Term of Award

Spring 2008

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

Charles A. Reavis

Committee Member 1

Charles A. Reavis

Committee Member 2

Stephen Jenkins

Committee Member 3

Linda Arthur

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine Georgia superintendents' perceptions of both the possible causes of and proposed remedies for closing the Minority Achievement Gap (MAG). Using a survey instrument developed by the author, the perceptions of Georgia public school superintendents are explored. This study codifies this information so that it is available for consideration by all superintendents interested in becoming more effective leaders and in closing the MAG. As chief executive officers of school districts who play crucial roles in the education of Americas children, superintendents play a major role in addressing all aspects of the MAG, yet little research on their perceptions exists. Most empirical studies of the MAG do not reflect superintendents' voices. In particular, no research directly focuses on superintendents perceptions of the possible causes of and proposed remedies for closing the MAG. Superintendents are held accountable for the performance of their schools under NCLB, and they struggle to improve education and close the MAG; however, research studies addressing their perceptions that may help them achieve these goals are absent. Therefore, a need exists for a study to examine Georgia superintendents' perceptions of the possible causes of and proposed remedies for closing the MAG. Analysis of the survey responses shows that the superintendents view lack of parental involvement, peer pressure, low SES, and low teacher expectations as possible causes of the MAG. Likewise, they view increased parental involvement, better classroom instruction, preschool/early learning, increased teacher expectations, and higher SES as possible remedies for closing the MAG. However, the superintendents' responses do not lead to any conclusions about the extent of racial differences in their perceptions, and their responses point to no significant difference between genders on their perceptions. The significant findings from this study reveal that years of experience are associated with Georgia superintendents perceptions of two possible causes of the MAG, lack of parental involvement and low SES.

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