Term of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Paul Brinson

Committee Member 1

Stephen Jenkins

Committee Member 2

Samuel Hardy

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to identify the decision-making processes of legislators engaged in public policy regarding education in Georgia. The study used a qualitative design. The researcher used short surveys and in-depth semi-structured interviews to understand the decision-making processes utilized by Georgia legislators engaged in public policy regarding education.

Each of the eight participants chosen for the study was purposefully chosen based on factors including party affiliation, location of district, gender, race, and years of experience so that a diverse representation was achieved. Each participant was assured anonymity and was represented solely as a participant number.

Findings revealed that most legislators relied on common sense and their personal background experiences when making decisions on how to vote on policy matters related to education. Though research is often available from various sources, time constraints often inhibit the use of such research. Other variables that influenced voting strategies included fiscal impacts, unintended consequences, timing, and most influential, sponsorship of the bill. Party affiliation and lobbyists were not seen as major influences.

Colleges of education, professional organizations for educators, school districts, and school personnel should be interested in the results so as to inform educational leaders and teachers of the need to well inform senior level, high-ranking members of the legislature of matters relevant to educational policy. Clearly, understanding how legislators decide to vote enables impacted parties to better influence decision-making.

INDEX WORDS: Decision-making, Georgia Legislators, Dissertation.

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