Term of Award

Fall 2005

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

James F. Burnham

Committee Member 1

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 2

Catherine Wooddy

Committee Member 3

Paulette Harris

Abstract

This study was conducted to identify Georgia high school principals' perceptions of student diversity. The student demographics of many Georgia school districts and schools are changing rapidly, while some school districts and schools have not experienced much, if any, demographic change. As a result, it is important for principals to be aware of what other principals perceive as advantages and disadvantages, the types of policies/programs that impact principals in regard to student diversity as well as to be familiar with artifactual evidence that may represent an appreciation or awareness of student diversity. The data displayed in this study was gathered through the use of qualitative methodology. The primary instrument used for this investigation consisted of in-depth interview questions and a participant observer perspective used to gather evidence. In the actual transcripts of the respondents, the data recognized preparing students for the real world as the primary advantage of student diversity and, according to respondents, the primary disadvantage was the problem between homogeneous groups that lead to problems between heterogenous groups. The appreciation or awareness of student diversity was documented through the use of reviewing relevant school and district documentation as well as the taking of photographs at each school. This investigation found that all participants knew and documented the federal laws in regard to equal opportunity; however, the researcher did document, by way of digital photographs, an awareness or appreciation for diversity that showed little effort was being made to address student diversity in the respondents' schools. The results of this study were viewed as being particularly important to other high school principals as well as policy makers.

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