School Council Member Perceptions and Actual Practice of School Councils in Rural Schools

Thomas Pharis, Randall V. Bass, James L. Pate

Abstract


In a time of growing interest in accountability, sharing school governance with parents, teachers, the community, and business leaders has become a norm. School councils or advisory groups have become a requirement for schools in many states. This research examined school council members’ perceptions of issues addressed by the councils and council effectiveness in rural Georgia. Additionally, this research examined the relationship between council members’ perceptions of school council effectiveness among council member constituent groups and the difference between council members’ perceptions of issues addressed and actual issues addressed. The research identified factors school council members believed to be important for school council effectiveness. The data were gathered through a survey of school council members in the forty-one county Valdosta State University service  area. Actual issues addressed were obtained through a content analysis of school council minutes. Implications for educational practice in rural schools included a process of involving of a variety of constituents in policy making at the school level in an attempt to improve student academic performance and principals hold the key to council effectiveness.

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