Site-based management, job autonomy, and principal turnover in the public education system

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Sai, Na
Roch, Christine H.
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The purpose of this dissertation is to examine whether the implementation of site-based management leads to higher levels of principal autonomy and more collaborative decision-making processes between principals and teachers. It also measures the effects of principals’ job autonomy and other principal- and school-related factors on the levels of principal turnover. The data of this dissertation mainly come from the 2011-12 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) and the 2012-13 Principal Follow-up Survey (PFS). The controlled principal- and school-related factors include the individual characteristics of the principal, the contextual factors of the school which assess the physical background of the school and the composition of the student and teacher body, and also the working conditions of the principal. Using Wald-tests, linear regression models and logit regression models, I find that charter school principals perceive that they have higher levels of job autonomy than do traditional public school principals. I also find more collaborative and democratic decision-making processes in charter schools than in traditional public schools. In addition, I find that the levels of principals’ job autonomy negatively affect their turnover rates. Charter school principals, however, are more likely than traditional public school principals to leave their jobs even though they enjoy higher levels of job autonomy. The differences in the contextual factors of the school drive the higher levels of turnover probability among charter school principals.
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