Date of Award

Fall 10-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Second Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Third Advisor

Dr. John Long

Abstract

The role of politicians is integral within the public school system. Politician influence directly the policies that impact student achievement. The impact could be based on ideologies. These ideologies could influence a significant difference in Black student achievement. In preparing for this study, the researcher was unable to find investigations of the potential influence political affiliations of state and local officials may have on student achievement, and specifically on Black student achievement. This exploratory, correlational study analyzed the potential relationship between political party affiliation and student achievement of fourth and eighth grade students in the areas of mathematics and reading, located in the large cities of Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, District of Columbia, Hillsborough County, Jefferson County, and Milwaukee. The large urban areas were chosen to allow a diversity of ethnicity among the secondary achievement data analyzed. The purpose was to investigate the potential relationships of political party affiliations for the state and local offices of Governor, Speaker of the House, and Mayor/City Planner to student achievement of Black students in comparison to other ethnicities in large metropolitan school districts in United States. Following analysis of secondary mathematics and reading data generated by the NAEP assessments for the years 2007 through 2015, the study did not find a statistically significant relationship between political party affiliations of those politicians who influence local educational policy and student achievement. The research did establish, once again, that the United States does still generate evidence of an achievement gap between Black students and other ethnicities. iii The researcher concluded politics should not be a factor in educational reform. Factors that take precedence include helping students succeed. Helping students succeed goes beyond making policies or selecting the right candidate to receive the right amount of funding. We educators have a concern for the success of the child and the future state our society. If the child succeeds, society should progress.

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