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A framework for increasing school council potential to effect school improvement

Maureen L Cain, Johnson & Wales University


School-based management (SBM) is a popular educational reform strategy involving redistribution of decision-making authority from the district to the school site. It is most often implemented through a school council, consisting of some combination of principal, teachers, parents, students, and community. Although many goals are proposed, the ultimate goal is to improve schools and student performance through increased stakeholder involvement in decision-making. Studies show, however, that school councils fail to achieve important goals. Knowledge about how to improve school council involvement in decision-making is generally limited by the existing SBM/school council research and by the research being in a format that makes utilization impractical from an action research approach. The purpose of this study was test the utility of a proposed framework for assessing the potential effectiveness of school council involvement in decision-making. The research examined the relationship between the decision-making authority of school councils and organizational variables supportive of school council involvement in decision-making. Teachers on school councils and principals in 222 public high schools were surveyed. Factor analyses of survey responses revealed a need to make major changes in some factors hypothesized to represent the framework. Overall, respondents indicated that school councils had limited decision-making authority in most areas and that organizational variables were not in place to support school council involvement in four out of eight areas. Most of the correlations were weak but definitive patterns emerged. Implications of the research are identified for teachers and other school council members, policymakers and educational leaders at all levels, and researchers. The study makes contributions to theory and provides a framework for conducting action research and guiding decisions.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Cain, Maureen L, "A framework for increasing school council potential to effect school improvement" (1999). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI9941902.