping variable, career decisions did not explain a significant amount of variance in perceived levels of preparedness with regards to implementation of various program components and instructional activities. Hence, teacher qualifications and perceptions did not play a significant role in career decisions made by teachers of students with E/BD. In addition, findings reveal the need for all future teachers regardless of their certification to take specialized courses in special education to ensure that all teachers understand the unique characteristics and needs of students with ...
Date: December 2007
Creator: Adera, Beatrice Atieno
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Growth Rates in Academic Achievement.

Description: The purpose of the study was to examine the differences in academic growth rates as demonstrated on the TAKS test among students based on those who received free lunches, those who received reduced-price lunches, and those not economically disadvantaged. Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for reading and mathematics scale scores were obtained from five Texas public school districts for students who were in 3rd grade in 2003, 4th grade in 2004, 5th grade in 2005, and 6th grade in 2006. The sample included almost 10,000 students. The data were analyzed using SPSS and HLM. SPSS was used to identify descriptive statistics. Due to the nested nature of the data, HLM was used to compare data on three levels- the test level, student level, and district level. Not economically disadvantaged students scored the highest on both TAKS reading and mathematics exams with a mean scale score of 2357 and 2316 respectively in 2003. Compared to the not economically disadvantaged students, students receiving reduce-priced lunches scored approximately 100 points lower, and lowest were the students receiving free lunches, scoring another 50 points below students receiving reduced-price lunches. The results revealed that while gaps in achievement exist between SES levels, little difference exists in the growth rates of the SES subgroups. The results of this study support the need for continued effort to decrease the gap between students who are not economically disadvantaged and those receiving free or reduced-price meals.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Chow, Priscilla En-Yi
Partner: UNT Libraries

Meta-Analysis of Reading Interventions for Students with Learning and Emotional Disabilities

Description: Developing effective literacy skill has become an increasingly critical skill in today's information age. Students with emotional/behavioral disorders (E/BD) routinely lack these skills and are not being taught how to read effectively. The field of special education needs more comprehensive and specific information about how to most effectively teach reading skills to students with E/BD. When reading interventions are conducted using student with E/BD, the interventions are generally drawn from the LD field. The assumption is that the reading interventions that have worked with students with LD will work equally well with the E/BD population. This study performed a meta-analysis to examine whether reading interventions are equally effective on the E/BD and LD populations. In addition, it will examine whether the instruction mode (e. g., peer, self, or teacher directed), gender, or grade group affects the success of the intervention. The meta-analysis found that the reading interventions for both disability groups had high effect sizes. In addition, neither disability group, teaching method, gender, nor grades were predictive of the variance in the effect size. These results indicate that reading programs that have been designed for students with LD are also effective for students with E/BD and furthermore, reading programs can improve the academic achievement of students with behavioral disorders. Recommendations for teacher training and future research are given based on these results.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Jones, Francesca
Partner: UNT Libraries

A comparison of traditional and IRT factor analysis.

Description: This study investigated the item parameter recovery of two methods of factor analysis. The methods researched were a traditional factor analysis of tetrachoric correlation coefficients and an IRT approach to factor analysis which utilizes marginal maximum likelihood estimation using an EM algorithm (MMLE-EM). Dichotomous item response data was generated under the 2-parameter normal ogive model (2PNOM) using PARDSIM software. Examinee abilities were sampled from both the standard normal and uniform distributions. True item discrimination, a, was normal with a mean of .75 and a standard deviation of .10. True b, item difficulty, was specified as uniform [-2, 2]. The two distributions of abilities were completely crossed with three test lengths (n= 30, 60, and 100) and three sample sizes (N = 50, 500, and 1000). Each of the 18 conditions was replicated 5 times, resulting in 90 datasets. PRELIS software was used to conduct a traditional factor analysis on the tetrachoric correlations. The IRT approach to factor analysis was conducted using BILOG 3 software. Parameter recovery was evaluated in terms of root mean square error, average signed bias, and Pearson correlations between estimated and true item parameters. ANOVAs were conducted to identify systematic differences in error indices. Based on many of the indices, it appears the IRT approach to factor analysis recovers item parameters better than the traditional approach studied. Future research should compare other methods of factor analysis to MMLE-EM under various non-normal distributions of abilities.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Kay, Cheryl Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

Characteristics of Successful Texas Schools Which Predict Components of an Adequate Education.

Description: The purpose of this study was to identify high performing school districts in Texas and to determine if there are different characteristics leading to the provision of an adequate education in high performing districts as compared to low performing districts. It specifically sought to determine which characteristics contributed most to an adequate education and used data from the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) which chronicled scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS). The population for this study consisted of all 2001-2002 Texas public school districts with the exception of charter schools, special-purpose statutory districts, and state-administered districts, which resulted in using data from 1027 Texas school districts. Descriptive discriminant analysis was chosen as the method for statistical analysis. Data were obtained from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Adequate and inadequate districts were analyzed according to eight variables. They were (1) taxable value per pupil, (2) the percentage of special education students, (3) the percentage of students coded as bilingual and ESL, (4) pupil-teacher ratio, (5) the size of the district, (6) the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in the district, (7) the district community type, such as rural or suburban, and (8) the total operating expenditures per pupil. Two analyses were conducted. The first analysis sought to determine the different characteristics between adequate districts (districts that scored 80% or above on the TAAS test) and inadequate districts (districts that scored 79% or below on the TAAS test). In order to determine these differences with a higher standard for adequacy, a second analysis was performed. The second analysis focused on districts deemed adequate by scoring 90% or above on the TAAS test compared to those districts deemed inadequate by scoring 69% and below. The eight variables accounted for 21% and 37% of the variance between groups respectively. For ...
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Date: December 2005
Creator: Ryan, Robin S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Lease Purchase Financing: The Processes and Impact on New School Construction in Texas

Description: The purpose of this study was to review and explore the concept of lease purchase financing for the construction of new facilities in Texas. It sought to determine the impact of lease purchase financing and the characteristics of those districts that have utilized lease purchase financing for the purpose of new school construction. A two pronged approach was used for the study, both quantitative and qualitative. The study examined all school districts that utilized lease purchasing and examined various traits of the districts. Data was acquired from the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Bond Review Board. The qualitative portion of the study included interviews with superintendents of nine different Texas school districts that have utilized lease purchase financing. The study concluded that lease purchase districts were generally small school districts that were property poor and have high property tax rates. The study also concluded that the major reason for districts to use lease purchase financing was to avoid having to hold an election in order to gain approval for the sale of traditional general obligation bonds. Another factor identified was the availability of state funds through the state Instructional Facility Allotment. The study also concluded that while districts sought to provide better programs for their students through better facilities, that students actually suffer due to instructional funds being used for the payment of long term debt.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Mohundro, William Randolph
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Federal Judiciary and Establishment Clause Jurisprudence: Application of the Lemon Test since Mitchell v. Helms

Description: The issue of religion and its place in society has been a topic of controversy and debate since long before the creation of our constitutional republic. The relationship between religion and government has witnessed some of its most intense conflicts when the governmental entity in question involves public education. As our country moved into the 20th century, legal challenges in the field of public education began to emerge calling into question the constitutionality of various policies and practices at both the state and local levels. This dissertation examined the legal methodology that was initially developed and then subsequently modified as the judicial branch has interpreted how the Establishment Clause delineates the relationship between religion and public education. Because the United States Supreme Court has not overturned its decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman, the tri-partite test it established still remains the law of the land. Subsequent decisions by the Court leading up to their ruling in Mitchell v. Helms, however, have continued to modify the judiciary's approach toward the use of the Lemon test in Establishment Clause jurisprudence. This research analyzed the decisions of the various federal courts subsequent to the ruling issued in Mitchell to discern both the present position of the federal judiciary as it relates to the continued validity of Lemon and theorizes how the future course of any Establishment Clause legal challenges may ultimately be resolved by the federal courts. The analysis suggested that, while the Supreme Court has avoided Lemon's three-part test as the standard for evaluating Establishment Clause claims, the lower courts continue to place a strong emphasis on the importance of the test established in Lemon as the basis for how they render their decisions with issues that involve public education. This data indicated that Lemon continues to be an important tool for determining ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Sanders, Russell Scott
Partner: UNT Libraries

Actions Taken by Texas School Districts to Prevent Fraud

Description: This research is a descriptive analysis answering the question, what measures are currently taken by the leadership&#8213;boards of trustees and superintendents of schools&#8213;of Texas school districts to prevent embezzlement? The research perspective utilized was quantitative with a descriptive, cross-sectional design. Data collection was accomplished through a survey with questions constructed from the most commonly recommended strategies discovered through the review of literature. The survey was distributed to the 1031 superintendents of school districts in Texas via email. The response rate was 33% or 339 returned surveys. The data set created concentrates on the four most common preventive measures: policy and procedure, management, auditing, and ethics. These measures are considered as they function to interrupt the principles of the fraud triangle. Comparisons were completed regarding region, district size, superintendent tenure and superintendent experience. Policy adoption was found to be extremely widespread. Procedures written to fully implement policy were less prevalent. Review of management practices found problems concerning credit cards, personnel evaluations, and password access to multiple computer finance recordkeeping systems concentrated in one employee. External auditing programs were universal due to statutory mandate but internal auditors and internal audit committees were few. Ethics training for business office personnel existed but with little consistent application across districts. The adoption of a code of ethics for business office personnel was rare. Recommendations made were that school leaders should be educated concerning appropriate actions in the common prevention areas. They need an to understand the importance of internal auditing, know the language in local policy, and they need to write procedures.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Taylor, Gordon Douglas
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teachers' Perspectives on Student Problematic Behavior and Social Skills

Description: The research investigation reported herein examined program outcomes of student problem behavior and social skills, based on teachers' perspectives, before and after early behavioral intervention services. The study targets students in kindergarten through grade five who are identified by the school system for being at-risk for being labeled with emotional and behavioral disorders. Students identified received early intervention services based on individualized positive behavioral supports (i.e., social skills training, functional behavioral assessment, and team collaboration). Teachers completed a teacher form of the Social Skills Rating System before and after the student received program services to determine differences in social skills and problematic behavior pre- and post- program early intervention services. An analysis was also made of the differences among gender, ethnicity, and grade according to the teachers' perspectives. Data indicated statistically significant results in the area of social skills and problem behavior. The results indicate early intervention services that teach social skills and use functional behavioral assessments to deal with problem behavior are beneficial to children displaying behavior challenges.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Riney, Summer Sides
Partner: UNT Libraries

School Governance and Student Achievement: Revealing Factors Beyond the McCarty-Ramsey Model

Description: The purpose of this study was to identify and investigate the specific superintendent leadership type and underlying factors that support significant student achievement gains in communities where misalignment with the McCarty-Ramsey model exists. Utilizing a mixedmethod research strategy, contributing school districts were identified through a survey developed by McCarty and Ramsey. This survey indicated that districts could show positive student achievement gains while exhibiting misalignment among these factors. While all four types of superintendent leadership style were revealed in the survey, a prevalent superintendent leadership types was associated with the misaligned districts showing significant academic growth. This study indicated the professional advisor or the professional advisor/decision maker superintendent had the greatest achievement results in misaligned districts. The second investigation phase involved school districts that met two criteria: misalignment with the McCarty-Ramsey model, and three years of significant student achievement gains, as measured by the California Academic Performance Indicator. Interviews were conducted with identified school board presidents and superintendents to reveal practices or initiatives promoting these results. The interview protocol consisted of a series of open-ended questions regarding effective leadership and programs. The second finding revealed the effective superintendent focuses efforts on five specific district leadership actions identified by researchers such as Waters and Marzano. More specifically, this study revealed two practices were present in top performing school districts. First, a narrow focus on non-negotiable instructional practices across the district, and frequent monitoring by the superintendent, site and district leadership teams including follow - up debriefings regarding implementation of district expectations. These findings have significance in districts dealing with challenges among the community power structures, board types or superintendent leadership. This research shows that regardless of the political challenges, budgetary issues, or relationship chaos that might exist in the district and community, the professional advisor superintendent who has established clear district ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Kemp, Stella Maria
Partner: UNT Libraries