Perceptions of the campus principal: Values and purposes of education in a democracy

Christine A Althoff, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The insights of practitioners can provide valuable information about the applied purposes of education in American schools. Principals bring to their work personal values, beliefs, and attitudes as well as professional knowledge and skills. An understanding of how principals explain their beliefs about the democratic purposes of education, and how they interpret their responsibilities as campus leaders, would permit improved study of how school purposes and policies impact day-today practices. ^ Purpose of the study. The purpose of this study was to gain insights about the values perceived by campus principals as critical to, and supportive of, the purposes of education in a democracy. Three areas of inquiry provided the framework for this research: (1) To what extent do the values perceived by individual principals embrace core values identified in a national study on values as critical to the purposes of education in a democracy? (2) To what extent do the values perceived by individual principals embrace the values addressed in specific documents utilized to articulate standards which guide school improvement and determine the effectiveness of schools and their leaders? (3) How do the perceptions held by campus leaders about values and standards dovetail to support the purposes of public education in a democracy? ^ Research design, data collection, and analysis. The three areas of inquiry were explored in a two-part descriptive survey design. First, participants responded to a 16-item written survey in which they rank-ordered certain values pertinent to the overall purposes of the research. Next, an interview guide comprised of 24 items was used to explore themes embedded in the research framework during semi-structured, one-on-one interviews with each participant. Data were transcribed, analyzed, and reported in numerical and narrative terms. ^ Results of the study. The individuals surveyed may reflect the perceptions of principals in border communities in Texas at elementary, middle, and high school levels. Results indicated that there were core values about which campus leaders generally agreed. Principals in this study recognized mutually supportive purposes of values and standards as they relate to public education. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Althoff, Christine A, "Perceptions of the campus principal: Values and purposes of education in a democracy" (2000). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI9995865.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI9995865

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