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School board member definitions of accountability: A comparison of charter and traditional public school board members

Michael R. Ford (Department of Public Administration, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh , Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA)
Douglas M. Ihrke ( University of Wisconsin Milwaukee , Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the differing ways in which nonprofit charter and traditional public school board members define the concept of accountability in the school or schools they oversee. The findings speak to the governing consequences of shifting oversight of public education from democratically elected bodies to unelected nonprofit governing boards.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use originally collected survey data from democratically elected school board members and nonprofit charter school board members in Minnesota to test for differences in how these two populations view accountability. Open-ended survey questions are coded according to a previously used accountability typology.

Findings

The authors find that charter school board members are more likely than traditional public school board members to define accountability through high stakes testing as opposed to staff professionalization and bureaucratic systems.

Originality/value

The results speak to the link between board governance structure and accountability in the public education sector, providing new understanding on the way in which non-elected charter school board members view their accountability function.

Keywords

Citation

Ford, M.R. and Ihrke, D.M. (2017), "School board member definitions of accountability: A comparison of charter and traditional public school board members", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 55 No. 3, pp. 280-296. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-04-2016-0040

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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