Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Richard P. Manatt


This study was conducted to document equity attitudes of public school stakeholders (PSS) and compare them to attitudes of Americans in general. In all, 1014 PSS (school board members, district superintendents, school principals, teachers, and parents) representing 323 school districts responded via a 67-item questionnaire. Major areas were affirmative action, opportunity perceptions, reasons for poverty and wealth, and redistribution of income. Sample: stratified random selection of 683 public school districts in 41 states representative of the nation. Hypotheses. (1) no statistically significant differences between stakeholders and the general public, and (2) no such differences among stakeholder groups. Hypothesis 1 was rejected, at p <.05. Statistical differences observed among stakeholder groups were insufficient to reject Hypothesis 2. Statistical procedures: ANOVA, Scheffe multiple range test, z-scores, and factor analysis. Findings: Stakeholders (66%) saw abundant opportunity for all people, including minorities; considered success the result of hard work (60%). Individual traits, not social structure, were seen as causing wealth and poverty. Three most frequently cited causes of wealth were personal drive (92%), hard work (87%), and talent (75%). Top ranked causes of poverty were also attributed to individual character: lack of thrift (74%), effort (58%), proper attitude (55%), talent (48%) and moral character (45%). PSS rejected affirmative action and income redistribution policies by substantial margins. Overall, stakeholders and the general public held similar anti-equity attitudes and the statistical differences observed were without practical significance. There were exceptions. The public favored affirmatives action in principle and supported job and educational set-asides for qualified minorities. Stakeholders did not. Among these two samples, opportunity perceptions differed, in some instances, as did perception of factors which contributed to respondents' standards of living.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

James Arnold Scott



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

143 pages