Race as an anthropological concept in social studies curriculum materials

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1972

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to conduct an analysis of the perceptions of superintendents, central-office staff, and principals within selected school districts throughout the State of Texas of the organizational climate within their districts. The rationale for the study emanated from one concept of contemporary administrative theory—organizations possess an internal environment that is similar to that of an individual's character or personality. Specifically, the study was designed to determine (1) if there were statistically significant differences among the perceptions of superintendents, central-office staff, and principals of the organizational climate in their districts; and (2) if certain district demographic factors are related to the perceptions of the organizational climate as perceived by these three administrative levels. This investigation utilized a schema devised by Rensis Likert for the categorization of organizational and administrative activities into a readily understandable and useable classification system. The items on the questionnaires tapped a range of organizational activities and processes, known as organizational constructs, which determine an organization's management style. The scoring was designed to provide a profile of answers for any group of participants such that there was a state of mutual dependence between seven organizational variables, the organizational constructs, and individual items. Data were collected by mail questionnaires from a statewide sample of U-SM- Texas public school districts. A Likert and Likert instrument, adapted for the present study, was utilized, with a separate form for each of the three participating groups. Utilized in this study were the completed questionnaires of 481 superintendents, 788 central-office staff, and 1,474 principals. The items were to be answered on two dimensions—now and past. All participants indicated how they perceived the items on the now dimension, and only the central-office staff and principals who had been employed in the same job for the last two years answered on the past dimension. In order to determine whether or not there were statistically significant differences among the three groups of school administrators and within each group according to the several hypotheses concerning district characteristics, an analysis of variance was used to study the multiple differences of means. There were significant differences in the perceived organizational climate associated with district characteristics of each dichotomy in accordance with the rationale of district size, financial effort, financial ability, and expenditure per ADA along the now dimension. Analysis of geographical locations of the Texas school districts yielded no patterns for interpretation. The perceptions by the three administrative levels of the organizational climate of the school districts were parallel when plotted along the seven major variables. The organizational constructs constituting each variable that were perceived as being significant by superintendents differed from those perceived as significant by central-office staff and principals. Superintendents were found, in general, to perceive the organizational climate as being more open than either the central-office staff or principals. Moreover, along the now and past dimensions, the data revealed that the central-office staff perceived the climate as more open than the principals. Hence, perceived openness was interpreted as a function of increasing level of placement in the structural hierarchy. Administrators in the largest districts had a tendency to perceive the organizational climate as more open than did either of the other two smaller size groups. Perceived openness was then interpreted as a concomitant of increasing numbers of pupils served by a district. The following conclusions were derived on the basis of results of testing the major null hypothesis and seven null sub-hypotheses. These demographic factors revealed that there is a significant difference in the way the three managerial levels--i.e., superintendent, principals, and other administrative staff—perceived the organizational climate of a school district. Therefore it can be concluded that the demographic variables of effort, size, geographic location, ability and expenditure per ADA are not related to the perceptions of the participants in a cause and effect manner. The breakdown of the data into the composite mean values for each of the major organizational variables and constructs constituting these variables revealed that each group perceived different constructs as being significant. However, this difference may not appear when a comparison is made between composite mean values of the organizational variables. Hence it can be concluded that each group of participants' perception of their organizational role caused them to view different constructs under the major variables as important factors contributing to their successful role behavior. In comparing the past and now dimensions of a school district's organizational climate as perceived by central-office staff and principals, the data revealed a movement toward congruency with the superintendent's perception of the district's organizational climate. These findings led to the conclusion that over a period of time the perception of the organizational climate by a subordinate will move toward the organizational climate as perceived by the executive officer. Based on these findings and conclusions three major recommendations were presented: (1) local districts need to focus attention on the improvement and expansion of the internal communication and decision-making network; (2) outside consultants should be utilized on a temporary basis to direct intervention programs of organizational and managerial development; and (3) further development is needed on the Likert and Likert instrument so that it will be more sensitive and discriminate to organizational and administrative activities of education.

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Keywords

Social sciences--Study and teaching, Race awareness

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