Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher Education Administration EdD

First Advisor

Bernard M. Lall

Second Advisor

Lyndon G. Furst

Third Advisor

Reger Smith


Problem. There were two main purposes associated with this study. The first purpose was to develop a demographic profile giving a number of personal characteristics of the citizens who serve as school board members. There was a two-way cross-analysis made of many of the personal characteristics to determine any significant relationship. The second purpose was to determine how Michigan school board members rank eighteen current educational concerns. A two-way cross-analysis was made between the ranking given by various sub-groups of board members (example: the ranking of the concerns by males and females) to determine if there was a significant relationship between the ranking given by each sub-group. School board members have characteristics. Which characteristics are most dominant? Do school board members with certain characteristics rank educational concerns in a similar manner? Are personal characteristics significantly important in determining how school board members will rank educational concerns? These questions were investigated in this study.

Data Collection, Methods and Procedure. Data were collected by means of a mailed questionnaire from a sample of 351 school board members. The sample was selected by a random method from a total population of approximately 4,250 board members. Replies were received from 315 or approximately 90 percent of the total sample members. The survey was completed during April and May 1979. The data were tabulated, analyzed, and tested by use of the computer using several statistical procedures and tests.

Major Findings. The composition of Michigan school board members did not appear to represent a cross section of the general population of the state. Board members appeared to be better educated, had a higher-than-average annual household income, were more dominantly employed in management-oriented positions and were more conservative on political issues than the general population. Seventy-five percent of the members were males and only 4 percent were Non- Caucasian in a state that in 1975-76 had an 18 percent minority school population. Sixty-five percent of the school board members, when asked to choose one of two points of view indicating how they reached decisions , indicated that they voted on the basis of their own convictions rather than on what they perceived their constituency as wanting. They thus indicated a "trustee-type" position. However, there did not appear to be any significant relationship between the "trustee-type" position and any personal characteristics of the board members, nor in the manner in which the board members ranked the eighteen current educational concerns. Michigan school board members did rank the eighteen current educational concerns significantly different than did the general population as revealed in the 1978 Gallup Poll. The highest educational concern of Michigan school board members was "integration/busing." This was the fourth highest concern in the Gallup Poll.

Conclusions. While Michigan school board members are elected in a non-partisan, democratic manner, they do not appear to represent a cross-section of the electors nor of the school age children Iti the school they serve. While it might seem that board members with certain personal characteristics will view educational concerns in a distinct manner, this study does not indicate this to be true. When various sub-groups of board members ranked the eighteen educational concerns there was little significant statistical difference. Also, it does not appear that the delegate-type or the trustee-type board members rank educational concerns in a significantly different manner, thus leading to the conclusion that this classification of board members is not a significant indicator in how they will vote on specific issues.

Subject Area

School boards--Michigan, Education--Michigan.


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