The impact of mandated school board training on school board members' perceptions of their governance role in the State of Missouri
Locally elected school board members have long played a vital role in America's public education system. Approximately 25% of the people elected to local school boards each year are first-term board members. Signed into law in 1993, Missouri's Outstanding Schools Act mandates sixteen hours of training for newly elected school board members to be completed within their first year of service.
This study examined the effect that state-mandated training for school board members has on their perceptions of their governance role in the State of Missouri. Specifically, this study looked at these perceptions in the areas of Board Operations, Board Relationships, School Law, Goal Setting, and Policy.
Data were collected using two survey instruments, one qualitative and one quantitative, developed for this study. The population was all 590 Missouri school board members elected for the first time in 2002. There were 321 school board members who responded to the survey resulting in a return rate of 54%. Data were analyzed by the application of descriptive statistics and comparison of means for the responses of board members who had attended the 16 hours of mandated training and those who had not. Within the group that received training, the data were analyzed using a series of one-way analyses of variance with statistical significance or lack thereof generated. The qualitative responses provided further evidence and gave meaning to the numbers.
There was a statistically significant difference between the perceptions of those school board members who had attended training and those who had not regarding their governance role. Looking further, within the group that received training there were statistically significant differences based on various demographics.
Numerous recommendations for further study are included in the study. The information provided by the study will be of value to policymakers as policies are formulated to guide future school board training efforts. This study will also be of use to providers of school board training programs as they develop the content, delivery, and assessment of the training.