Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Cooperating University

Western Kentucky University

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Wagner, Christopher R.

Author's Keywords

School-based decision-making; Council members; Kentucky; Minority; Distributive leadership


School-based management--Kentucky; Decision making


Shortly after the implementation of Kentucky's school-based decision-making councils, it became obvious that minorities were severely underrepresented on these councils. As a result, the Kentucky legislature enacted Section 160.352(3)(f) by which schools having 8% or more minority student population had to increase the school-based council membership to include a minority parent and/or teacher, elected by the parents or the teachers respectively, if no minority member was elected in the initial voting. Though the law required minority representation on these councils, very little research has been conducted regarding minority participation. This study investigated the perceptions of school council members regarding their efficacy of experiences and impact of their contributions to school policies, operations, and student achievement. Furthermore, differences between minority and non-minority school council members were explored. Data were collected by the researcher-designed SBDM Perceptions Survey Instrument (which also included the opportunity for respondents' comments) to address the following three overarching research questions: (1) Do council members perceive that actions of the council impact the school and its students? These opinions were identified based on responses to a series of efficacy-related items on the survey instrument. (2) Do council members perceive their participation on the council to be a positive experience as they interact with each other during deliberations and decision-making? These attitudes were obtained from responses provided on the series of experience-related items on the survey instrument. (3) Do minority council members sense that they are empowered and efficacious and do their perceptions differ significantly from the perceptions of non-minority council members? Differences between these two groups of respondents were examined statistically for all items on the survey instrument. Generally, council members agreed that school-based decision-making was advantageous for schools and students. Additionally, respondents generally indicated that their experiences as council members were positive. Statistically significant differences were found between minority and non-minority respondents in both the efficacy- and experience-related survey items. Recommendations for further study and policy implications were offered.