The effect of superintendent representational style on black and Hispanic student preparation for college



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Texas A&M University


There are two main portions to this study. In the first portion (Chapters I-III) we identify policies, procedures, programs, and pedagogical practices in public school districts in Texas that increase levels of college preparation among black and Hispanic students across a range of educational settings (rural, suburban, and urban). We identify these practices by interviewing school administrators at twenty-two school districts throughout the state. The school districts were selected by using education production function models to identify the highest and lowest performing school districts on a variety of college preparation measures. The first portion of the study is largely descriptive and qualitative in orientation. In the second portion of the study we identify high college preparation levels among minority students as a positive externality. Because college attendance benefits students as individuals, regardless of the beneficial aspects of college attendance for society at large, students, parents, and others will request that school districts increase college preparation levels to some degree. However, given the nature of positive externalities, we explore the possibility that the reason why some school districts have higher college preparation levels among minority students than others is that they are led by an official policy-maker (the superintendent) who is committed to acting in the long-term interests of society (in other words, whose representational style is to act as a trustee). The second portion attempts to extend the causal chain back one link by exploring the possibility that superintendent representational style affects the types of policies, procedures, programs and pedagogical practices adopted and the district??s commitment to implementing them, which in turn affects college preparation levels among minority students. The relationship between superintendent representational style and minority student preparation for college is tested using two data sources: a survey of public school superintendents throughout Texas gathered by the Texas Educational Excellence Project and college preparation measures gathered by the Texas Education Agency for all public schools in Texas.