Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Katherine H. Greenberg

Committee Members

John W. Lounsbury, Ralph G. Brockett, Sherry K. Bain

Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative study was to develop a reliable and valid psychometric instrument, the Teacher Political Self-Efficacy Scale (TPSE Scale), for measuring K-12 teachers’ political self-efficacy in abilities to engage in activities that may directly or indirectly influence education public policymaking. Using Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory as a theoretical lens and the TPSE Scale for measurement, the problem of weak classroom teacher voice in education public policy process is explored. Two separate studies confirmed the reliability of the TPSE Scale. Construct and other forms of validity were confirmed using additional measures of Political Efficacy as citizens, teacher Instructional Efficacy, and teacher level of actual Engagement in political/civic/professional activities. Other elements to the investigative framework included Number of Years teaching, Gender, level of Educational Attainment, School Setting, and teacher perception of adequacy of school district Funding. Teachers’ reported overall low levels of TPSE which was also positively and significantly correlated to level of Engagement. While Political Efficacy as citizen and Number of Years teaching were positively and significantly related to TPSE, Instructional Efficacy was not. Male teachers were found to have significantly higher means of TPSE compared to female colleagues but there were relatively few men in the sample. Teachers with advanced degrees had significantly higher means for TPSE compared to those with bachelor’s degrees. Teachers who held perceptions that their school district had inadequate Funding had significantly lower means for TPSE compared to their colleagues who felt otherwise. There were no significant differences in the means for TPSE based on School Setting. In addition to establishing TPSE Scale reliability and validity, study results contribute to the understanding of marginalized K-12 teacher voice in education public policymaking. Results may inform the design of interventions for building teacher confidence and skill in this political domain of functioning. Scale use may also sensitize teachers to existing avenues for exercising voice that have been previously underutilized or that were not fully understood as opportunities for influencing a political process. It may influence teachers’ future choices about level of engagement.

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