THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELECTED FACTORS AND THE
PARTICIPATION IN POLITICAL ACTIVITIES BY TEACHERS
IN A SELECTED FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICT
LINDA BURNEY ELDRIDGE
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
The author recognizes with gratitude the support given by those
who contributed to this study.
Sincere appreciation goes to the members of the supervisory
committee, Dr. Ralph B. Kimbrough, chairman, without whose support
and guidance the completion of this project would not have been
possible, and to the other members, Dr. James W. Longstreth and
Dr. William D. Wolking,for their advice and suggestions.
Special personal thanks and appreciation are due to my family
for their continuing encouragement and support.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . ii
LIST OF TABLES . . ... .. v
ABSTRACT . . . viii
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION . . 1
Statement of the Problem . 2
Justification for the Study . 3
Delimitations . . 5
Limitations . . 6
Definition of Terms . 6
Procedures . . 8
Selection of the Sample Population 8
Instrumentation . 10
Collection of the Data . .. 11
Treatment of the Data . .. 12
Organization of the Dissertation .. 13
CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE . .. 14
Issues Concerning the Control of Education 14
Legal Issues Relating to Teacher Participation
in Political Activities . 21
Collective Bargaining in Education .. 26
Regulation of Political Campaigns .. 30
Politics in Education 31
The Educational Power Structure .. ..... 34
The Florida Educational Power Structure 36
Milbrath's Hierarchy of Political Involvement 40
School Board Elections . .. 46
Chapter Summary . .. 48
CHAPTER THREE PRESENTATION OF THE DATA .. ...... 49
The Level of Participation in Political
Activities by Teachers . .. 50
The Level of Political Awareness of Teachers
in Alachua County . 59
Chapter Summary . 100
DISCUSSION OF THE DATA . .
The Political Participation of the Selected
Teachers . . .
The Level of Political Awareness .. .
Factors Which Are Related to the Politiciza-
tion of Teachers . .
Comparison of Data with Milbrath's Model .
Chapter Summary . .
SUMMARY, IMPLICATIONS, AND SUGGESTIONS FOR
FUTURE RESEARCH . .
Summary . . .
Findings . . .
Conclusions . . .
Implications of the Study . .
INTERVIEW GUIDE . .
COVER LETTER TO SELECTED TEACHERS .
SECOND COVER LETTER TO SELECTED TEACHERS .
REFERENCES . . .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . .
LIST OF TABLES
1 Pattern of Political Participation of Selected
Teachers, Building Representatives, and ACEA
Officers . .. .52
2 Pattern of Teacher, Building Representative, and
ACEA Officer Participation in Political Activities 53
3 Grade Level Representation of 100 Randomly Selected
Teachers and ACEA Officers . .... 55
4 Pattern of Elementary, Middle School, and High
School Teacher Participation in Political
Activities. . . ... .. 57
5 Pattern of Male and Female Teacher Participation in
Political Activities. . .58
6 Identification of Local School Board Members ... .60
7 Identification of Individual Board Members .. 62
8 Identification of State Legislators Representing
Alachua County . .... 64
9 Identification of Individual State Legislators .. 65
10 Identification of Alachua County Commissioners .. 67
11 Identification of Individual Alachua County
Commissioners. . .. 69
12 Identification of National Legislators
Representing Alachua County . .... 70
13 Identification of Individual National Legislators
Representing Alahcua County . ... 72
14 Number of Years Residency in Alachua County for
Interviewed Teachers and ACEA Officers ...... 73
15 Participation in Political Activities by Teachers
Length of Residence in Alachua County ... 74
16 Ages of Interviewed Teachers and ACEA Officers .. 76
17 Pattern of Participation in Political Activities
by Age Bracket . . 77
18 Racial Composition of Interviewed Teachers and
ACEA Officers . ... 79
19 Pattern of Political Participation of Sample by Race 80
20 Marital Status of Teachers and ACEA Officers ... .81
21 Pattern of Political Participation of Teachers by
Marital Status . . ... 82
22 Highest Degree Earned by 100 Randomly Selected
Teachers and ACEA Officers . .... 83
23 Pattern of Political Participation of Teachers with
the Bachelors, Masters, Specialist/Doctorate
Degree . .... .... .85
24 Organizational Membership of 100 Randomly Selected
Teachers and ACEA Officers. . ... 86
25 Pattern of Political Participation by Teachers Who
Are Members or Nonmembers of a Civic Organization
and/or Who Are Members of a Church ... 87
26 Pattern of Political Participation by Teachers Who
Are Members or Nonmembers of ACEA ... 90
27 Teacher Political Party Identification ... 91
28 Influences on Voting Behaviors as Stated by Teachers 93
29 Factors Selected by Respondents as Influencing
Their Voting Decisions . .. 95
30 Sources of Information Regarding Elections,
Candidates, and Issues Selected by Respondents 96
31 Factors Motivating Participation in Political
Activities. . . ... .. 98
32 Political Issues Supported or Opposed by Teachers 99
33 Identification of Local School Board Members,
County Commissioners, State Legislators, and
Members of the Congress . .. 109
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELECTED FACTORS AND THE
PARTICIPATION IN POLITICAL ACTIVITIES BY TEACHERS
IN A SELECTED FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICT
Linda Burney Eldridge
Chairman: Dr. Ralph B. Kimbrough
Major Department: Educational Administration and Supervision
The purpose of this study was to discover how the teachers of a
selected Florida School District participated in the political process
and to see whether certain factors were associated with the levels of
participation. Specifically, the objectives of this research were
1. to describe the political participation of teachers
in a selected district;
2. to determine the level of political awareness as
indicated by their ability to identify selected
local elected officials;
3. to determine whether there was a relationship among
identifiable factors and the politicization of
4. to compare the results of this study with
Milbrath's Hierarchy of Political Involvement.
A descriptive study of heuristic design provided a framework for
in-depth exploration. Interviews were conducted with a random sample
of 100 teachers and seven officers of the Alachua County Education
This study supported the conclusions reached by other writers that
teachers have become politically active. A chi-square test of independence
showed a relationship between level of participation in political activities
and the following at the .05 level of confidence:
1. type of respondent, i.e., teacher, building
representative, or ACEA officer;
2. teachers' length of residence in Alachua County; and
3. membership in civic organizations.
The relationship between level of participation in political
activities and grade level, sex, age, race, marital status, highest
degree earned, church membership, and ACEA membership was not found to
be significant at the .05 level of confidence for respondents as
determined by the chi-square test of independence.
The chi-square test of independence showed a relationship between
the level of participation in the teachers' organization and the following:
1. identification of school board members;
2. identification of county commissioners, and
3. identification of national legislators.
Identification of state legislators representing Alachua County was
not found to be related to the respondent's level of participation. Data
were presented related to political party identification, influences on
voting behavior, ACEA influence, sources of information regarding
election issues, factors motivating participation in political activities,
political issues supported or opposed by teachers, and candidates
teachers have worked hard to support.
The traditional separation of professional educators, administrators,
and their governing board has its origin in the concept of lay control
of the schools. There has been an historic reluctance to allow the
formulation of educational policy by professionals (Gilland, 1935).
However, many fear that traditional lay control has eroded in recent
years. Increased teacher militancy and financial involvement in local
and national elections may have created changes in the traditional
control of education.
Increased participation of teachers in the political process has
been advocated by many leaders in the field. Commenting on this,
Shanker (1979) suggested that teachers, empowered by collective bar-
gaining, have entered the political arena in large numbers and should
have a significant impact in future elections. Moreover, an apparent
increase in the number of educators serving in state legislatures and
in some cases on local boards of education has been noted (Kimbrough &
Nunnery, 1976, p. 303).
The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 which permitted the
establishment, administration, and solicitation of contributions to
a fund to be used for political purposes by a corporation or labor
organization may have given teacher organizations a way to participate
more effectively in the political process. Consequently, the teachers'
special capacity for organizing and motivating people has been recognized
in states such as Michigan where the National Educational Association's
Political Action Committees funneled an estimated $3 million into
state and local campaign coffers in 1976 with notable effect (Methrin,
In Florida such funds are collected by the American Federation of
Teachers' political funding arm, A-TIGER, and the Florida Teaching
Profession which is affiliated with the National Education Association.
These funds have become potent political war chests.
Milbrath (1965) stated that clarity in social science is facilitated
by specifying a level of analysis. Individual (micro) political behavior
affects the behavior of the larger political system (macro). Therefore,
the kinds of questions developed by the analyst determine the level
of inquiry. The questions developed by this study concern the nature
of the political participation, political awareness, and factors
contributing to the politicization of teachers in a selected Florida
Statement of the Problem
The problem of this study was to discover how the teachers of
a selected Florida school district participated in the political process
and to see whether certain factors are associated with the levels of
The objectives of this research were (a) to describe the political
participation of teachers in a selected county; (b) to determine the
level of political awareness as indicated by their ability to identify
local school board members, county commissioners, state and national
legislators; (c) to determine whether there were any identifiable
factors which contribute significantly to the politicization of
teachers; and (d) to compare the results of this study with Milbrath's
hierarchy of political involvement (Milbrath, 1965, p. 18).
Justification for the Study
The impact of litigation and legislation extending or establishing
the right of teachers to participate in political activities changed
rapidly after World War II with the influx of veterans aided by the
GI Bill. Teaching changed from a field which attracted mainly women
to a more competitive field which challenged the paternalistic
administration of the past. Court decisions established the constitu-
tional right of teachers to participate in politics, the right to
bargain collectively, and the right to collect monies from individual
teachers to be used for political donations. This enabled teachers
to achieve a voice at local, state, and national levels in matters
which affect educators and the education of children. With the move
of teacher organizations to a more militant posture of teacher
advocacy, the administrators and school boards developed their own
organizations to represent them before the state legislature.
Changes in the Florida Legislature during the late 1960s resulted
in the development of a more professional, better staffed organization.
The legislators, with specialists of their own, no longer were
dependent on the teachers' association for research and expertise.
The teacher organization became one of a number of contending groups
in the Capital lobbies. Teachers felt that one way to influence
legislation was to influence the elections themselves.
Teachers' organizations became increasingly involved in political
activities, both at the local and state levels, by encouraging the
development of pro-education candidates and the removal of representa-
tives identified as hostile to issues important to the teachers.
Teachers, who had previously tended to refrain from active political
participation, were increasingly urged by the teachers' association
to increase their lobbying and political activities. Teachers were
urged to get involved in their local elections and to make their
political power support their local negotiations with their school
boards. By training teachers in techniques for election victory and
encouraging grass-roots political involvement, teacher associations
have urged teachers to take a significant role in state and local
However, the important questions involve how effectively the
leaders have motivated the rank-and-file teachers to participate
actively in the political process. Duffy (1975) observed that few
studies have been made of how teachers participate in the political
process. How well are the teachers involved, what factors appear
to be associated with levels of participation, and how does the
profile of teacher participation compare with that developed from the
general population studied by Milbrath? This study was needed to
provide some answers to this question and will become part of the
growing body of knowledge available in the analysis of teacher activism.
The following confinements were observed in the investigation:
(a) The study was limited to a random selection of
100 teachers employed by the School Board of
Alachua County, Florida, during the school year
1981-1982 and seven officers of the Alachua
County Education Association (ACEA).
(b) Sources were limited to summaries of the in-depth
interviews with the 100 teachers and seven
officers of the Alachua County Education
Association and information provided by the
Supervisor of Elections for Alachua County on
This study was conducted in a school district with a pluralistic
power structure. External validity was claimed for only those Florida
school districts with pluralistic power structures (McQuown, Hamilton &
Schneider, 1964; True, 1974) where there was viable, widespread
participation of the citizens of the school district in decision-making
and whose teachers have been represented during collective bargaining by
teacher associations. Most of the results of the study depended upon the
self-reports of the selected respondents in an interview; and may
possibly be at variance with an empirical description of teacher
participation. Yet, some of the recall data collected may serve as a
check on whether the participants over-estimated their extent of
Definition of Terms
Check-off rights. The employer at the request of the employee
union member deducts the dues from employee wages and turns them over
to the organization.
Collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is a system of
teacher organization/school board negotiations in which the board is
obligated by law to meet, confer, negotiate, and discuss in good faith
with execution of a binding written document with regard to salary,
hours, terms of conditions of employment if requested by either party.
Community power structure. The community power structure is the
systematic, relative distribution of social power among the citizens in
determining the kind of community they want.
Pluralistic power structure. A pluralistic power structure is
characterized by several competing bases of power. The influentials
tend to change as the issues and decisions change and the decision-
making process is consistent with democratic ideals.
Political system. A political system is any persistent pattern
of human relationships that involves, to a significant extent, power,
rule, or authority.
Politics of education. Politics of education is the political
activity which is defined as that legal activity intended to influence
educational processes or decisions at the local or state level.
School board. The term "school board" is used to refer to that
lay body in which the state has vested legal responsibility for
administering the public school district. The term includes such
common references as "board of education," "board of trustees," and
Teacher activism. Teacher activism is the active involvement of
teachers or teacher associations in support of candidates for election
to school boards in the attempt to influence board members and the
board's position on issues through whatever methods appear necessary to
gain the desired result.
The purpose of this study was to collect and analyze in-depth
information relative to the participation in political activities of
selected teachers in a selected county. It was designed as a descrip-
tive study, of heuristic nature, providing a conceptual framework for
in-depth exploration, discovery, and refinement in order to generate
Interviews were conducted with a random sample of teachers in
Alachua County, Florida, and officers in the Alachua County Education
Association and summarized for this report. The interviews were
completed during the 1981/1982 school year.
Selection of the Sample Population
Alachua County, Florida, was selected as representative of a
pluralistic power structure with wide-spread participation of residents
in various levels of political activities. The School Board of Alachua
County and the teachers, represented by the Alachua County Education
Association, have participated in collective bargaining activities
since 1975. The educators of Alachua County have long been politically
active. Prior to collective bargaining Alachua County was represented
by key persons involved in educational activities. Phil Constans, Jr.,
who was a teacher and school administrator in Alachua County, was a
central figure in the 1968 Florida teachers' strike, which was the only
state-wide teachers' strike in the history of the United States.
Dr. Constans was Executive Secretary of the Florida Education Association
at the time of the strike and had previously served as president of the
organization (Fergusson, 1982).
Alachua County is located in the north central section of the
Florida pennisula, roughly halfway between the Atlantic and the Gulf
Coasts. Chamber of Commerce figures show a total population of
151,348 (April, 1981). The total labor force was estimated at 67,100
with 64,900 employed and 4.5% unemployed as outlined in the Economic
Data Summary Brochure printed by the Committee of 100--Gainesville
Area Chamber of Commerce in April, 1981. The major role accorded
government employment and the relative stability of its economy
make the Gainesville Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA)
similar to other northern Florida metropolitan areas, particularly
Tallahassee and Pennsacola as cited in the Florida Statistical Abstract:
1978, published by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the
University of Florida. The Gainesville SMSA is geographically identical
with Alachua County.
The target population has been defined as all certificated classroom
teachers employed in the 30 high schools, middle schools, and elementary
schools in Alachua County, Florida. The School Board of Alachua County
Personnel printout was used to select a systematic sample of teachers.
There were 1166 teachers employed. Using a table of random numbers,
a sample of 100 teachers was selected. A few alternates were
selected for interviews in case someone refused to be interviewed or
could not be contacted. Seven officers of the Alachua County Educational
Association were also interviewed. Three of the seven officers were
included in the sample of 100 teachers selected at random.
Borg and Gall (1979) discussed the sample size required for
studies employing in-depth interviews in Educational Research. They
suggested that small samples with in-depth interviews are preferable
to collecting shallow information on a large sample. The sample
interviewed in this study represented 8.6 percent of the total
The interviews were conducted over a period of one month. A
response sheet was completed for each teacher interviewed. Questions
were prepared in advance and answers were recorded on the response
sheet by the writer.
An interview guide was developed which reflected the review of
the literature (see Appendix A). An initial list of interview
questions was tested on four persons, and then reviewed with the
chairman of the writer's doctoral committee. The result was a list
of 33 items relating to participation in political activities, member-
ship in organizations and identification of selected local, state and
nationally elected representatives.
Kerlinger (1973) described the personal interview as a powerful
tool for obtaining factual information, opinions and attitudes and
the reasons for such opinions and attitudes. Teachers were interviewed
by the author with the help of the interview guide to structure the
interview and assist in data analysis.
Collection of the Data
Data sources consisted of the review of literature related to
teacher activism from the perspectives of litigation, federal and
state statutory provisions, rights of teachers, and the involvement
of teachers in elections. A computer search was made to locate
relevant literature in the Educational Resources Information Center
File. Published books in the university library were also used in the
compilation of literature.
The collection of data through in-depth interviews with 100
teachers and seven officers of the Alachua County Education Association
concerned their participation in political activities and ability to
identify local school board members, County Commissioners, state and
national legislators. The interviews were arranged first through
introductory letters from the chairman of the writer's doctoral
committee and the writer. The introductory letters were very helpful
in the initiation of interviews. Follow-up telephone calls were made
by the writer to arrange interviews. Often several calls were
necessary to contract and arrange a suitable time for interviews.
Most of the respondents indicated that it was more convenient for
them to use the telephone for interviews rather than arrange time for
personal interviews. The length of time for the interviews generally
was in the 20 to 45 minute range. Four respondents were interviewed
in person. In all cases respondents who agreed to be interviewed were
very cooperative. Three respondents politely declined to participate
in the interviews. Respondents who chose to participate in the inter-
view process were open and appeared happy to provide answers to the
questions. Many volunteered information regarding their plans for
future participation in local elections. A significant number, 40
respondents, volunteered their opinions of the outcome of the September
1982 School Board Primary Election.
The cooperation by telephone was probably helped significantly
by the introductory letters. The interviewer was always careful to
inform the respondents that the interview would be held at the conven-
ience of the respondent. This often meant scheduling the interview
at a later time but in all cases resulted in a cooperative interview
when the interview did take place. The responses to the interviews
appeared to be genuine and uninhibited, lacking tentativeness and
Treatment of the Data
Content analysis of the data collected was for the purpose of
determining salient features and to explore relationships between
different variables and what factors contribute to the politicization
of teachers. Correlations between selected factors such as age,
sex, race, number of years experience, grade level, level of degree,
union membership, participation in civic groups, church membership,
and levels of participation in political activities were determined by
use of procedures designed to synthesize the information in a format
which would be helpful to practicioners in the field of educational
administration. The Chi-square Test of Independence was used for
statistical analysis. The results of the study were discussed in
relationship to the conclusions developed from the review of the liter-
ature and Milbrath's (1965) hierarchy of political involvement.
Organization of the Dissertation
Chapter One contains the introduction, statement of the problem,
justification for the study, delimitations, and limitations, definition
of terms, and procedures.
A review of the literature related to teacher participation in
political activities is provided in Chapter Two.
Chapter Three will present the research findings resulting from
the interview study with their appropriate analysis.
Chapter Four contains an interpretation and discussion of the
Chapter Five will present a summary of the findings, the con-
clusions based on the data, and recommendations based on the findings
and the conclusions. Appendices and references will conclude the
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
The body of literature which has been written about teacher
activism has increased in the past ten years. Authors have approached
the subject from the perspectives of litigation, federal and state
statutory provisions, rights of teachers and the involvement of
teachers in elections. A computer search was made to locate relevant
literature in the Educational Resources Information Center file.
Published books in the university library were also used in the compila-
tion of literature. This review focuses on the historical evolution
of the rights of teachers to participate in political activities. The
review is organized in the following sections: Issues Concerning
Control of Education, Legal Issues Relating to Teacher Participation
in Political Activities, Politics in Education, The Educational Power
Structure, The Florida Educational Power Structure, Milbrath's Hierarchy
of Political Involvement, and School Board Elections.
Issues Concerning the Control of Education
State courts have repeatedly held that public education is a
function of the state. The system of public education which exists
within each of the states is the result of the historical interpretation
of the Tenth Amendment. Control of the schools and school affairs is
vested in the law-making power of the state.
The 1647 Act of Massachusetts General Court required towns to
establish schools. The development of the nationwide network of public
schools which replaced the church and home as the primary institution
for formal schooling began with the local school district. Formal state
governance systems developed much later (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976,
The local school district is the basic administrative unit for
public education in the United States devised for the purpose of
assisting in maintaining a system of schools. The county local school
district with boundaries coterminous with county lines is found in
approximately one third of the states, mostly in the Southeast (Kimbrough
& Nunnery, 1976). The county districts administer all schools within
the county in the state of Florida.
The Governmental Reform Movement of the early part of this century
led to the creation of structures to separate education from politics.
The model school government called for nonpartisan election of school
boards and the appointment of professionally trained school administra-
tors. Educational administrators had to strive for political influence
(Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976).
Counts (1927) indicated that the "nature and functions of the
school board have emerged out of a long history of the endeavor of
local areas to manage their own affairs and maintain some independence
from central government" (p. 2).
Traditional theory advocated a separation between policy formulation
and execution. The public school enterprise of our nation had its origin
in grassroots lay control, and the concept of lay control by means of
citizens' committees at various levels. Gilland (1935) stated that
there had been an historic "reluctance to relinquish the formulation
of educational policy to professionals" (p. 271). The traditional
separation of professional teachers, administrators and their lay
overseers has remained fairly stable since its establishment although
many fear that traditional lay control has eroded in recent decades
(Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976).
Historically, most board members were white, middle class, Anglo
Saxon, Protestant males (Nystrand & Cunningham, 1973). The language
used in the literature to describe school board members was elitist.
Board membership was a "sacred trust" and those who served on the board
were public spirited, intelligent, dedicated statesmen. Goldhammer
(1964) reported that board members tended to come from sociologically
higher occupational positions with higher than average incomes.
Newer patterns of board membership began to appear in the 1970's.
Nystrand and Cunningham (1973) noted, "More women, more minorities,
more socioeconomic heterogeneity, and greater breadth of perspective
are there" (p. 22).
In his-earlier studies, Kimbrough (1964) stated that school
board decisions tended to be representative of the desires of community
influentials. School board members were influenced by individuals
outside the board in the informal power structure of the community.
Lutz (1975) felt that a board member should support values of a
homogeneous culture rather than reflect the special interest he or
she represents. Iannaconne (1975) advocated democracy in the educational
process as a first priority.
The emergence of diverse sectors of interest in education resulted
in an increase in pluralism and mechanisms intended to provide for
wider participation in educational decision making. Kimbrough and
Nunnery (1976) stated more women, members of minorities, teachers, etc.
are seeking election to general and educational governing bodies.
The apparent increase in the number of educators serving in
state legislatures and in a few cases on local boards of education
has been noted (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976, p. 303). Expanded judicial
and legislative activity are indicated as affecting the traditional
power of school boards and influence of citizens' committees.
Professional educators are seen as both policy makers and the executors
of policy. Government-in-the-sunshine laws have curtailed executive
sessions of school boards and other governmental policy-making bodies.
In some locations more freedom has been provided at the local school
level in program, financial, and personnel matters. Continuation of
the conflicts regarding who governs the educational enterprise and
the power and role of each interest sector has been predicted for the
Usdan (1975) wrote that school boards must broaden their base of
support to remain viable as influential public bodies. He stated that
the insulation of many boards of education from the political mainstream
made them vulnerable to the claimed expertise of the superintendent
and the educational bureaucracy (p. 28).
Morphet and Ryan (1969) stated that organizations need central
coordination. They noted there is no longer a single center of
authority within the school system. They recommended leadership, as
opposed to domination, obedience, and alienation, participation and
involvement in dealing with the public relevant to the schools (p. 238).
The 1970's witnessed a shrinkage of board authority as the rights
of students and teachers came into focus. Collective bargaining and
teacher activism became areas of concern for lay control.
The increase of teacher militancy and financial involvement in
local and national elections and the increase in activity of teacher
and other community special interest groups, created changes in the
traditional control of education. The lay board is no longer granted
unchallenged power to make policy and control the schools.
Usdan (1975) recommended local boards broaden their base of lay
support in the increasingly politicized educational environment by
expanding meaningful citizen participation in the shaping of educational
policy (p. 275). Usdan suggested that the local school board, if
responsible to changes in society, can be effective in protecting the
public interest against increasingly influential professional organi-
zations and bureaucracies (p. 273).
Drucker (1969) also emphasized the importance of lay control of
education. He felt that education was too important to be left to
educators alone as it controls access to careers and opportunity
Gross (1958) in his book, Who Runs Our Schools?, analyzed the
reasons school board members seek election to the board. He stated
a board member elected to represent a certain group or element in the
community will probably not make decisions in the best interest of
all the children (p. 15). The studies conducted by Gross indicated
that superintendents who are exposed to fewer pressures are less
likely to be associated with a school board whose members usually
vote as representatives of special interest blocs or factions than
superintendents who are exposed to more pressures (p. 62). Gross
also noted the higher the proportion of board members motivated to
represent some group the less consensus the board members will have
(p. 86). If we accept the argument that the degree of consensus among
a group of people who must work together is important for the efficiency
and effectiveness of their work, then clearly, whether or not board
members are well or poorly motivated has significant effect on the
functioning of their school board (p. 86). Gross concluded the higher
the proportion of board members motivated to represent some group,
the less the board adheres to professional standards (p. 87).
White (1974) also discussed the issue of outside influence on a
school board. He concluded that, "outside influence was expressed most
often and had the greatest effect on changing board decisions on finance
issues, followed by considerably less, but still considerable, attempted
and actual effect on curriculum and desegregation" (p. 191).
White (1974) stated in his findings concerning negative influences
that they generally "related with the district from outside of the
district and school related structures, as an individual or group leader
or representative, or from within as a board member backed by some
outside group or interest" (p. 187).
Recent literature indicates that teacher organizations are making
diligent efforts to place teachers and other persons who share the
teacher point of view on school boards. In a dissertation entitled
School Board Member Perceptions Associated with Teacher Activism in
School Board Elections, Rankin and Wheeler (1977) discussed the efforts
in California to place teacher-supported candidates on school boards.
Scully (1975) wrote that he was in favor of teachers as board
members because teachers serving as board members would help narrow
the serious ideological gap between teacher unions and the boards.
Duffy (1975), in a dissertation entitled Teacher Involvement in
School Board Elections: A Description and Evaluation of a Political
Education Program by the California Teachers Association, assumed
that school boards in general are not adequately sensitive to the
needs of teachers. Instead of heeding teacher counsel on educational
aims, strategies, or decisions, board members have been accustomed
to almost total reliance on information filtered through district
administrators. It was further assumed that boards would benefit in
every educational and professional respect from a closer direct
relationship with teachers.
Freeborn (1968) found that the defeat of an incumbent board member
is usually followed by a power struggle on the board, which in turn
is followed by the selection of a new superintendent from the outside.
This phenomenon is usually accomplished within a period of three
years. Iannaccone and Cistone (1974) suggested that incumbent defeat
is usually a sign of political instability within a school district
and that there is a power struggle between the existing power group
and an emerging one.
In summary, the control of the local school district has tradi-
tionally been in the hands of white, middle class, Protestant males
who served on the school board often as representatives of the
community influentials. Increased participation of teachers and other
community special interest groups has created change in the traditional
control of education. Researchers have voiced concern over special
interest board members and outside influence on the school board.
However, a broader base of lay support with increased citizen partici-
pation has been cited as a means of protecting the public interest.
Political instability of the school board has been suggested as a
result of the power struggle between existing and emerging forces.
Legal Issues Relating to Teacher
Participation in Political Activities
The 1970-1980 decade saw much litigation involving the rights of
teachers and students under constitutional and civil rights acts
provisions. The purpose of this section is to review some of this
Wise (1973), a past president of the National Education Association,
described the status of the teacher as "no longer the quiescent,
compliant teacher of thirty or even twenty years ago" (p. 3). Recent
decisions have granted the right for teachers to be considered common
citizens. Behaviors once thought to be inconceivable for teachers
by the courts as permissible include such things as posing in the nude
in national magazines (Shanker, 1975) and homosexuality (Ostrander,
Alexander (1980) discussed the way public employment was viewed
as a privilege and not a right at an earlier point in our nation's
constitutional development. Public employees are no longer expected
to shed their rights upon taking positions in public institutions
today. The First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Consti-
tution secure the rights of freedom of association against governmental
intrusion. Schools must have a compelling reason to overcome a
teacher's constitutional presumption of freedom of speech and association.
The political activity of teachers has been given a high degree
of protection by the courts (Alexander, 1980). In the leading case,
Pickering v. Board of Education (1968) the courts upheld the right of
a teacher to write and publish a letter in a newspaper criticizing
the boards allocation of school funds between educational and athletic
programs and the board's and superintendent's methods of informing, or
preventing the informing of, the school district's taxpayers of the
real reasons why additional tax revenues were being sought for the
schools. The court ruled that the letter was protected by the First
and Fourteenth Amendments. The U.S. Supreme Court found that, even
though free speech is not an "absolute right," it is sufficiently
strong to require a "compelling state interest" on the part of the
state to overcome a teacher's right to speak out against a school
board's handling of fiscal matters (Pickering v. Board of Education,
391 U.S. 563, 88 S. Ct. 1731 (1968)).
This key decision is related to the issue of criticism of
superiors in schools. Pickering was dismissed from his teaching
position after writing a letter to a local paper attacking a proposed
bond issue and accusing the superintendent of attempting to muzzle
teachers. The court ruled a teacher's exercise of his right to speak
on issues of public importance may not furnish the basis for his
dismissal from public employment if there is no evidence of impairment
in the performance of his teaching duties, or the regular operation
of the school.
The Supreme Court clarified the Pickering interpretation of
First Amendment rights in Tinker v. Des Moines Community School District.
The court noted that in order for school officials to justify prohibi-
tion of a particular expression of opinion, they must be able to show
that their action was caused by something other than a desire to
avoid the unpleasantness that may accompany an unpopular viewpoint.
The court spelled out the rule that First Amendment rights in the
context of a school may be curtailed only when they threaten to
substantially disrupt the work and discipline of a school (Tinker v.
Des Moines Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969)).
The right of teachers to engage in political activity is clear,
as long as there is no interference with normal duties. That right
is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution with its
guarantee of freedom of speech, assembly, and the redress of grievances,
and by the Fourteenth, which defines the privilege and immunities of
citizenship and establishes the doctrine of due process and equal
protection under the law. Further protection has been claimed under
the residual powers retained by the people, as expressed by the Ninth
and Tenth Amendments.
Unless there is some illegal intent, an individual's right to
form and join a union is protected by the First Amendment. Several
United States Courts of Appeals have held that the right of teachers
to form and join unions is within the scope of this protection
(McLaughlin v. Tilendis, 398 F.2d 287 (1968); Orr v. Thorpe,427 F.2d
1129 (5th Cir. 1970); American Federation of State, County, and
Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO v. Woodward, 406 F.2d 137 (8th Cir. 1969)).
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Keyishian v. Board of Regents in
1967 that the theory that public employment may be denied or subject
to any conditions regardless of how unreasonable, has been uniformly
rejected (Kevishian v. Board of Regents, 385 U.S. 589 (1967)). Garrity
v. New Jersey (1967) said public employees cannot be relegated to a
"watered-down version of constitutional rights" solely because they
are public employees (Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493, 500 (1967)).
The case of Montgomery v. White, Civ. Action No. 4933, Slip op.
(U.S.D.C. E.D. Tex. October 24, 1969) was a landmark decision. A
Federal District Court ruled that denying a teacher a job because of his
participation in political activities is inconsistent with the First
Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, press, assembly, and
petition. Depriving the community of the political participation
of some of the most influential citizens was seen as harmful
by the court. It was made clear that a balance must be sought
between the interests of the teacher and the interests of the employing
district. The case was decided because the ban against political
activity was total and not limited to acts which damage the essential
activities of the employing district.
Chanin (1970) suggested that limits on the use of.official
influence by teachers or administrators during working hours would
be permissible (p. 19). The state or school district must demonstrate
the need for any restrictions which diminish the constitutional rights
of the teachers and also define those restrictions in the narrowest
way capable of meeting such needs. Proving the existence of such a
threat is a burden left to the state. Use of the classroom to air
opinions not germane to the work and neglect of duty have caused courts
to sustain dismissals (Duffy, 1975, p. 28).
The court held that the nonrenewal of teachers' contracts in
retaliation for their public comments regarding teacher's salaries and
affiliation with a teacher's association violated their First Amendment
right of freedom of speech and association (Greminger v. Seaborne,
84 F.2d 275 (8th Cir. 1978)).
The Hatch Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1939 for the purpose
of curtailing corruption in electoral politics restricted political
activity of federal employees but was never applied to corporations.
The act was extended to state and local employees who were employed
in connection with any activity financed in part or as a whole by
loans or grants made by the U.S. government, or any department or
agency of the government in 1940 (Rankin & Wheeler, 1977). The Hatch
Act was amended in 1942 to delete this facet. Today the Hatch Act
applies to teachers in regard to several specific acts with which few
teachers are likely to be concerned (Remmlein, 1962). State-enacted
versions of the Hatch Act tend only to restrict teachers from political
activity during school hours (Rankin & Wheeler, 1977, p. 36).
The Federal Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
urged that all states adopt legislation recognizing the right of
public employees, including teachers, to join employee organizations
and to confer collectively with government employees (Alexander, Corns,
& McCann, 1975, p. 140).
An executive order by President Kennedy in 1962 gave federal
employees a limited version of the rights that private employees had
received 30 years before. Over 30 American states have granted some
form of collective bargaining rights to some or all of their public
employees (Alexander, 1980).
Collective Bargaining in Education
Collective bargaining has resulted in increased pluralism in
regard to educational affairs in many school districts. The advent
of collective bargaining was considered by Donley (1976) to be of
more significance in the long run than the strikes of the 1960's and
Teacher candidates for places on school boards have been success-
fully supported. In some school districts this has resulted in a new
group of power elites (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976). Teacher organizations
in coalition with emerging power groups in other sectors of the community
have been successful in challenging the previously existing groups.
Lieberman (1979) wrote of the important role teachers often play in
determining who is management. In some instances, teacher organizations
have a decisive influence on school board elections.
In an article entitled "Eggs I Have Laid" published in the Phi
Delta Kappan in 1979, Lieberman pointed out that political activity
at the state level pays the teacher larger dividends than it does other
workers. For example, governors and state legislators play an important
role in educational funding decisions.
Richardson (1975) reported in the American School Board Journal
his concern that the advent of collective bargaining signaled an
end to the school board as we know it because teachers are not likely
to waste their time bargaining with a group that does not hold the
purse strings. He feared that negotiations would move to the state
capitals and all real decisions would be made there. Gothold (1974)
found that participants in negotiations saw the process as producing
wins and losses. Teachers often felt that they had won while admin-
istrators seldom felt that they had won or lost. Herndon (1969) stated
that teachers will become more militant and more aggressive in asserting
their right to have some measure of partnership in deciding upon the
new directions of educational planning.
Lieberman (1981) insisted that collective bargaining was inconsistent
with democratic government and "intellectually, it was already dead" (p. 231).
He offered the opinion that collective bargaining contributed to the
erosion of public support for education. Lieberman stated that the
power struggle between school boards and teacher unions often resulted
in excessive protective measures for teachers. Teachers seeking special
protections became more active in the union and the negotiating process
in order to realize their special needs. Lieberman asserted that these
special interest groups were typically more active than the public-at-
large on the issues of special concern to the group. Divers (1981)
found that dissatisfied teachers were most active in the union.
Stoll (1977) asserted that teachers should be more concerned
about the quality of their cohorts; school boards should better inform
the public about school finance and governance; and the public should
have a direct role in bargaining.
Shanker (1979) noted a lack of confidence in the public schools
by the American people, coupled with growing expectations about increased
standards regarding basic skills, academic enhancement, and student
discipline and behavior. He suggested that teachers, empowered by
collective bargaining, have entered the political arena in large numbers
and should have a significant impact in future elections.
Collective bargaining is a political process because it involves
the use of power in decision-making. One must have political power
to bargain effectively. Movements toward collective bargaining
expedited realignments and power exchanges among education groups.
The power of well-organized interest groups has been noticeable in
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), established in Chicago
in 1916 and affiliated with the AFL, was the prime mover of teacher
unionism (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976). The AFT used aggressive bargaining
to achieve important gains for teachers in some of the largest cities
in the nation and has grown in power to rival the National Education
Association (NEA) for the control of teachers. Predictions of a
merger of the NEA and AFT organizations have failed to materialize
but if teachers decide to put together a national union, a war chest,
and political influence, control of the schools may be affected
(Damerell & Hillson, 1974).
Private sector labor relations laid the groundwork for present
statutory and judicial regulation of union activity. This is reflected
in many ways in state statutes governing public employee collective
bargaining. Scope of bargaining, representation procedures, impasse
redress, all are representative of the private experience (Alexander,
1980). An area that differs from the private sector is the restraint
against strikes which is most often forbidden by state legislation.
However, the employee in the private sector has no control over his
management unless by union contract. In the public sector, the
employee can remove his or her employer from office. "In short, the
strict dichotomy between employer and employee in the private sector
has no exact counterpoint in the public sector" (Werne, 1974, p. 11).
President Nixon's Executive Order 11491 recognized the right of
federal employees to join labor organizations for the purpose of
dealing with grievances, but that order expressly defined strikes,
work stoppages and slow-downs as unfair labor practices (Alexander,
Corns, & McCann, 1975). The Supreme Court of Florida ruled in
Pinellas County Classroom Teachers Association v. Board of Public
Instruction of Pinellas County (1968) that teachers had contracted
with the government and,if they wished, could terminate the contract
legally or illegally and suffer the results thereof. However, they
could not strike against the government and retain the benefits of
their contract positions (Alexander, Corns, & McCann, 1975).
Donald Hill, President of the Minnesota Education Association,
an NEA affiliate, reported in "Newsfront," Phi Delta Kappan (1981),
that contracts produced salary increases of 25 to 45 percent over the
two years since Minnesota enacted a new state law that permits teacher
unions to strike if mediation efforts fail. Minnesota had more
teacher strikes in 1981 than in the past nine years combined.
Regulation of Political Campaigns
The area of legal concern regarding regulation of political
campaigns is contained in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.
The 1971 Act prohibits direct or indirect contributions by a corporation
or labor organization to any candidate or political committee but
permits the establishment, administration, and solicitation of contri-
butions to a separate segregated fund to be used for political purposes
by a corporation or labor organization. Such a fund may not be raised
by coercion, dues, fees, or other monies required as a condition of
membership. U.S. Attorney General William French Smith (1972) prepared
a summary of the law which stated that the new law authorized the
promotion and maintenance of a separate and voluntary political fund
which may be given to selected campaigns subject only to the reporting
and bookkeeping requirements of state and federal governments. In
Florida funds are collected by the AFT political funding arm, A-TIGER,
and the Florida Teaching Profession (FTP). These funds have become
potent political war chests.
Politics in Education
The editor of the Phi Delta Kappan (1968) stated in an editorial
that, "If politics is defined as the attainment and utilization of power,
and if power is the potential for influence, it is obvious that politics
and education are inseparable" (p. 289). Martin (1962) pointed out,
Politics may be taken to concern (1) the process of
governance within the schools, (2) the process by
which the schools are controlled by and held responsi-
ble to people, or (3) the process of decision-making
as it relates to other governments. (p. 53-54)
Historically, public education has been assumed to be outside of
the normal political arenas. School elections according to Nystrand
and Cunningham (1973) had been non-partisan. This naive attitude began
to change in the 1950's. Corey (1968) stated that no segment of
American government was so thoroughly political as the schools.
Campbell, Cunningham, McPhee, and Nystrand (1970) found that
educational policy making at all levels was immersed in politics.
Bailey (1962) stated that, "Education is one of the most thoroughly
political enterprises in American life" (p. 8). Lutz emphasized,
The policies established by a school board are the
result of political processes, and not simply those
by which board members are elected or appointed by
elected officials, but also those which mobilize
the social power of organizations and groups to
influence the behavior of school boards.
(lannaccone & Lutz, 1970, p. 13)
There have been very few serious studies in the area of teacher
involvement in politics or which address themselves directly to teacher
participation in actual campaigns (Duffy, 1975, p. 16). In the past
teachers as an occupational group have tended to remain passive, or
at least to refrain from active participation in the electoral processes
which underly policy formation or change. lannaccone and Cistone
(1974) encouraged educational leaders, lay and professional alike,
to become politicians. They pointed out, "rising teacher militancy
may be the most critical factor leading to a new political world in
education" (p. 104). Brunetti (1974) stated that educators must
become politically sophisticated. They must be able to recognize the
source and force of political resistance and how to manipulate situations
to achieve their objectives.
There is evidence of a growing proportion of teachers using their
professional teachers' organizations as a vehicle for extending
political preferences into group action. However, some association
leaders maintain the view that their organizations are best fulfilled
independent from political parties. Many authors have noted the rise
of teacher militancy (Corwin, 1975; Donley, 1976; lannaccone & Cistone,
1974; Reeves, 1973; Shanker, 1975).
World War II has been seen as a watershed, with the post-war
period, bringing in more males, and especially more aggressive males
into the ranks of the classroom teachers. By the mid-1960's the
number of men teaching in elementary schools had increased significantly
and men made up a majority of the teachers in senior high schools. The
educational level rose, the turnover rate dropped, and the feeling of
professionalism grew (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976, p. 411).
By the year, 1974, most teachers (72.4%) were members of the
National Educational Association or the American Federation of Teachers
(Rankin & Wheeler, 1977, p. 44). The journals of these organizations
maintained a steady stream of pleading for greater activism on the
part of their members. The journal of the school boards, on the other
hand, often contained articles pointing out the evils of teacher
involvement in politics.
Corey (1968) encouraged the professions to show as much interest
in improving education as they had shown in improving salaries if they
want a voice in determining educational policies. The American School
Board Journal examined the purpose behind teacher power. "Its aim is
simple--to put enough pressure on enough elected officials at local,
state, and national levels to marshal their support for teacher union
causes" (1975, p. 42). Increasing numbers of articles indicated the
level of interest in this subject.
Groups of teachers, organized in their own behalf, constituted a
new force to contend with in the electoral process. Hess (1981) linked
electoral power to legislative influence. She stated the strength of
a lobby is a function of the political sophistication and activity of
The Educational Power Structure
The quality of schools has been influenced by educational
politics and the political leadership of educators. Agger and Goldstein
(1971) wrote that the public schools are political systems that are
influenced by and, in turn, influence other political systems. Schools
are influenced by policy decisions concerning planning, population
control, economics, and energy. Educational politics involves knowledge
of the local board of education, local school district, the community,
the state, and the federal government (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976, p. 333).
Although the schools are technically under the board of education, they
are also a subsystem of the larger political system and are influenced
by the exercise of political power in the larger system.
Studies describing the political power structure of local communities,
such as the research of Warner (1949) in Democracy in Jonesville and Lynd and
Lynd (1937) in Middletown in Transition, provided information about
political power in selected communities.
Studies of community power structures during the 1950's were heavily
influenced by the idea that the power structure of one large city was
similar to the power structure of most large cities (Kimbrough &
Nunnery, 1976). Results of the studies established that power structures
were different among communities. Generalizations could not be made
from one city to most other cities. Although similar patterns could
be found among districts of similar types of control, each power structure
had unique characteristics (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976, p. 338).
Johns and Kimbrough (1968) indicated that at least four types of
power structures may be found in school districts. They classified
power structures according to the structure of power groups, competition
on issues and participation of citizens, etc. The monopolistic power
structure was controlled by a single group of leaders who stifled
conflicts and resulted in little citizen participation. The multigroup
noncompetitive power structure was controlled by several important power
groups who basically agreed concerning policy directions of the district.
The competitive elite structure was open to debate upon politics but
participation of the general public was weak. Pluralism was held up
as the ideal power structure of democracy (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976).
There was widespread participation of the citizens of the school
district in decision-making. The citizens often formed voluntary
associations to make their views felt in decisions. The organized
interest groups provided means for expressing the will of the citizens.
This system was open to the emergence of new leaders. Citizen partici-
pation was effective as a large percentage of the people in the community
participated, and those who governed were responsive to the will of the
In her dissertation, True (1974) described the political structure
of Alachua County, Florida (the setting of this study), as pluralistic
since the early 1960's when professionals on the university staff waged
a successful campaign to change the university policy which prohibited
university staff from participating in local and state politics. This
began a period of active civic involvement on the part of faculty
members and leaders from other interest sectors of the area.
McQuown, Hamilton, and Scheider (1964) discussed the change from
a monopolistic to a pluralistic political structure which occurred
during the 1963 city elections in The Political Restructuring of a
Community (p. 58). Affiliates of nationwide business organizations
and university personnel combined forces to elect candidates to office
(True, 1974, p. 34). Citizen participation in organized interest
groups and voluntary associations continued into the present year
in the Alachua County School district.
The Florida Educational Power Structure
One of the major developments in Florida political life was the
urbanization of the legislature through reapportionment. A reappor-
tionment plan developed by Manning J. Dauer, Professor at the University
of Florida, was adopted in 1967. The 1885 Constitution was revised
in 1968 providing for reapportionment after each decennial census with
the State Supreme Court automatically reviewing the plan.
The 1968 constitution reorganized state government by allowing
annual sessions, increasing legislative pay to $12,000, and providing
standing committees, assigned secretarial help and permanent staffs.
The transition from the "old order" to a "new order" saw the emergence
of the legislature as an initiator of educational legislation.
Prior to these sweeping changes during the late 1960's the Florida
Department of Education exercised great influence upon the legislature.
The success of the Department of Education in adapting to a legislature
that was capable of initiating educational proposals and formulating
alternatives to Department of Education proposals is still undecided.
The transition from "old order" to "new order" was not without
bitterness. The rising teacher militancy in the early 1960's culminated
in a statewide teacher strike in February 1968. The Florida Education
Association, which had spearheaded the strike, lost much of its power
when the support from the public failed to materialize and teachers
returned to work in county after county. DePalma (1973) noted, "The
organizational effectiveness of the FEA was destroyed following the
failure of militant action" (p. 58).
In describing the relationship of teacher lobby groups to state
legislatures, lannaccone (1967) proposed four types of state power
structures. These four types were (a) a locally-based disparate
structure; (b) a state-wide monolithic structure; (c) a state-wide
fragmented structure; and (d) a state-wide syndical structure. The
lannaccone Model description of a state-wide fragmented type inter-
action between the state legislature and a pluralization of educational
interest groups unable to agree and work together (lannaccone, 1967)
appears to describe the current situation in the state of Florida.
Campbell and Mazzoni (1974) pointed out that teachers' associations
and school board groups, often with conflicting views, were ranked
as being most influential among educational interest groups in the
However, there is some evidence that labor unions are not presently
very influential in Florida. Dauer (1980) discussed the influence of
labor unions in Florida. He cited the public employee sector, the
building trades and transportation as areas where labor unions were
strongest. The comparative shortage of manufacturing meant that many
of the traditional unions did not play the role they did in the
industrialized states of the North.
Various authors have argued that pluralism best explained and
described the functions of the governmental process in democratic
countries with free press, open political parties, and equality before
the law and that the U.S. government and Florida's government fell in
this category (Dauer, 1980). Although every citizen may not have
equal impact, access is provided, and there is a commitment to the
principle of equality before the law. The impact of lobbies and
campaign contributions is evidence of a pluralistic government (Dauer,
1980, p. 494). Lobbyists influence the process of legislation as
well as the work of executive agencies. Public interest lobbies like
Common Cause and the League of Women Voters have an impact on many
issues. These lobbies indicate that the citizen, when he organizes
with others, has an impact on policy decisions. Dauer (1980) cited
the adoption of the fiscal disclosure amendmentto the Florida Constitution
as an excellent example of direct impact by organized voters after
three sessions of the Florida legislature had refused to enact a
stringent fiscal disclosure law.
Yet, ideologically speaking, Florida is moderately conservative.
Since World War II the state has gone Democratic in three presidential
elections (for Truman in 1948, Johnson in 1964, and Carter in 1976)
and Republican in six (Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956 and Nixon in 1960,
1968, and 1972 and Reagan in 1980 (Dauer, 1980)). In state politics,
Republicans have held only 35 percent of the seats in the legislature,
and this figure had fallen to just under 30 percent of the total at the
beginning of the eighties. Democrats, building on a long tradition
of one-party dominion, have stronger party organizations at the state
and county levels and offer candidates in local elections in almost
all counties (Dauer, 1980).
Dauer (1980) ranked the state as the eighth most populous with
a rapid growth pattern. He cited the comparatively low level of
taxation and support for social services and public education (p. 496)
as evidence of ideological conservatism. During the early 1980's
Governor Graham pushed for increased state support for education
(Dauer, 1980). However, this has not proved to be successful because
recently released data indicate that the state has slipped to 37th
in salaries for school teachers.
Dauer (1980) stated the belief that Florida is entering another
period of change. Dauer feels that the moderate-conservative social
and economic basis of most of the state is not likely to be modified;
however, there is no sign that problems such as the energy issue,
inflation, growth, etc. will decrease. Under these circumstances, he
suggested, the citizen is best advised to give serious attention to
elections and to the political process as such citizen impact is
vital in the democratic process (Dauer, 1980).
Milbrath's Hierarchy of Political Involvement
The question of how and why persons become involved in politics
and the manner in which citizens participate in their political process
affects the way the system functions.
In his book, Political Participation: How and Why Do People Get
Involved in Politics, Milbrath (1965) noted that numerous studies
indicate a relationship between organizational membership and partici-
pation in political activity. Persons active in organized interest groups
aremore likely to exercise their influence in politics as organizations
tend to stimulate political participation. Generally, the more political
stimuli received by a person, the more likely he is to be active in
politics (Milbrath, 1965, p. 22). In addition to political stimuli
from organizational membership, friends may play an important role
in political participation. A study of political elites in two
communities showed that the urging of friends was a very important
factor in getting persons involved in community decision-making, much
more important than family influences (Jennings, 1964).
Based on his study of citizen participation Milbrath (1965)
proposed a hierarchy of political involvement, in that persons at a
given level of involvement tend to perform many of the same acts,
including those acts performed by persons at lower levels of involve-
ment (p. 16). An analysis of data on the American citizenry suggests
that persons cluster into three general types or roles along the active-
inactive dimension as shown in Figure 1. One group participates
passively in the political process; they do not engage in any of the
political acts shown in Figure 1. The second group participates in
Holding public and party office
Being a candidate for office
Soliciting political funds
Attending a caucus or a strategy
Becoming an active member in a
Contributing time in a political
Attending a political meeting or rally
Making a monetary contribution to a
party or candidate
Contacting a public official or a
Wearing a button or putting a sticker on
Attempting to talk another into voting
a certain way
Initiating a political discussion
Exposing oneself to political stimuli
Figure 1. Hierarchy of Political Involvement.
Source: Lester W. Milbrath, Political Participation (Chicago:
Rand McNally & Co., 1965), p. 18
some or all of the first five activities in the hierarchy. The third
very small group participates actively by attending meetings,
campaigning, becoming active in a political party, soliciting money,
and running for office.
The ranking shown in Figure 1 is based on percentages of Americans
who engage in the behavior.
Probably less than 1 percent of the American adult
population engage in the top two or three behaviors.
Only about 4 or 5 percent are active in a party,
campaign, and attend meetings. About 10 percent
make monetary contributions, about 13 percent contact
public officials, and about 15 percent display a
button or sticker. Around 25 or 30 percent try to
proselyte others to vote a certain way, and from 40
to 75 percent perceive political messages and vote
in any given election. (Milbrath, 1965, p. 19)
The hierarchy constitutes a natural progression of involvement
in active politics. Minimally involved persons confine their acts to
those acts low in the hierarchy. Persons participate in a wider
repertoire of political acts moving upward in the hierarchy as they
become more involved in politics. Milbrath relates the groups to a
Roman gladiatorial context. Those who do not bother to view the
contest are called "apathetics." "Spectators" cheer, provide encour-
agement and vote to decide who has won the battle. "Gladiators"
solicit money and battle to please the spectators (Milbrath, 1965).
Personality and environmental factors encourage persons to stay
in their roles. Milbrath wrote that a person needed a strong push or
to feel very strongly about an issue before he would change from
spectator to political combatant (Milbrath, 1965, p. 21). Persons
with intense preferences were especially likely to proselytize others,
but they were more likely than those with weak preferences to carry out
other political activities as well. Campbell and Valen (1961) found
older persons tended to have stronger party preferences than younger.
About one-third of the adult population can be classified apathetic.
Approximately 60 percent play the spectator role and five to seven
percent can be classified as gladiators (Milbrath, 1965, p. 21). The
proportions apply to elections for the President of the United States.
The proportions for state and local elections of apathetics are larger.
This also applies to the American South.
Transitions occurred at two points on Milbrath's hierarchy.
Transition from apathetic to spectator would involve seeking information
as a way of orienting a person as spectator and voter. Transition from
spectator to gladiator would probably involve attending meetings, and
making monetary contributions as first steps to becoming a gladiator
A general proposition relating stimuli and participation in
politics appeared repeatedly in the research findings: the more
political stimuli a person receives, the more likely he will participate
in politics (Almond & Verba, 1963; Marvick & Nixon, 1961; Rokkan &
Some studies have shown that members of labor unions, especially
those who identify strongly with the union, are more interested in
politics than nonmembers or weakly identified members (Benny, Gray, &
Pear, 1956; Kornhauser, Mayer, & Sheppard, 1956). Studies show that
labor union members are more likely to have stronger stands on issues,
and to vote than are nonunion laboring persons (Campbell, Gurin, &
Miller, 1954; Campbell, Converse, Miller, & Stokes, 1960; Campbell &
Kahn, 1952; McPhee & Glaser, 1962).
General group activity is highly related to participation in
politics because groups are important mobilizers of political action
by their members. Organizations that desire to mobilize their member-
ship politically facilitate turnout, recruit candidates, and boost
party membership (Lane, 1959; Lipset, 1960).
U.S. labor unions have some success in mobilizing their members
for political action but there have been exceptions. Miller (1952)
in a study of Waukegan of voter turnout prediction showed no differ-
ences in voting turnout between union and nonunion members. Milbrath
(1965) indicated labor union success has not been impressive. Dahl
(1961) concluded from his study of New Haven that "only the citizens
who expect current decisions to have important and immediate conse-
quences tend to be very active, and they are generally few in number"
Persons belonging to more than one group may find their groups
pulling in different directions which may cause them to be cross-
pressured (Benny et al., 1956; Fuchs, 1955; Kimbrough, 1964; Lipset,
1960). This frequently results in persons staying away from the polls.
Agger, Goldrich and Swanson (1964) suggested the longer a person
resides in a given community, the greater the likelihood of his partici-
pation in politics. Although length of residence correlates with
voting turnout, it seems especially relevant to gladiatorial activities
(Milbrath, 1965). Age, sex and race have all been related to political
participation. Milbrath stated that participation rises gradually
with advancing age leveling off at about age 35 or 40 (p. 135). Men
are more likely to participate in politics than women with data
supporting this proposition coming from at least nine countries
(Milbrath, 1965, p. 135).
Several writers found that blacks in the United States participate
in politics at a much lower rate than whites (Campbell et al., 1954;
Woodward & Roper, 1950). However Jensen found no significant differ-
ence in political participation between whites and blacks in a survey
in Evanston, Illinois (1960). Agger, Goldrich, and Swanson suggested
that racial and ethnic minorities are not always on the periphery in
certain communities. They may be at the center or have very good
access to it (1964, p. 269). A study of blacks in Florida politics
found a significant amount of bloc voting which can tip the balance
in close races (Price, 1955).
A study of participation rates and of the factors stimulating
participation suggested that intense political involvement had little
likelihood of developing as long as government functioned adequately,
allowing citizens to keep politics as a peripheral concern in their
lives (Milbrath, 1965).
Societies which had large numbers of people intensely interested
and active in politics tended to have wide and deep cleavages that
were very difficult to bridge. Intense feelings on both sides of an
issue stimulate political involvement which makes consensus remote
between contending forces (Milbrath, 1965).
School Board Elections
lannaccone and Lutz (1969) indicated teachers have become an
important factor in the politics of the local school board. Pellathy
(1971) noted an increasing political socialization and activism on the
part of teachers.
Fadem and Duffy (1973) wrote that 68 percent of teacher-supported
candidates for school board in the 1975 California elections won elec-
tions while only 50 percent of independent candidates were successful.
Duffy (1975) found that teacher involvement in school board elections
resulted in an increased chance for successful election. Visibility of
teacher support appeared to be no disadvantage to a candidate, but the
indirect evidence suggested the single-issue, or single-constituency
candidate could not compete successfully.
Rankin and Wheeler (1977) analyzed the impact which teacher
participation in school board elections had on education in California.
They concluded that the traditional balance of control of education
through community elected lay officials had been influenced by
professional associations. Substantial sums of money given by thousands
of teachers presented in a single check increased the importance of the
contribution on the candidate's views on school issues.
Corwin (1975) was concerned with the possible change in the
autonomy and discretionary power of the local school board. Rankin
and Wheeler's (1977) study revealed numerous attempts by teachers'
organizations to directly influence board members through unofficial
channels. Board members supported by the California Teachers Associa-
tion reported they had received more incidences of pressure from groups
outside the district than did non-supported board members. A majority
of the board members expressed an unfavorable opinion toward this
concept. Supported board members were perceived by school board
presidents as having more often supported or recommended administra-
tive personnel changes and favored a teacher point of view in conflict
situations (Rankin & Wheeler, 1977).
Political activity at the national level by teacher organizations
is on the increase. Reeves (1973) reported that more than $3,000,000
collected from teachers in small amounts was distributed to candidates
The Okland Tribune in a column entitled "Teachers get more power
on boards" (1975, p. 3) quoted William Barton, legislative executive for
the California School Boards, as stating that "it is doubtful the public
knows how extensive the teachers' political contributions are." He
stated that amounts were given ranging from $250 to an assemblyman to
$25,000 for Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. Most assembly and senate
contributions ranged from $1,000 to $5,000, with a top of $10,000.
Organized teachers, trained by experts and supplied with how-to-
do-it materials, may constitute a new force to contend with in the
electoral process. School boards, legislative candidates and political
leaders in general should be concerned with evaluating the future
impact of such an approach.
The literature concerning the control of education and the
participation of teachers in the political process was discussed in
this chapter. Since the early 1950's the nation has witnessed a
growth in teacher militancy, in collective bargaining by teachers,
and in teacher participation in the political process. This was
attended by numerous court decisions facilitating the civil rights of
teachers and other public employees. Several questions remain concerning
how effectively the rank-and-file teacher participates. Milbrath's
(1965) model for participation was presented and discussed.
PRESENTATION OF THE DATA
Responses to the items in the interview guide are presented in
this chapter. In some cases respondents gave more than one answer to
the question. Not all respondents answered all items. For example, in
selecting an election, issue or problem "with which you have been
concerned," a respondent might decline to answer or mention that he
or she was actively involved in many recent elections.
As noted previously, interview data were collected from a sample
of 100 teachers. Seven officers of the Alachua County Education
Association were also interviewed including the Past President,
President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary,
Treasurer, and Collective Bargaining Committee Chairman. Three of the
seven officers were included in the sample of 100 teachers selected
at random. Respondents were first contacted by letters from the
writer's advisor and the writer and then telephoned by the writer to
arrange interviews. Most interviews were conducted by telephone;
however, personal interviews were arranged with four respondents.
The first phase of this study was concerned with the level of
teacher participation in political activities. A model depicting
a hierarchy of citizen involvement was developed from which
this pattern was discerned. This was shown as Figure 1 and discussed
in Chapter Two, pages 40 through 45.
According to the model of the hierarchy of citizen involvement,
citizens participating are classified into one of three categories:
gladiatorial, transitional and spectator participation. Citizens
who do not participate in political activities at all are classified
as apathetics. The questions are developed from the hierarchy of
political involvement developed by Milbrath (1965).
Exposing oneself to political stimuli by listening to political
talk was considered the lowest form of citizen participation and
holding a political or party office was considered the highest.
Question number 23 on the interview guide presented the hierarchy of
political involvement items a through n (See Appendix A).
The Level of Participation in
Political Activities by Teachers
Item 23 of the interview guide was designed to collect data
relative to the level of participation in political activities.
Teachers were asked to respond to the following statement. How have
you participated in the following ways during the most recent local,
state, or national elections?
a. Listening to political talk
c. Initiating a political discussion
d. Attempting to talk another into voting
a certain way
e. Wearing a button or putting a sticker on the car
f. Contacting a public official or a political
g. Making a monetary contribution to a party or
h. Attending a political meeting or rally
i. Contributing time in a political campaign
j. Becoming an active member in a political party
k. Attending a caucus or a strategy meeting
1. Soliciting political funds
m. Becoming a candidate for public office
n. Holding public and/or party office
The following tables present frequencies of teacher responses to
this question. The patterns of participation reported by the 100
randomly selected teachers employed by the School Board of Alachua
County and the seven Alachua County Education Association officers
are summarized in Table 1 and Table 2. At the time of the interviews,
seven teachers reported they were building representatives, serving
as liaison between the faculty and principal; however, an additional
21 teachers stated that they had served as a building representative
at some time in the past. The data are presented in four categories:
total group, teachers, building representatives, and ACEA officers.
The category for building representatives includes the 28 teachers
who are or have been building representatives.
When analyzing Table 1 and Table 2, one is aware that people
respond to their community political systems in varied ways. Table 1
shows the levels of participation reported by the selected teachers
Pattern of Political Participation of Selected
Teachers, Building Representatives, and ACEA Officers
Level of Total Teachers Building ACEA
Participation Group Representatives Officers
Apathetics 3 3 0 0
Spectators 7 7 0 0
Transitional 35 28 7 0
Gladiators 59 31 21 7
n = 104 69 28 7
Pattern of Teacher, Building Representative, and
ACEA Officer Participation in Political Activities
Level of Total Teachers Building ACEA
Participation Group Representatives Officers
Apathetics 3 3 0 0
Spectators 7 7 0 0
Transitional 35 28 7 0
Gladiators 32 22 9 1
Pure Gladiators 27 9 12 6
n = 104 69 28 7
in the study. Fifty-nine of the respondents reported that they
participated at the gladiatorial level, whereas only three gave
responses placing them in the apathetic level. This is at consider-
able variance with Milbrath (1965). However, Milbrath (1965) identified
gladiators in the purest sense of the word as those who participate
in the top three steps of the Hierarchy of Political Involvement by
soliciting political funds, being a candidate for office, or holding
public and party office. He stated that only one or two percent of
the American adult population could be called gladiators. Based on
this restricted definition of gladiator, Table 2 has been enlarged
to include "pure gladiators".
ACEA officers and teachers who had been building representatives
participated in political activities at a higher level than teachers
who had never been in a leadership role in the ACEA. A chi-square
test of independence shows that the relationship between level of
participation in political activities and type of respondent is
significant at the .05 level.
Table 2 shows that only 27 of the sample reported patterns of
political participation at the "pure gladiator" level, leaving 32 at
the Gladiator level. A chi-square test of independence shows that
the relationship between level of participation in political
activities and type of respondent is significant at the .05 level.
ACEA officers and teachers who had been building representatives
participated in political activities at higher levels than teachers
who had never held leadership roles in the teachers' union.
Table 3 presents the grade level representation of the teachers
and ACEA officers interviewed for this study.
Grade Level Representation of 100 Randomly
Selected Teachers and ACEA Officers
Teachers ACEA Officers
Elementary 59 3
Middle School 17 3
High School 24 1
n= 100 7
Table 4 shows the reported patterns of participation by teachers by
elementary,middle, and secondary schools. The reader will note that
the middle school teachers reported greater pure gladiator and gladiator
participation than did the elementary school and secondary school
teachers. This is at some variance with the generally held idea that
secondary school teachers may be more participative in the higher
levels. Only five out of 24 or 21 percent of the secondary school
teachers reported pure gladiatorial participation compared to 6 out
of 13 or 35 percent of the middle school teachers. No teacher at the
middle school level reported participation at the spectator or apathetic
levels. However, a chi-square test of independence shows that the
relationship between level of participation in political activities
and grade level of respondent is not significant at the .05 level. There
is no significant difference between elementary, middle school, and high
school respondents regarding the reported level of participation in
Table 5 shows the reported patterns of participation by male and
female teachers. The number of male teachers and female teachers
who participated at or above the gladiatorial level of political
participation was nearly identical.
A chi-square test of independence shows that the relationship
between level of participation in political activities and sex of
respondents is not significant at the .05 level. Therefore, there is
no significant difference between male and female respondents
regarding the level of participation in political activities.
Pattern of Elementary, Middle School, and High School
Teacher Participation in Political Activities
Levels of Elementary Middle High
Participation Elementary School School
Apathetics 2 0 1
Spectators 2 0 5
Transitional 25 5 5
Gladiators 17 6 8
Pure Gladiators 13 6 5
n= 59 17 24
Pattern of Male and Female Teacher
Participation in Political Activities
Levels of Participation Male Female
Apathetics 0 3
Spectators 4 3
Transitional 6 29
Gladiators 4 27
Pure Gladiators 7 17
n= 21 79
As requested by the writer, the Supervisor of Elections for
Alachua County, Florida, compared the voters' registrations and
voting records during the past two years of the randomly selected
teachers and Alachua County Education Association officers. The
records indicated the majority of the respondents were registered to
vote and had participated by voting in the primary and general
elections since 1980.
Of the 97 teachers who had indicated they were registered
voters, six were not registered to vote and two who were registered
had not voted. The seven ACEA officers were registered and had
voted in recent elections.
The Level of Political Awareness
of Teachers in Alachua County
The second phase of the study was conducted to determine the
respondent's level of political awareness as indicated by his or her
ability to identify local school board members, county commissioners,
state and national legislators. The writer asked the respondent to
name selected public officials in questions 29 through 33 of the inter-
Table 6 depicts identification of local school board members
by the teachers, building representatives, and ACEA officers inter-
viewed for this study. The mean number of school board members
identified by the teachers equaled 3.8. ACEA officers identified
Identification of Local School Board Members
rd Member Total Building ACEA
Identified Group Teachers Representatives Officers
5 53 30 16 7
4 18 10 8
3 14 10 4
2 7 7
1 5 5
0 7 7
n = 104 69 28 7
S= 3.8 3.5 4.4 5
the seven school board members without exception. Only 53 of the
teachers could name all five school board members and seven teachers
were unable to name any school board members.
The relationship between the number of school board members
identified and the level of participation in the teachers' organiza-
tion was significant at the .05 level. Teachers who had served in
a leadership role in the teachers' organization identified more
school board members than did teachers who had not held leadership
roles in the union.
Identification of individual school board members is shown in
Table 7. Charles Chestnut was the most frequently identified school
board member with 84 percent of the teachers interviewed for this
study able to provide his name when asked to name all the current
school board members. Chestnut is the only black member of the board
and the current Chairman of the School Board. ACEA officers were
able to name all the current school board members. Of some interest
is the fact that Bob Howe had served on the board for many years and had
received much visibility during this time as President of the Florida
School Boards Association and as Vice President of the National School
Boards Association. Yet, he was named by only 64 percent of the
respondents. At the time of the interviews, the teachers' union had
targeted the three incumbent board members for defeat in the 1982
school board elections. Using the slogan, "Three new in 82", the
union supported selected candidates in each of the three races with
donations and endorsements. Two of the incumbents, Ann Muga and Bob
Howe, declined to seek re-election; however, Shelton Boyles sought a
Identification of Individual Board Members
School Board Members
Teacher ACEA Officers
Charles Chestnut 84 7
Shelton Boyles 78 7
Ann Muga 78 7
Barbara Gallant 76 7
Bob Howe 64 7
third term of office. Boyles and Muga were identified by 78 of the
respondents. Gallant, a retired teacher and former officer in the
ACEA, was identified by 76 teachers.
The chi-square test of independence shows the relationship between
the number of school board members identified and the level of
participation in the teachers' organization was significant at the
.05 level. Teachers who had served in a leadership role in the
teachers' organization identified more school board members than
teachers who had not held leadership roles in the union.
Table 8 depicts identification of Alachua County's four state
legislators by the teachers and ACEA officers interviewed for this
study. At the time of the study, the Alachua County delegation to
the legislature included four legislators of which there were two
members of the state senate and two members of the house of represen-
The mean number of state legislators identified by the teachers
equaled 2.2. The mean number of state legislators identified by
the ACEA officers equaled 3.3. Again, these data are not indicative
of a high degree of sophistication in political participation by
most of the participants. Only 19 of the teachers could name all
members of the delegation. Furthermore, a chi-square test of indepen-
dence shows no significant difference in the identification of state
legislators representing Alachua County by teachers, building
representatives, and ACEA officers at the .05 level of confidence.
Identification of individual state legislators is shown in
Table 9. State Senator George Kirkpatrick was the most frequently
Identification of State Legislators
Representing Alachua County
Number of Total Teachers Building ACEA
Legislators Group Representatives Officers
4 19 10 6 3
3 27 18 6 3
2 25 15 9 1
1 18 12 6
0 15 14 1
n = 104 69 28 7
x = 2.2 2.0 2.4 3.3
Identification of Individual State Legislators
Teachers ACEA Officers
George Kirkpatrick 76 6
Pete Skinner 29 3
Sid Martin 62 7
Jon Mills 46 6
identified state legislator identified by the teachers with 76 percent
able to name him. State Representative Sid Martin was most frequently
identified by the ACEA officers with 100 percent able to name him.
Interestingly, George Kirkpatrick was a member of the Education Committee
of the senate, whereas neither Mills nor Martin served on the education
committee of the house. Whether Kirkpatrick's visibility was a result
of several highly visible controversies concerning his stand on the
Equal Rights Amendment or to his position on the education committee
is not known. Less than a third of the teachers could name Pete
Skinner and less than half named Jon Mills.
Table 10 depicts identification of Alachua County Commissioners
by the teachers, building representatives, and ACEA officers interviewed
for this study. The mean number of county commissioners identified
by the teachers equaled 1.0. Building representatives identified a
mean of 1.2 commissioners, and ACEA officers identified a mean of 3.0
county commissioners. Alachua County has a total of five county
commissioners and operates under a County Executive Form of government
with the five county commissioners serving as the legislative body.
A county administrator is appointed for administration of all the
affairs of the county. Candidates for the County Commission run on
a party ticket and must reside in the resident district they seek to
represent although they are elected by the county at large for a four
year term, terms staggered with no limit on the number of terms they
A chi-square test of independence shows a significant difference
between teachers, building representatives, and ACEA officers in
Identification of Alachua County Commissioners
Number Commissioners Total Building ACEA
Identified Group Teachers Representatives Officers
5 4 2 0 2
4 5 3 1 1
3 10 5 3 2
2 15 8 7 0
1 26 19 6 1
0 44 32 11 1
n = 104 69 28 7
x = 1.2 1.0 1.2 3.0
the identification of Alachua County Commissioners at the .05 level
Identification of individual Alachua County Commissioners is
outlined in Table 11.
Tom Coward was the most frequently identified county commissioner
with 26 percent of the teachers interviewed for this study able to
provide his name when asked to name all the current county commissioners.
Mr. Coward is the only black member of the county commission. John
Schroepfer was most frequently identified by the ACEA officers with
six of the seven officers able to name him. Of some interest is the
fact that Jack Durrance has just completed over 28 years in office
and has been a highly visible member and chairman of the board of
commissioners. Moreover, both Tom Coward and Ed Turlington are
teachers and, prior to transferring to community college teaching,
Mr. Turlington was an administrator in the central office of Alachua
Alachua County is represented in the Congress by one representa-
tive and the two U.S. Senators. In order to gauge teacher sensitivity
to political participation, each respondent was asked to name these
persons. Table 12 depicts identification of the three national
legislators who represent Alachua County by the teachers and ACEA
officers interviewed for this study. These included the two senators
and one representative. The mean number of national legislators
identified by the teachers equaled 1.3. The mean number of national
legislators identified by building representatives equaled 1.5 and
ACEA officers equaled 2.7. Almost one-fourth of the teachers could
Identification of Individual
Alachua County Commissioners
Teacher ACEA Officers
Tom Coward 26 5
John Schroepfer 24 6
Sonny Lee 23 3
Ed Turlington 21 4
Jack Durrance 20 3
Identification of National Legislators
Representing Alachua County
Number of Total Teachers Building ACEA
Legislators Group Representatives Officers
3 21 10 6 5
2 32 21 9 2
1 27 21 6
0 24 17 7
n = 104 69 28 7
x = 1.5 1.3 1.5 2.7
not name one of the three national politicians representing the area.
However, the ACEA officers were able to name two or more of these
A chi-square test of independence shows there is a significant
difference in the ability to identify national legislators representing
Alachua County by teachers, building representatives, and ACEA officers
at the .05 level of confidence.
Identification of the individual national legislators representing
Alachua County is outlined in Table 13. Senator Lawton Chiles was
the most frequently identified national legislator with 58 percent of
the teachers interviewed for this study able to provide his name when
asked to name the national legislators. Senator Chiles and Congressman
Don Fuqua were most frequently identified by the ACEA officers with 100
percent able to identify them. Only 35 percent of the teacher sample
could name Paula Hawkins even though she has for the past decade
been highly visible in Florida politics. Congressman Fuqua has served
Alachua County for almost two decades, since 1962, in the U.S. House
In order to look at teacher participation in political activities
along with the number of years residency in Alachua County, the following
tables are included. Table 14 depicts the number of years residency in
Alachua County for teachers and ACEA officers. Table 15 outlines
levels of participation in political activities for teachers residing
in Alachua County for less than five years, less than ten years, less
than 20 years, and more than 20 years.
Teachers with more than 20 years residency had the largest number
of "pure gladiators" at 39 percent with 14 out of a possible 36. The
Identification of Individual National Legislators
Representing Alachua County
Teachers ACEA Officers
Senator Lawton Chiles 58 7
Senator Paula Hawkins 35 5
Congressman Don Fuqua 51 7
Number of Years Residency in Alachua County
for Interviewed Teachers and ACEA Officers
Teachers ACEA Officers
0-5 10 0
5 10 15 0
10 20 37 4
20 plus 36 3
n= 98* 7
* Two teachers live in another county.
Participation in Political Activities by Teachers'
Length of Residence in Alachua County
Level of 20 Years
5 Years 10 Years 20 Years
Apathetics 2 0 0 1
Spectators 1 2 3 0
Transitional 3 4 14 14
Gladiators 4 5 15 7
Pure Gladiators 0 4 5 14
n= 10 15 37 36
opposite was true for teachers with less than five years residency in
Alachua County as there were no "pure gladiators" in that category. A
chi-square test of independence shows the relationship between level
of participation in political activities and respondents' number of
years residency in Alachua County is significant at the .05 level.
The discrepancy between (E) expected frequency and (0) observed
frequency is most evident at the "pure gladiatorial" level with
teachers who have been residents of Alachua County more than 20
years. (E) = 8.4 and (0) + 14.
The ages of the teachers and ACEA officers interviewed were
analyzed with the level of participation in political activities.
Table 16 displays the pattern of ages represented among the teachers
and ACEA officers. The levels of participation in political activities
for teachers ages 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, and 60 plus are displayed
in Table 17.
The pattern of participation indicates an increase in the number
of persons reporting themselves "pure gladiators" as age increases
with the largest number at 60 plus with two out of three describing
themselves as "pure gladiators." Only two out of eleven teachers in
the 21-30 age bracket reported themselves as "pure gladiators."
Moreover, there were more apathetic and spectator responses in the
21-30 and 31-40 age brackets. The chi-square test of independence,
however, shows that the relationship between level of participation
in political activities and age of respondent is not significant at
the .05 level of confidence.
Ages of Interviewed Teachers and ACEA Officers
Teachers ACEA Officers
21 30 11 0
31 40 56 4
41 50 22 2
51 60 8 1
60 plus 3 0
n = 100 7
Pattern of Participation in Political
Activities by Age Bracket
Level of 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 60 plus
Apathetics 1 2 0 0 0
Spectators 0 7 0 0 0
Transitional 3 19 8 4 1
Gladiators 5 19 6 1 0
Pure Gladiators 2 9 8 3 2
n= 11 56 22 8 3
Analysis of the race of the sample is provided in Table 18.
Black teachers constituted 15 percent of the sample.
Table 19 displays the level of participation in political
activities related to race. According to their reported activities,
the greatest number of white teachers participate at the transitional
level (38 percent) while the greatest number of black teachers
participate at the gladiator level (40 percent). Five out of 15
(33 percent) black teachers reported data placing them in the "pure
gladiatorial" level. However, a chi-square test of independence
shows that the relationship between level of participation in political
activities and race of respondents is not significant at the .05 level
The marital status of the teachers and ACEA officers interviewed
is presented in Table 20. The table shows that an overwhelming majority
of the sample of teachers was married. Only 13 percent were single
and only eight were divorced.
Table 21 presents data relating participation in political
activities to marital status of interviewed teachers. The single,
divorced, and widowed teachers reported higher percentages of
gladiatorial activities than married teachers. However, the
difference in levels of participation in political activities was not
significant as determined by a chi-square test of independence at the
.05 level of confidence.
In order to examine teacher participation in political activities
along with the highest degree earned by the interviewed teachers and
ACEA officers, the following tables are included. Table 22 depicts
Racial Composition of Interviewed
Teachers and ACEA Officers
Teachers ACEA Officers
Black 15 1
White 85 6
n 100 7
Pattern of Political Participation
of Sample by Race
Level of Participation
Apathetics 0 3
Spectators 1 6
Transitional 3 32
Gladiators 6 25
Pure Gladiators 5 19
n = 15 85
Marital Status of Teachers and ACEA Officers
Teachers ACEA Officers
Married 77 2
Single 13 2
Divorced 8 3
Widowed 2 0
n= 100 7
Pattern of Political Participation of
Teachers by Marital Status
Participation Married Single Divorced Widowed
Apathetics 1 1 1 0
Spectators 7 0 0 0
Transitional 29 4 1 1
Gladiators 24 4 3 0
Pure Gladiators 16 4 3 1
n = 77 13 8 2
Highest Degree Earned by 100 Randomly Selected
Teachers and ACEA Officers
Teachers ACEA Officers
Bachelors 43 1
Masters 49 5
Specialist 7 1
Doctorate 1 0
n= 100 7
the number of teachers and ACEA officers with the bachelors, masters,
specialist, or doctorate as the highest degree earned.
Table 23 outlines levels of participation in political activities
for teachers with the bachelors, masters, specialist/doctorate as the
highest earned degree. Thirty-one percent of the teachers with
master's degrees were listed as at the "pure gladiatorial" level,
whereas only 7 out of 43 teachers at the bachelor'slevel or 16 percent
reported themselves at this level. Of some interest is that most of
those holding degrees beyond the master's reported activities at the
spectator and transitional level.
The chi-square test of independence shows there is no significant
difference in the level of participation by teachers with the bachelors,
masters, or specialist/doctorate at the .05 level of confidence.
In order to look at teacher participation in political activities
along with organizational membership of the 100 randomly selected
teachers and the ACEA officers, the following tables are included.
Table 24 presents data related to teachers and ACEA officers who are
members of a civic organization and/or who are members of a church.
It is interesting to note that less than half of the teachers,
46 percent, are members of a civic organization and even fewer are
church members with 39 percent in that category.
Table 25 outlines levels of participation in political activities
by teachers who are members or nonmembers of a civic organization or
The highest percentage, 30 percent, of teachers who are "pure
gladiators" occurs among teachers who are members of at least one
Pattern of Political Participation of Teachers With
The Bachelors, Masters, Specialist/Doctorate Degree
Level of Bachelors Masters Specialist/
Apathetics 2 1 0
Spectators 3 3 1
Transitional 18 14 3
Gladiators 13 16 2
Pure Gladiators 7 15 2
n= 43 49 8
Organizational Membership of 100 Randomly
Selected Teachers and ACEA Officers
Civic Organization Church
Teachers Officers Teachers Officers
Member 46 2 39 2
Nonmember 54 5 61 5
n = 100 7 100 7
Pattern of Political Participation by Teachers Who Are
Members or Nonmembers of a Civic Organization
and/or Who Are Members of A Church
Levels of Civic Organization Church
Participation Members Nonmembers Members Nonmembers
Apathetics 2 1 1 2
Spectators 1 6 4 3
Transitional 9 26 12 23
Gladiators 20 11 11 20
Pure Gladiators 14 10 11 13
n = 46 54 39 61
civic organization with 14 out of 46 teachers in that category.
Thirty-four out of 46 or 74 percent of the teachers who were members
of a civic organization reported that they participated at the
gladiatorial level. Only 21 out of 54 or 39 percent of the nonmembers
participated at the gladiatorial level. A chi-square test of inde-
pendence shows that the relationship between level of participation
in political activities and respondents' membership in civic organiza-
tions is significant at the .05 level of confidence. This did not
prove to be true in the case of church membership. A chi-square test
of independence shows that the relationship between level of participa-
tion in political activities and respondents' church membership is not
significant at the .05 level of confidence. Church members partici-
pated at the gladiatorial level or above with 22 out of 39 or 56
percent in that category while nonmembers participated at the
gladiatorial level or above with 33 out of 61 or 54 percent.
Data collected during the in-depth interviews with the 100 randomly
selected teachers provided information in regard to membership in the
Alachua County Education Association. Seventy-four teachers inter-
viewed were members of the teachers' union. At the time of the inter-
views, seven teachers reported they were building representatives,
serving as liaison between the faculty and principal. The sample
figures correlate with the actual number of teachers who are building
representatives according to the Director of the Alachua County
Education Association with approximately 7.7 percent of the teachers
currently serving as building representatives. However, an additional
21 teachers reported they had served as a building representative at
some time in the past.
Table 26 presents information related to the level of participation
in political activities by teachers who are members of the Alachua
County Education Association and nonmembers.
A greater number of ACEA members, 45 out of 74 or 61 percent,
participated at the gladiatorial levels than nonmembers with 10 out
of 26 or 38 percent. However, the chi-square test of independence
shows no significant difference in the level of participation in
political activities and membership or nonmembership in the ACEA. This
analysis of the data in Table 26 included building representatives and
ACEA officers in the ACEA member category.
When asked if they were registered to vote, 97 percent of the
interviewed teachers indicated that they were registered. One hundred
percent of the ACEA officers were registered to vote.
Table 27 presents information related to party identification of
the 100 interviewed teachers and ACEA officers.
Approximately 70 percent of the teachers state they identify with
the Democratic political party. Thirteen percent of the teachers say
they are registered Democrats but vote independent. Among the inter-
viewed teachers only 7 percent say they are registered Republicans and
10 percent claim to be registered Independents. Republicans and
Independents often have limited participation in primary elections in
Alachua County, Florida, due to a lack of Republican and Independent
Pattern of Political Participation by Teachers
Who Are Members or Nonmembers of ACEA
Levels of Participation ACEA Members Nonmembers
Apathetics 2 1
Spectators 4 3
Transitional 23 12
Gladiators 26 5
Pure Gladiators 19 5
n = 74 26
Teacher Political Party
Political Party Teacher Building Rep. ACEA Officer
Democrat 49 17 6
Democrat/Independent 8 5 1
Republican 6 1 0
Independent 6 5 0
69 28 7