A comparative study of attitudes of students, parents, educators, and business leaders toward selected concepts of career education



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Introduction and Statement of the Problem. A relatively new concept - career education - is envisioned as a.bold force for revitalizing American education. Career education has the potential for uniting the school, community, government, and business in the common goal of the American education system, facilitating the full development of each student for life and work. If career education is to be successful, the public it serves must possess the appropriate attitudes toward its concepts. Sufficient data do not exist on which to base decisions concerning comprehensive career education programs. The problem was to assess and describe existing current attitudes of the component factors of a viable career education program - students, parents, educators, and business leaders - in the Deer Park Independent School District of Deer Park, Texas. Purpose of the Study. This study, descriptive in design and exploratory in nature, was designed to determine the attitudes of students, parents, educators, and business leaders in the Deer Park Independent School District toward selected concepts of career education. This assessment would provide data for career education program planning. Need for the Study. The primary need for this study was based on the fact that a review of the relevant literature revealed that a systematic investigation of the attitudes of these four component groups - students, parents, educators, and business leaders - toward the work concepts of career education had not been conducted. This study would provide direction to school administrators, teachers, and curriculum planners in developmental efforts at the local, regional, and state levels. Procedures. Based on the Wilkerson study instrument, thirty-eight positive and negative statements, a new instrument was developed and validated in a pilot study. The pilot study instrument was refined to twenty-three positive and negative statements, representative of nineteen selected career education concepts. The study instrument was used with all four groups. Responses were defined on a Likert-type scale from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, with each defined level of the five point scale being assigned a letter, which was interpreted as a number for purposes of analyzing the data. The raw data were transferred to computer sheets to be read into the computer in the negative format A Strongly Agree = 1, B Mildly Agree = 2, C Undecided = 3, D Mildly Disagree = 4, E Strongly Disagree = 5. The positive statements data were then reversed. The data were analyzed by the computer, using the Statistical Package for Social Studies (SPSS). No demographic data were requested. The statistical methodology and procedure utilized included: (1) a means, standard deviation, and Pearson Correlation Coefficient of each statement for each of the four subgroups and the total group, (2) one-way analysis of variance for all four subgroups and the group total, and (3) in cases m which the F-ratio was statistically significant at the .05 level of confidence, the Scheffe test of multiple comparisons was computed to determine the nature of the significance. Conclusions. A return of 84 per cent of the surveys permitted the analysis of a sample (N=1350) sufficiently large to permit generalizations. Statistical analysis was utilized to provide these conclusions: 1. The general implication was that the Deer Park Independent School District population shared a strong desire to see the concept of career education implemented in the school system. A definitive list of key concepts that is acceptable to all has not been developed and perhaps never will be. 2. The professional climate of the educator group for career education was even more positive than the student, parent, or business climates. Recommendations. The following recommendations were made on the basis of the research:and the findings: 1. School districts would be wise to replicate this study, introducing demographic data. Each school district will have to shape its career education program in some degree to fit the interests and needs of its unique community and the abilities of its staff. 2. A full time curriculum director should be used to coordinate the regular academic program with that of career education utilizing existing personnel and physical facilities. 3. An advisory committee of parents and business men should be organized to provide input into program development. 4. All teacher training institutions should include in their curriculum extensive information about career education. A minimum of one career education course should be required for all certification at all levels.