Academic journal article Public Administration Quarterly

Bureaucratic, Leadership, and Workforce Representation among Female Administrators, Principals, Assistant Principals, and Classroom Teachers in U.S. School Districts, 2002-2008

Academic journal article Public Administration Quarterly

Bureaucratic, Leadership, and Workforce Representation among Female Administrators, Principals, Assistant Principals, and Classroom Teachers in U.S. School Districts, 2002-2008

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The field of public administration has given insufficient attention to public education (Raffel 2007). Raffel argues that public administration, because it can make unique contributions to education policy scholarship, should not cede the study of education policy to educators, policy analysts, and political scientists (2007, 147). This call for public administration scholars to focus on education is increasingly important given the current focus outside the field. Concerns about equity and social justice, the central principles of Fredrickson's (1971) new public administration, have given way in education policy to calls for efficiency, accountability, high-stakes testing, and privatization (Berliner and Biddle 1995; Apple 1996; Grogan 1999; Kozol 2005; McDermott 2007).

Over the last 25 years, education reform scholars have strongly influenced the agenda for education policy research. A combination of factors--the education reform movement's focus on market-based initiatives (Reyes, Wagstaff, and Fuserelli 1999; Moe 2001; Orfield 2005), the widespread abandonment of affirmative action policies at all levels of government (Naff 2001), insufficient attention to education policy by public administration scholars (Raffel 2007), and the direction of scholarly research on descriptive and substantive representation (Reid, Kerr, and Miller 2003)--seems to have contributed to the redirection of public administration scholarship on social equity issues in public education.

A key, but overlooked component of social equity in public education is the distribution of jobs, especially high-level positions in U. S. school districts. One of our objectives in this research is to help bring the study of public schools--and particularly public school workforces--into the mainstream of public administration scholarship. A long tradition in public administration, it is important to reexamine periodically questions about gender equity in the area of public sector job distribution (among others see Lewis and Nice 1994; Naff 1994; Kelly and Newman 2001; and Miller, Kerr, and Reid 2010), Such questions are empirical questions, ones that should be revisited on a continuing basis, irrespective of the direction of contemporary debates about the nature of education reform and ones that cannot be answered adequately by referring to anecdotal evidence, limited samples, or politically-motivated pronouncements.

We draw upon a newly available data set from the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The data set, generated from the EEOC's Elementary-Secondary Staff Information reports, includes data from 2002 through 2008 for all school districts in the U. S. that have at least 100 employees. School districts shape general employment policy and hiring strategies for schools. While surveys of the gender distribution of personnel at the school level are important, it is also important to look at such distributions by school district. Districts are the management level at which employment decisions about administrators and principals are made. For instance, the gender composition of district administrators may influence the gender composition of school principals and assistant principals. The EEOC's school district employment data are broken down by job category (referred to by the EEOC as activity assignment classification) and sex. We use these data to answer four related research questions on bureaucratic representation, leadership representation, workforce pool composition/representation, and school district progress towards achieving greater gender representation.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

What is the gender composition of administrative, principal, assistant principal, and classroom teacher jobs in U. S. school districts, and how have these compositions changed over time in the new millennium? This question focuses on traditional descriptive (or bureaucratic) representation, a concept which typically uses the percentage of women in the population as the benchmark for representational parity. …

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