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An Examination of the Structures and Memberships of State Boards of Education in the United States

Presenters Name: 
Kevin Rodriguez
Co Presenters Name: 
Amelia McCrory
Primary Research Mentor: 
Michelle Young
Secondary Research Mentor: 
Bryan VanGronigen
9:30 - 9:45
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 9:30am to 9:45am
Room 389
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
USOAR Program

Despite their potential influence in educational policy, State Boards of Education (SBOEs) have received little attention from researchers. SBOEs are composed of a group of “qualified” individuals who function as governing bodies that make decisions about educational policy within their states. All but two states in the United States has a SBOE. This study, which is part of a larger examination of SBOEs, aimed to better understand the structures, functions, and members of SBOEs along with their policy making authority and processes. We investigated the different structures of each SBOE and its members. Because SBOEs are so understudied, findings from this study also update and extend the extant literature on SBOEs. Specifically, we explored the differences in SBOE structures (N = 48) along with creating profiles for every SBOE member in order to examine members individually and collectively (N = 592) member individually. We used qualitative research techniques to review and analyze publicly-available documents from state government and SBOE websites. This approach included studying state constitutions, state statutes and rules, state newspapers, and SBOE meeting minutes and agendas. Our findings suggest considerable variety in structures and membership across the 48 SBOEs. Key differences included variety in requirements, sources of legal authority, existence of student members, and meeting schedules. This exploratory study created a centralized data resource in order to lay a foundation for future research efforts on SBOEs. Future research on State Boards will create implications reaching far outside of the realm of academia, affecting educational policy formulation in years to come.