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In some educational systems, legislative action mandates teacher participation in decision making through the formation of policymaking bodies such as school councils. This paper presents findings of a study that investigated high school teachers' perceptions of empowerment in schools with and without school councils. The study investigated Kentucky high school teachers' perceptions of some dimensions of empowerment at various stages of school-council implementation. The Kentucky Education Reform Act mandated that schools could initiate school-based decision making, and that all schools would have councils in place by 1996. Data were gathered through a survey that elicited responses from teachers in 93 out of 120 schools, an almost 80 percent response rate. Teachers' years of experience with councils served as the independent variable and six School Participation Empowerment Scale (SPES) subscales--decision making, status, professional growth, self-efficacy, autonomy, and impact--were the dependent variables. Teachers in schools with councils (1, 2, or 3 years) reported more involvement in decision making than did teachers in schools without councils. However, there were no significant differences for the remaining five dependent variables. The data have two implications: (1) Policymakers may be able to mandate a flattening of district systems with the intent to empower teachers; however, teachers may continue to perceive their role as carrying out orders; and (2) Teachers need to be motivated to contribute to the collective school effort. Five tables are included. (Contains 43 references.) (LMI)

Descriptors: Advisory Committees, Governance, Multiple Regression Analysis, Participative Decision Making, Professional Autonomy, School Based Management, Secondary Education, Secondary School Teachers, State Legislation, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Empowerment

Autor: Wall, Russell; Rinehart, James S.


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