EDAD 6303

Educational Governance and Politics


Instructor: Dr. Mark Littleton Phone: 254.968.9804

Howell Education Bldg., Room #404 Email: mlittleton@tarleton.edu

Tarleton State University


Description: This doctoral student only seminar is designed to provide students with the opportunity to create and/or refine their understanding of educational governance. This understanding will be build as students acquire knowledge and skills from theories, research, and current practices related to governance in education. In addition, the course is structure to provide students with the opportunity to explore and understand current issues in school governance. At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to utilize this understanding of educational governance and its issues in their formal and informal studies in the field of educational administration. Prerequisite: Doctoral status.


Required Reading




Conley, D.T. (2003). Who Governs Our Schools? New York: Teachers College Press.

Cross, C.T. (2004). Political education: National policy comes of age. New York: Teachers College Press.


Spring, J. (2002). Conflicts of interests: The politics of American education (4th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.


Wirt, F. M., & Kirst, M. W. (1997). The political dynamics of American education. Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing Corporation.




In addition to the texts above, the following articles/monographs must be secured and read.


Bjork, L. G., Bell, R. J., & Gurley, D. K. (2002). Politics and the socialization of superintendents. In G. Perrault and F. C. Lunenburg (Eds.), The Changing World of School Administration (pp. 294-311). Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press.


Fusarelli, L. D., & Peterson, G. J. (2002). Changing times, changing relationships: An exploration of current trends influencing the relationship between superintendents and boards of education. In G. Perrault and F. C. Lunenburg (Eds.), The Changing World of School Administration (pp. 282-293). Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press.


Other Helpful Texts (Not required)


McCarty, D, & Ramsay, C. (1971). The school managers: Power and conflict in American public education. Westport, CT: Greenwood.


Sergiovanni, T.J., Kelleher, P., McCarthy, M.M., Wirt, F. (2003). Educational governance and administration (5th ed.) Boston: Allyn & Bacon.


Spring, J. (2000). The universal right to education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Crowson, R.L., Boyd, W.L., & Mawhinney, H. (eds.). (1995). The politics of education and the new institutionalism: Reinventing the American school. Washington, D.C.: The Falmer Press.


Freire, P. (1985). The politics of education: Culture, power, and liberation. Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey Publishers, Inc.


Ravitch, D. (2000). Left back: A century of battles over school reform. New York: Touchstone.


Hannaway, J., & Crowson, R. (eds.). (1989). The politics of reforming school administration. Washington, D.C.: The Falmer Press.


Peters, B. Guy.  Institutional theory in political science : The new institutionalism   JA71 .P477 1999 


Popkewitz, Thomas S.  Critical theories in education: Changing terrains of knowledge and politics   LC196 .C76 1999 



Course Objectives


       Historically review the patterns of influence (economic, governmental, societal, etc.) on educational policy & governance.

       Analyze the various levels of governmental impact on public schools. Describe how the actions of one governance structure affects the actions of other governance structures.

       Discuss the composition and control of school boards.

       Analyze the macro political influences of special interests groups, teacher unions, administrator and school board organizations, business groups, and governmental entities on public schools.

       Analyze the micro political influences of teacher unions, community groups, school boards, and governmental entities on public schools.

       Program Objective-Develop positive organizational cultures that build collaboration and collegiality.




APA Format


All written assignments must conform to the guidelines established in the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Edition.




There will be one, essay-type examination.


Term Paper




Class Participation


Class attendance and class participation are essential. Assignments must be read prior to the assigned date with the anticipation that critical analysis and discussion will occur during class.




Grades will be determined based upon participation in class discussions and performance on course requirements.


Important Dates & Probable Topics