Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

12-2007

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Jack Rhoton, Jasmine R. Renner, Louise L. MacKay

Abstract

The majority of city and county school systems throughout Tennessee and the United States at one time or another experience a budget crisis. In the state of Tennessee, school systems are funded through the Basic Education Program, established in 1992 as part of the Tennessee Education Improvement Act. The lawsuit of 1988, Tennessee Small School Systems v. McWherter, created the Basic Education Program. Through the years, the Basic Education Program has provided extra teaching positions, materials, and supplies and has provided the funding formula for school systems throughout the state. Many high-ranking administrators contend that the Basic Education Program has outlasted its time. School administrators from both city and county school systems indicate the program needs to be restructured to meet the current needs of the schools and students throughout the state of Tennessee.

The purpose of this mixed-method study was to explore the perceptions of educational equality and the advantages/disadvantages of the Basic Education Program. Through quantitative data, city and county school systems were compared for per-pupil spending, average teacher salary, and student achievement in the advanced proficient category for math and reading/language. These data were collected from the Tennessee Department of Education website and the Tennessee Education Association website. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with high-ranking administrators from city and county school systems in Northeast Tennessee. These administrators were purposively selected from systems containing both city and county schools.

The findings of this study demonstrated that city school systems have higher per-pupil spending and higher teacher salaries than county systems. City school systems have higher student achievement levels in the advanced proficient category than county school systems. Interview participants agree that educational equity does not exist between city and county school systems in the state of Tennessee. The participants in this study express that although the Basic Education Program in Tennessee was effective, at one time, it should be restructured or redefined to meet the current needs of all students in the state of Tennessee.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

Share

COinS