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Factors relating to elementary school principals' use of discretion in excusing absences and resulting conflict with parents

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Factors relating to elementary school principals' use of discretion in excusing absences and resulting conflict with parents
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Heim, Annabelle M. Schieferecke
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English
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xii, 141 leaves : forms ; 29 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
School attendance -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Elementary school principals -- Attitudes -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Home and school -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Elementary school principals -- Attitudes ( fast )
Home and school ( fast )
School attendance ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
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Case studies. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Case studies ( fast )

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Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, [School of Education], Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Annabelle M. Schieferecke Heim.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
26645408 ( OCLC )
ocm26645408
Classification:
LD1190.E3 1992d .H44 ( lcc )

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. FACTOR.S RELATING TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS 1 USE OF DISCRETION IN EXCUSING ABSENCES ,AND RESULTING CONFLICT WITH PARENTS by Annabelle M. Schieferecke Heim B.A., Metropolitan, College, 1976 M.A .. University of Colorado, 1978 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Administration, curriculum, and Supervision 1992

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This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Annabelle M. Schieferecke Heim has been approved for the School of Education by G. Mike Charleston Glenn T. Morris

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Heim, Annabelle M. Schieferecke (Ph.D., Administration, 1 curriculum, and Supervision) Factors Relating to Elementary School Principals' Use of Discretion in Excusing Absences and Resulting Cbnflict with Parents Thesis directed by Professor G. Mike Charleston This study was designed to explore the strength of a given set of factors explaining variation in elementary school student absences resulting from illness or injury, excused discretionary absences, or unexcused discretionary absences and the perception of crossfire resulting from the factors. From a set of 629 identified elementary school principals in Colorado a random sample of 314 principals was selected to participate. A questionnaire was developed to study the effects of the predictor variables--punitive nature of policy, strictness of the principal, and influence of the Public School Finance Act of 1988--on the dependent variables--crossfire, excused medical absences, excused discretionary absences, and unexcused discretionary absences. Four hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analyses were conducted to determine the

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iv relationship; between the dependent variables and the predictor variables. Influence accounted for approximately 12% of the variance in the regression equation for crossfire. strictness accounted for approximately 5% of the variance in the regression equation for unexcused discretionary absences. The interactions explained a statistically significant increment in the variance of the dependent variables that explained by the control variables and the main effects. Control variables accounted for approximately 40% of the variance in the reqresion equation for medical absences. ( These firdinqs suggest that the attendance portion of the Public' School Finance Act has impacted the relationship of principals and parents when the principals' discretionary authority is applied to absences. The extent of strictness of the principal affects the number of unexcused absences. The variance between excused medical absences and control variables was to be expected because as the total enrollment increased, the number of absences increased. Comments indicate that records have not been consistently maintained byprincipals to indicate a difference between excused and unexcused absences. In some cases all excuses given by parents are accepted as excused.

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v Based on the findings of the relationship between conflict and influence, control variables and excused medical absences, and strictness and unexcused absences, it was concluded that a need exists for elementary principals to reduce conflict with parents about absences by increasing parents' awareness of the importance of the attendance goal. Elementary principals should examine their perceptions of discretionary authority regarding absences. The form and.content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. G. Mike Charleston

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CONTENTS Tables X CHAPTER 1. 2. INTRODUCTION. 1 Statement of the Problem 6 Research Questions 7 Hypotheses 8 Need and Significance of the Study 9 Definitions of Terms .10 Limitations of the Study Organization of the Study . ... 12 .16 REVIEW OF RELEVANT LITERATURE . .17 Introduction Compulsory Education and Attendance Compulsory Education. Compulsory Attendance .17 .18 .19 .28 Development of Compulsory Education and Attendance in Colorado. .31 Compulsory Attendance Legislation .... 38 The Principal and Role Conflict. .40 Historical Perspective of the Principalship ........... 41 The School as a Social System .44 Nomothetic Dimension . .46

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3. Role. Idiographic Dimension Role and Personality. Role Conflict Summary .. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY Introduction Current Background Research Methodology vii .. 47 .47 .48 .50 .55 .57 .57 58 60 Description and Administration of the Instrument. 61 Type of Policy. . .62 Validity of Strictness Measure. .63 Influence Item. 65 crossfire 65 Demographic Data. 66 Attendance Data .66 Sampling Design. 67 Sample Population .67 Selection of Population .68 Data Gathering 68 Statistical Procedures 69 Data Analysis . . .70 Statistical Formula .71 Dependent Variables .71 Control Variable Set. .71 Order of Entry of Predictor Variables 72

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4. Presentation of the Findings Protection of Human Rights Summary PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA Introduction . . . viii 74 74 .75 .76 .76 .77 The Purpose of the Study Descriptive Statistics Sample Population . 77 . . .77 78 Questionnaire Results. Policy Item Information Items . .78 78 Non-punitive Attendance Policy Items 79 Punitive Attendance Policy Items. .79 . 80 8 3 Strictness Items Influence Items Crossfire Item. . . 83 84 Control and Predictor Variables Dependent Variables .87 Multiple Regression Correlation Analyses 91 Analysis of Crossfire ... 92 Excused Medical Absences 94 Unexcused Discretionary Absences. .97 Excused Discretionary Absences. .99 summary. ....... 100 5. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 102 Introduction 102 s UIIUJ'la ry . . . 102

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Conclusions. Discussion Recommendations .. APPENDIX. A. QUESTIONNAIRE B. LETTER OF INTRODUCTION CONSENT FORM FOLLOW-UP CARD . c. D. E. RESPONDENTS' COMMENTS. REFERENCES .. ix 106 112 115 117 118 123 125 127 129 138

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TABLES Table 4.1 Descriptive Statistics for Variable Sets Used in Four Analyses 85 4. 2 Sample Correlations 86 4.3 Number of Schools Included in the Sample by Location. . 90 4.4 Number of Schools Included in the Sample by Type . . . . 91 4.5 Results of Hierarchical Model Multiple Regression Correlation Analysis on Crossfire Data, n = 9 9. . . 94 4.6 Results of Hierarchical Model Multiple Regression Correlation Analysis on Excused Medical Absence Data, n = 78 ..... 96 4.7 Results of Hierarchical Model Multiple Regression Correlation Analysis on Unexcused Absence Data, n = 77. . . . . . 98

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS My most sincere gratitude is extended to the following people for their encouragement and assistance in the completion of this project: Dr. G .. Mike my major advisor for the past eight months, who unselfishly shared his time and statistical expertise to provide direction, guidance, advice, and support for the completion of this project. His willing,ness to work with a student whom he had just met is commendable. Without his optimism and assistance, this study would not have been completed. Dr. Sharon M. Ford, Dr. L. A. Napier, Dr. Nancy G. Christie, and Dr. Glenn T. Morris, as members of the advisory committee for their help and suggestions. Dr. Russel Meyers, my advisor and good friend through my master's program and most of my doctoral program, who worked with me on this research study until his untimely death. Dr. Kaoru Yamamoto, who helped me with this project during the summer of 1991. Dr. William Grady, Dean, who realized the struggle some students were experiencing and who cared enough to support us until we received the help we needed.

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xii Ray Heim, my husband, and my children and grandchildren, Robert and Kim Heim, Christopher & Heidi; David and Julie Heim, Marianne, Matthew, & Mark; Louise and Andy Bixby, Billy, Joey, & Katie; Karen and Gary Bebber, Willie & Jimmy; and Jerry and Whitney Heim for their continued interest, support, and tolerance of the time involved in the completion of this study. Bernard and Clara Schieferecke, my parents, for their interest in education and for being excellent role models. Mary Schieferecke, my sister and best friend, for her help with typing, data entry in the computer, and being there to give support by listening and offering encouragement. Linda Frazee, my good friend, for sharing classes, rides, books, ideas, and for being positive and a good listener when I needed her. Her friendship and encouragement during these past few years have enabled me to reach this goal.

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION "Keeping students in school is a major problem for the nation's school administrators" (Neill, 1979, p. 7). This conclusion emerges from the results of a survey conducted for the Critical Issues Report which stated: The most worrisome attendance problem for school administrators is truancy of one kind or another ... other attendance concerns of administrators in rank order: chronic absenteeism from school, chronic tardiness, chronic absenteeism from individual classes, early dropouts and suspension and expulsion. Only 4.7 percent of the respondents said they have no attendance problems. (Neill, 1979, p. 7) Historically, compulsory education laws can be traced back to the Massachusetts Colony in 1642 at which time the colonial legislature ... passed a law giving the selectmen of each town the power to provide schools for the children." The purpose was to ... see that the children can read and understand the principles of religion and the capital laws of the country" (Frasier, 1956, p. 3(5). However the law ... did not require the establishment of a school, the employment of a teacher, or school attendance on the part of children; in that law the provision for education was left entirely to the home" (Reeder, 1958, p. 11). This law was difficult to

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2 enforce and five years later the Massachusetts Act of 1647 was passed. Dubbed the "Old Deluder Satan Act" this law required all towns having fifty or more families or "householders" to provide an elementary school, and all towns having one hundred or more families or "householders" to provide a secondary school in addition to the elementary school. (Reeder, 1958, p. 12 ), Compulsory attendance at these mandated schools became fact in 1852, over two hundred years after the 1647 Act. "It was Massachusetts that led the way by passing the first compulsory attendance law. Following this example, every state has passed such a law, the last state to fall in line being.Mississippi, in 191911 (Frasier, 1956, p. 236). The present Colorado compulsory attendance law was passed in 1963. This law, while setting standards and expectations for students' attendance and absences, provides exceptions to the compulsory attendance requirement. The law ... shall not apply to a child: (a) Who is temporarily ill or injured or whose absence is approved by the administrator of the school of attendance" (Colorado Department of Education, School Laws, 1991, p. 156). The importance of school attendance was supported by the Public School Finance Act of 1988 which requires the State Board of Education ... to adopt goals and objectives for the state of Colorado concerning the

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3 improvement of the educational system" (Colorado Departmentof Education, School Laws, 1991, p. 217). Goals developed and adopted by the State Board at a December, 1988, meeting included three major goals: graduation rate, attendance rate, and student achievement. In relation to this study, the expectation of the Public School Finance Act is that 11 Colorado1s public school attendance rate will improve from the 1981-87 average rate of 92 percent to 95 percent by July 1, 199511 (11State Board Goals 11 1989 p 1) I I 0 Given, by law, the responsibility to decide whether or not the absence of a student is excused or unexcused, principals may be faced with a major dilemma. For example, principals may feel an absence should be excused, but the district policy under which they are working may indicate a different decision. Parents may think that an absence should be excused based on family need. Teachers may think an absence should be excused because of the benefits received from making a trip. Principals may reject these views as a result of their interpretation of the law andjor the district attendance policies. The result may be that principals are caught in a "crossfire" of expectations among parents, teachers, their own beliefs, and the school attendance policies and laws. How principals resolve the dilemma may affect the attendance at their schools.

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4 Crossfire, a term coined by Lipham and Hoeh (1974, p. 147), is defined as conflict that results because of .. individual, subgroup, and collective group differences in expectations held by a group for his leadership." Self-role conflict is ... derived from discrepancies between the basic need-dispositions of an individual and the demands placed on him as principal of a school" (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 138). Inter-reference-group conflict stems from disagreement between and among the principal and his reference groups regarding the expectations held for his role as principal. State attendance laws attempt to establish clarity in expectations between the legislature and the school districts and principals. Intrareference-group conflict is a disagreement within a reference group regarding the expectations held for the role of the principal (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 147). Within a district or building, school attendance policies attempt to reduce disagreements within the reference group. How are the Colorado School Attendance Law of 1963 and the attendance sections of the Public School Finance Act of 1988 being implemented by elementary school principals in Colorado? Elementary principals are placed in a "crossfire" because of the compulsory attendance law and the attendance policies in force in their districts.

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5 on the one.hand, principals must comply with the intent of the laws and attendance policies; and, on the other, they must make discretionary decisions regarding approval of non-medical absences and continue to relate to parents, teachers, and policy makers with differing expectations and perceptions of what constitutes excused discretionary absences. These differences in expectations may constitute challenges to the role of the principal, leading to potential conflict and variation in absenteeism in the schools. Of particular importance to this study are the words in the 1963 compulsory Attendance Law, .. absence is approved by the administrator of the school of attendance.11 This study will examine the relationship between the incidence of elementary school absences in three categories and selected factors affecting the crossfire created by the discretionary authority of principals to excuse absences in their school. The factors that affect the crossfire in a school that will be considered in this research are: (1) the non-punitive or punitive nature of the local attendance policy, (2) strictness of the principal in determining that a non-medical absence should be excused, and (3) the influence of the attendance goals in the Public School Finance Act of 1988.

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6 These three factors vary across elementary schools in the State of Colorado. In varying combinations, the factors may result in a greater or lesser amount of crossfire and may be related to the number of absences in the school. The primary focus of this research will be on the relationship of these factors and their various combinations to absences in the school and the resulting crossfire. Each of the three factors can be altered by the administration of the school. Understanding of the relationship between the factors and absences will assist administrators in making policy decisions in a direction that is associated with reduced absences and reduced crossfire. Statement of the Problem The major purpose of this study is to identify and explore the strength of a given set of factors in explaining variation in elementary school student absences resulting from (a) illness or injury, (b) excused discretionary absences, or (c) unexcused discretionary absences and whether or not there is a perception of crossfire resulting from the factors. The set of factors to be explored will include background variables and the main effects and interactions of the following predictor variables: type of attendance

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7 policy, strictness of the principal, and influence of the Public School Finance Act of 1988. ResearchQuestions The study will answer the following questions: 1. What is the distribution of total absences between illness or injury and discretional categories? 2. What is the distribution of perception of crossfire in the sample? 3. Do perceptions of crossfire and attendance rates vary with type of attendance policy (punitive, nonpunitive, no policy) controlling for background variables of location, type of school, size, and principal characteristics? 4. Do perceptions of crossfire and attendance rates vary with strictness of the principal, controlling for the background variables? 5. Do perceptions of crossfire and attendance rates vary with principals who report influence or no influence on their decisions to excuse absences as a result of the Public School Finance Act of 1988, controlling for the background variables? 6. Controlling for the background variables, do perceptions of crossfire and attendance rates vary with an interaction of: (a) policy type and strictness?

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(b) strictness and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988? (c) policy type and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988? (d) policy type and strictness and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988? Hypotheses 8 Hypotheses 1: There is no relationship between the perception of crossfire and the total number of absences and attendance policy (punitive, non-punitive, no policy) controlling for location, type of school, size, and principal characteristics. Hypotheses 2. There is no relationship between the perception of crossfire and the total number of absences and strictness of the principal controlling for other variables. Hypotheses 3. There is no relationship between the perception of crossfire and the total number of absences and principals who report influence or no influence on their decisions to excuse absences as a result of the Public School Finance Act of 1988, controlling for other variables. Hypotheses 4. controlling for other variables, there is no relationship between the perception of crossfire and the total number of absences and an

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9 interaction of (a) policy type and strictness, (b) strictness and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988, (c) policy type and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988, and (d) policy type and strictness and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988. Need and Significance of the study The need for this study rests on the assumptions that regular school attendance contributes to academic and social growth of students, that frequent absences are related to dropping out of school, and that schooling is important to society. Interest stems from the fact that no matter how well prepared teachers are and no matter how much has been invested in materials and resources, the children must be present in school to take advantage of these resources. The diverse expectations held by principals, teachers, and parents, regarding approval of excused/unexcused absences may directly affect the attendance of the students. Additionally, differences in expectations regarding excused/unexcused absences can result in conflict for the administrators making these decisions. Therefore, it is important to identify the relationship between factors related to the discretionary authority of the principal and the variance in absences. Understanding these relationships may be helpful in

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10 taking steps to reduce conflict, differences in expectations, and absences. Attention can be given to those items that are more effective in reducing absences. Results may prove useful to principals when reviewing and revising attendance policies. Definitions of Terms For this study, the following definitions will apply. Compulsory Attendance All children are compelled to attend school (Frasier, 1956, p. 236). Compulsory Education Every community is compelled to provide schools (Frasier, 1956, p. 236). Crossfire Conflict that results because of 11individual, subgroup, and collective group differences in expectations held by a group for his leadership11 (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 146). In this study crossfire and conflict will be used interchangeably. Dependent Variables Crossfire, excused medical absences, excused discretionary absences, and unexcused discretionary absences. Elementary School Principal The chief administrator of a public elementary school as listed in the Colorado Education and Library Directory 1991-1992.

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Independent Variables Type of attendance policy, strictness of the principal, and influence of the Public School Finance Act of 1988. 11 Influence The degree to which the Colorado Public School Finance Act of 1988 is perceived to influence decisions made by principals using their discretionary authority to excuse absences. Inter-reference-group Conflict Disagreement between and among the principal and his reference groups regarding the expectations held for his role as principal (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 147). Intra-reference-group Conflict Disagreement within a reference group regarding the expectations held for the role of the principal (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 147). Non-punitive Attendance Policy Regular attendance at school, required by state law, is important to students learning anq academic performance. Parents and the school share responsibility for encouraging both student learning and regular attendance. A non-punitive attendance policy recognizes this shared responsibility, the intent of the state attendance law, and parents' concern for their children. All students are expected to be in school each day that school is in session unless absent because of illness or injury. These absences, as well as those specifically approved by the principal, will be considered as excused. No negative or punitive consequences follow any absence, excused or not.

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12 Punitive Attendance Policy Regular attendance at school, required by state law, is important to students' learning and academic performance. A note or phone call is required for each absence. Absences due to illness or injury and those specifically approved by the principal will be considered as excused. Excused and unexcused absences result in some form of disciplinary action such as, but not limited to, serving in after school detention to make up work or time, non participation in extra curricular activities, escalator consequences, and suspension. Self-role Conflict .. derived from discrepancies between the basic need-dispositions of an individual and the demands placed on him as principal of a school" (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 138). Strictness of the Principal A rating scale with a range of 1 to 18 representing NO responses by principals to excuses given for absences meaning they would take a strict position and not excuse absences for the stated reasons. Limitations of the Study A survey was used to collect the data in this study. Surveys are.particularly useful in describing the characteristics of a large population and offer the possibility of making observations about a large group.

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13 However, it is limited to the respondents' willingness to thoughtfully complete and return the instrument. creating questions presents other limitations. "By designing questions that will be at least minimally appropriate to all respondents, you may miss what is most appropriate to many respondents" (Babbie, 1979, p. 346). Babbie also considers a response rate of at least 50 percent as accurate for analysis and reporting, 60 percent as good, and a response rate of 70 percent or more as very good (1979, p. 335). In this study the response rate was approximately 35%, much less than desired. Comments on the survey indicated a lack of time, difficulty in collecting the information in the requested form, and, in many cases, having attendance recorded either as being present or absent, with no distinction between excused medical, excused discretionary, and unexcused discretionary absences. In addition, approximately 4% of the respondents returned the survey without completing it commenting on a lack of time to participate or having a practice of not completing surveys. However, one totally completed survey was returned with the following comment: "Your survey took me 10 minutes to complete." Missing data posed a problem for the dependent variables--excused medical, excused discretionary, and unexcused discretionary absences. Phone calls were

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14 placed to schools in the hope of obtaining missing data. Conversations with school personnel indicated in a great number of cases that absences are not recorded in categories; rather they are recorded as absences only. However, the phone calls were successful in a number of cases resulting in additional data. This study was designed to assess only public elementary school principals of grades K-5, 1-5, K-6, and 1-6 who were listed in the Colorado Education and Library Directory 1991-1992. Limiting attention to principals of elementary age school children in the grades listed narrowed the focus and responses were not influenced by principals who had obligations to older or younger students. This study dealt with elementary school student attendance as it was influenced by the Colorado Compulsory Attendance Law and the Public School Finance Act of 1988. The study was limited to the law and finance act as they exert a major impact on principals' decisions when considering absences as excused or unexcused. crossfire was identified as conflict that results because of differences in expectations held by a group for the leadership of the principal. In this study crossfire is limited to a single item regarding the existence or non-existence of conflict rather than

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15 attempt to measure the extent of conflict. The crossfire item provided information that conflict for principals does exist;when abiding by the Colorado School Attendance Law of 1963 and the Public School Finance Act of 1988. Three factors were identified for this research effort. These include type of attendance policy, strictness of the principal, and influence of the Public School Finance Act of 1988. They are used to explain variation in absences resulting from (a) illness or injury, (b) excused discretionary absences, or (c) unexcused discretionary absences. While there are numerous factors that influence the attendance rate of elementary students, these factors were chosen for the study to determine the degree of influence experienced by principals who have been granted discretionary authority by state law to determine non-medical absences as excused or unexcused and who are influenced by policies and the Public School Finance Act of 1988. Reliance on validity and reliability of survey data was considered. The survey was analyzed by the researcher and advisor and was also submitted to a class of students at the University of Colorado at Denver to solicit feedback. A revision of the questionnaire was made using this feedback. This check on validity and reliability of the survey data was examined to assure that ideas were being accurately communicated to the

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16 in relation to the research needs. Careful wording of the questions increased the reliability. Responses ... must be regarded as approximate indicators of what we have in mind initially in framing the questions" (Babbie, 1979, p. 347). Organization of the study Chapter 1 discussed the background of the problem, statement of the problem, research questions, hypotheses, need and significance of the research study, definition of terms, limitations .of the study, and organization of the study. Chapter 2 contains a review of the literature related to (1) compulsory attendance and (2) role conflict theory. Chapter 3 describes the specific research design and procedures. Chapter 4 reports the findings and in Chapter 5 the findings are summarized, conclusions are stated based on the findings, and recommendations are stated for further study.

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CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELEVANT LITERATURE Introduction The review of the literature relating to this study is divided into two sections: (1) the history of compulsory education and compulsory attendance, and (2) the principalship and role conflict. The history of compulsory education in our country dates back to colonial days and reflects the importance placed on education by parents. Public schools were established shortly after the first permanent settlers arrived. The passage of the Massachusetts Law of 1642 and the 110ld Deluder Satan Act" in 1647 emphasized the necessity of providing schools. State constitutions became involved with education and educational provisions became common. In 1852 Massachusetts passed and implemented the first compulsory attendance law. Compulsory education soon was mandated for admittance for statehood. Colorado has an interesting history in education. When Colorado became a state in 1876 it provided for establishing and maintaining a system of free schools. However, the first Colorado compulsory education law was

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not enacted until 1899. During the years that followed changes were made in the law. 18 The Colorado School Attendance Law of 1963 established the guidelines for attendance at school. Amendments have been made for various reasons. The law provides for absences from school for medical reasons and gives the principal discretionary power in excusing absences for reasons other than illness. With this power comes the potential for differing expectations and possible conflict. Role and role conflict concepts underlie thjs proposed research. A brief history of the principalship will be presented ahd the role of the principal will be examined using the Getzels-Guba (1968) theoretical model of schools as a social system. The model developed by Kahn, (1966) Wolfe, Quinn, and Snoek will be used to further explain role conflict resulting from the requirements of the Compulsory Attendance Law of 1963. Compulsory Education and Attendance The terms, "compulsory education" and "compulsory attendance," are used interchangeably by some authors. For example, Pulliam defined compulsory education as ... school attendance which is required by law on the theory that it is for the benefit of the commonwealth to educate all the people'' (1987, p. 288). But Frasier

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19 distinguished the terms: "By compulsory education we mean that every community is compelled to provide schools. By compulsory'attendance we mean that all children are compelled to attend school" (1956, p. 236). Compulsory Education In looking at the history of education in the colonial days of our country, Pulliam indicated that the development of education was influenced by .. environmental difficulties such as the struggle to produce food, the communication problem, disease, isolation, and hostile natives ... economic stresses ... religiously dissenting settlers and the shift of the cent.er of civil authority through the signing of the Mayflower compact" (1987, pp. 18-19). Pulliam also remarked on the influence of the Puritan philosophy following the Calvinistic creed, and the need to turn to ... such occupations as shipbuilding, manufacturing, and trade .. because of poor farm land, which created a ... need of people who could take care of business accounts .. and documents" (1987, pp. 32-33). As a result schools were set up early in the settling of the country. In colonial days education was undertaken by the parents. Reeder suggested that local schools were set up by local communities before this was required by the colonial legislatures.

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20 Reeder stated: The first public schools were established, therefore, only twenty eight years after the founding in 1607 of Jamestown, Virginia, which was the first permanent English settlement in America, and only fifteen years after the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts. (1958, p. 11) While many early settlers promoted education it soon became apparent that .. to leave the option of obtaining an education to the children and their parents was resulting in many children growing up in ignorance; they therefore took steps to prevent such situations from occurring" (Reeder, 1958, p. 11). Concern regarding this lack of education for many children was evident in these times. "The colony of Massachusetts in 1642 passed the first compulsory education law--a statute that required all parents and masters to provide an education both in a trade and in the elements of reading to all children under their care" (VanGeel, 1987, p. 18). This 1642 law applied to all in Massachusetts and provided that the ... selectmen in every town shall have power to take account of all parents and masters as to their children's education and ernployrnent ... They (the selectmen) are to see that the children can read and understand the principles of religion and the capital laws of the country ... It should be noted that the Massachusetts law of 1642 did not require the establishment of a school, the employment of a teacher, or school attendance on the part of children; in that law the provision for education was left entirely to the horne. (Reeder, 1958, p. 11)

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The law was difficult to enforce because many parents could not read and could not afford to pay someone to teach their children. In 1647 the 21 Massachusetts General Court passed a law to overcome this difficulty. That law has often been dubbed the "Old Deluder Satan Act." It has also been called the "mother of all school laws." It required all towns having fifty or more families or "householders" to provide an elementary school, and all towns having one hundred or more families or "householders" to provide a secondary school in addition to the elementary school. (Reeder, 1958, p. 12) Even though the state prescribed the minimum standards through the laws of 1642 and 1647, the responsibility was placed with the home. "These early efforts of Massachusetts were soon picked up by other parts of New England" (Pulliam, 1987, p. 33). Connecticut adopted a law similar to the Massachusetts Act in 1650 and the colony of New Haven did so in 1655. These required that children be able to read the Scriptures in English and understand what was necessary for their salvation. Under the New Haven law parents were first warned, and then fined for neglecting their children's education. If this proved ineffective, the children were apprenticed to someone who would carry out the law. In 1655 New Haven required all boys to be able to read and in 1660 to write legibly. Failure to live up to the standards resulted in apprenticeship.

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22 All compulsory-educational legislation of New England had this one thing in common: If parents or masters did not teach the child to read, or to write, or the principles of religion, or a trade, as the statute might require, the child was to be taken away from the parent or master and apprenticed to someone who would carry out the intention of the law. (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 51) Plymouth, the last of the New colonies to adopt a policy of compulsory education, enacted a law that embodied provisions from the above acts. Children and apprentices were to be taught to read, to have a knowledge of the capital laws, to understand the principles of the Christian religion necessary for salvation, and to be given training in some lawful calling, labor, or employment. The deputtes and selectmen were authorized to warn and fine neglectful parents and masters, and where necessary, to take children from parents and apprentice them to masters who would carry out the requirements of the law. (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 53) Rhode Island, with emphasis on religious and political freedom, was the exception. "Compulsory socialization of youth in terms of a dominant religious or political ideology was no part of its policy" (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 53). Historically, education in the United States was intended to serve the white European populations which comprised the dominate cultures of the country. Educational opportunities were severely limited or non-existent for minority populations including blacks, slaves and their children, American Indians, and hispanics. Inclusion of minority groups in the education systems has been slow and controversial. After numerous

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court challenges and development of civil rights legislation, minorities have gained access to education in the late 1900s (Thomas, 1990). 23 In the South the settlers did not look to the state to provide schools. Their focus was not set on building a new social order as they were satisfied with the religious beliefs they had brought with them. The church provided an educated clergy and extended some educational opportunities to the poor and neglected. "The laws relating to compulsory education dealt, with one exception, not with all children but with special classes--orphans, poor children, and those of illegitimate birth, including mulattoes born of white mothers" (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 132). The education of children was thought to be the obligation of the home and parents, but educational opportunities in the way of apprenticeships were extended to the poor. "Compulsory education, when provided for in the southern colonies other than Virginia, centered around the training of dependents through apprenticeship" (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 134). Legislation in Virginia (1656), Maryland (1663), South carolina (1695), and North Carolina, (1715), provided for apprenticeship of orphans. "There were no laws similar to those in New England requiring the establishment of schools nor was there any law which

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24 permitted the authorities to interfere with respect to the education of other than dependent children" (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 134). As the country grew into a nation of states, public education pecame an essential feature of the new governments. The u. s. Constitution itself contained no reference to education. However, the state constitutions were more involved with educational matters (Pulliam, 19871 P 56) Pulliam described these early provisions. Seven of the state constitutions adopted before 1800 mentioned education. Those of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Vermont called for the establishment of schools in each county with some public financial support. The Pennsylvania Constitution, accepted in 1776, became a model for several others. It required that the state pay salaries of teachers in public schools. New Hampshire and Massachusetts stressed the need for wisdom and knowledge as a means of preserving liberty, but their constitutions did not require schools. Massachusetts legalized its traditional local district school system and in 1789 admitted girls to district schools. New York made public lands and certain other funds available to free schools. Before 1812, the Union had grown considerably with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803 and the admission of the new states of Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Louisiana. The constitution for these states all indicated some concern about education, and several set up a system of schools in law. As the nation grew, each new state adopted a constitution modeled after those which were admitted earlier. The tradition of having educational provisions in the state constitutions became common. (Pulliam, 1987, pp. 56-57) The states were very slow in passing educational laws. The original states did not begin to legislate for

PAGE 37

25 education until the 1830s, while new states added to the union lagged even further behind (Pulliam, 1987, p. 60). "The development of schooling in the first half-century of the nation did not follow the neat blueprints of public school systems that would be uniform, free, republican, and controlled by the state" (Tyack, James, & Benavot, 1987, p. 26). Kaestle stated: ... schools of that period in the settled states ... continued to reflect differences of class, religion, and ethnicity: the lines between public and private were seldom sharply drawn .. By the 1820s a large portion of school aged children were enrolled in some kind of school, at least in the older sections of the North. (cited in Tyack et al., 1987, p. 26) As state constitutions were framed the importance of education became increasingly apparent. The public was becoming more aware of educational practices in Europe through newly established educational articles and through accounts by American travelers in the 1830s .. including the reforms of Pestalozzi and Fellenberg and the teachers' seminaries of Prussia" (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 307). Victor Cousin's work in France, considered at the time to be ... the most elaborate and complete system of common schools" (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 307) was translated to English and large parts were reproduced in American Journals. James carter was influential through his writings, such as .. his widely read 'Essays upon Popular Education' which was published

PAGE 38

26 in 1826" (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 311). Horace Mann's efforts on behalf of education were widely acknowledged. After he gave up his law practice in 1837 to become secretary of the newly established Massachusetts State Board of Education he led an intensive and sustained campaign for public education ... wrote twelve annual reports (which remain notable documents in the history of educational statesmanship) founded and edited for ten years the "Common School Journal11 and worked tirelessly for the improvement of the common schools. (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 313) Henry Barnard became a member of the Connecticut Legislature and promoted the cause of public schools through writings (Edwards & Richey, 1963, pp. 315-316). "Not only in New England, but in almost every state in the Union, capable, enthusiastic persons were engaged in stimulating interest in public education and promoting the organization of state school systems .. (Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 316). Isaac Crary, a young lawyer, and John Pierce, a minister, provided a plan for educators to the territorial constitutional convention of Michigan in 1835. Their vision was based on a .. newly translated version of Victor Cousin's report on the Prussian system of education ... and from ideas they had brought with them from their native New England" (Pierce, cited in Tyack et al., 1987, p. 77) and became a blue-print for education in Michigan."

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27 During the 1849 gold rush delegates met in Monterey to frame a state constitution for California. Robert Semple spoke on the importance of education for the children of the settlers (Ross Browne, cited in Tyack et al., 1987, p. 79). Men like Crary, Pierce, and Semple ... were convinced that their kind of common school was essential to the survival of the republic" (Tyack et al., 1987, p. 79). In the late 1800s questions were raised about race and segregation of pupils. Jabez Cowdery stated, "If compulsory education is to prevail, then all schools must be thrown open to every child ... In educational matters merit, not color, should be the test" (Cowdery, cited in Tyack et al., 1987, p. 79). Court cases such as Ward v. Flood recognized the right of a child to an education but ruled that it was no violation of rights to provide that education in separate schools. "The state required local districts tb educate all children but allowed separate schools for that purpose" (Ward v. Flood, cited in Tyack et al., 1987, p. 99). Calvin Wiley promoted the cause of education and became state superintendent in North Carolina in 1853. When he took office he faced ... a situation characterized by negligence on the part of school officials, stubborn localism, poorly prepared teachers, primitive schoolhouses, inadequate facilities, and prejudice on the part of many people with respect to public education .. and worked steadily to reorganize and improve the

PAGE 40

educational program, never ceasing to attempt to stimuiate a wider and deeper interest in it. (Knight, cited in Edwards & Richey, 1963, p. 317) Late in the 19th century the national government began to mandate compulsory education as a condition of territories moving to statehood. 11In the enabling acts of 1889, paving the way for the admission of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington as states, 28 Congress demanded that the new states have free, nonsectarian public schools as a prerequisite of statehood." "Provisions shall be made," said these acts, "for the establishment and maintenance of systems of public schools, which shall be open to all the children of said states and free from sectarian control." Prior to that time Congress had assumed that the states would create common schools--without them the land grants would not have made sense--but it had not yet made the establishment of schools an explicit requirement (Enabling Act in Thorpe, cited in Tyack et al., 1987, p. 30). Compulsory Attendance While broad interest in education was developing, societal and technological conditions were working to increase attendance in the schools that had been provided. At this time the factories were on the increase and many children were employed there. With child labor came poverty and an increase in crime.

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29 Immigrants from Germany and Ireland increased the number of young children. Even though free schools were available, the poor children and children working in factories could not attend school. "So harsh and cruel were the working conditions that in 1836 Massachusetts passed a law prohibiting the employment of children under 15 years of age unless they attended a school for three months during the prior year" (Butts, 1978, p. 102). The Massachusetts compulsory education law was in effect for over 200 years when that state ... passed the first compulsory attendance law (1852)" (Miller, Madden, & Kincheloe, 1972, p. 105). "This law required children from 8 to 14 to attend a public school for at least three months a year (with at least six weeks consecutively), imposed fines on parents who failed to comply, and allowed certain exemptions" (Butts, 1978, p. 102). In 1842, under the leadership of Horace Mann, labor for children under 12 years of age for more than 10 hours a day was prohibited. "Mann estimated that even with this cautious legislation some 40 percent of working class children had no schooling at all" (Butts, 1978, p. 102). During and following this period many changes were taking place. The nation moved to the industrial period and technological improvements reduced the need for child labor. Technological improvements in farming meant that

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30 fewer youths were needed to work in the agricultural sector of the economy. Increased industrial efficiency eliminated many jobs that had traditionally been assigned to younger workers. Protective legislation in the field of child labor, while preventing children from being abused, also made it increasingly difficult for youths to enter the job market (Button & Provenzo, 1989, pp. 204-206). Humanitarian concerns for the well-being of less fortunate children and the induction of immigrants from non-English-speaking countries into the American way impacted education (Miller et al., 1972, p. 106). It soon became apparent that even with the motivations of improving the lot of immigrants and poor children, and protecting them from exploitation, more than persuasion was needed. Some time after the 1852 Massachusetts compulsory attendance law the New England States and Pennsylvania passed laws for school attendance of working children whose ages ranged from under 12 and under 15 with the length of school from 11 weeks to 4 months. But there was no way to enforce these laws. The leaders then turned to requiring all children to attend school (Butts, 1978, p. 103). Though California did not have the strong community traditions of public schooling found in New England, debates about education raged and the new Constitution in

PAGE 43

31 1874 .. required at least 12 weeks of schooling for every child in the state.11 California became the twelfth state to pass such a law (An Act to Enforce the Educational Rights of Children, cited in Tyack et al., 1987, p. 96). The reformers began to turn to compulsory attendance. During the period of time from 1852, when Massachusetts passed the first compulsory attendance law, until 1918, .. all of the forty-eight states had provided such laws'' (Reeder, 1958, p. 15). Needless to say the laws varied with the states and communities and most children attended because of the values placed on education by parents. Reeder included the following farreaching effects of the compulsory school-attendance laws: increase in school enrollment and attendance, demand for better education, and provisions for indigent children including health education. Development of Compulsorv Education and Attendance in Colorado In 1860, three private schools were in operation in Denver and a public school was operating in Boulder. The following year, in 1861, 15 years before Colorado attained statehood, a public school system was organized with William J. Curtice as Superintendent of Public Instruction (Hatch, 1917, p. 53). In 1865 the act entitled 11An Act to Establish the Common School System"

PAGE 44

was amende4 to read "Territorial Treasurer is hereby made and to be ex-officio Territorial i of Public Instruction and is by this act 32 authorized :and required to perform all the duties that by ., law rightfu,lly pertain to said office" (General Laws, 1865, p. 101). Superintendent of Public Instruction, w. c. Lothrop, 1870-1871, 'included comments of his concern regarding school attendance in his 1870-1871 report to Edward M. McCook, Governor of Colorado. He wrote that parents interested :,in the education of their children should see to the ... ':absolute necessity of their regular attendance" with no child absent for any reason. He continued, If desire their children to become prompt in the performance of duties of life they must commeri,ce early, and rigidly train them in the of habits of punctuality and regularity. Few pa:rents would use the trivial excuses at store or workshop. (First Biennial Report, 1872, p. 16) ,. Later in th:at report he wrote: It is ;a lamentable fact, that so large a proportion of persons of school age fail to reap the highest advantages of our public schools and grow up in comparative ignorance. compulsory education is commended by many of the leading educators, as the only remedy for this defect in the Americi'an system of instruction. The want of school rooms ::sufficient to aqconunodate all, is one great obstacle in this Territory, but that is being gradua:lly overcome. When sufficient accommodations are it may then be necessary to pass laws compEd'iing all persons of school age to attend school' some portion of each year, but as great of opinion exist upon this subject, I deem ft one worthy the careful attention of

PAGE 45

33 educators and legislators. (First Biennial Report, 1872, p. 22) That also stated that 11 6,417 school age children were listed on the census lists with 3,430 enrolled in the public schools with an average daily attendance:of 1,995." The report also listed 129 school ,. districts with different lengths of the school term ranging frqm 11 26 days in Huerfano county to 160 days in Arapahoe with an average of 86 for the Territory" (Lothrop, cited in Snook, 1904, p. 20). Snook 'provided a glimpse of Colorado in 1870. According to Snook, Colorado's population was 38,864 as shown by 1870 census. Mining was a main attraction with farming in the river bottoms. "Stock raising was in its infancy.and the bison still lord of the plains" (1904, p. :20). The se,cond Biennial Report I presented by Superintendent of Public Instruction, Horace M. Hale, to Samuel H. Elbert, Governor of Colorado Territory in 1874, included rules and regulations from Frank Church of Arapahoe County which stated, "All pupils are expected to be regular and punctual in their daily attendance c 18 7 4, p. 9:9) Hale expressed concern that "thousands and tens of' thousands of children are prevented from acquiring an education ... Others acquire rudiments of vice and corrupt,ion." He encouraged legislators to ponder the question : .. Can we afford to lose so many of the

PAGE 46

children from the schools of learning to be educated in the schools of crime?" (1874, p. 103). 34 The Third Biennial Report for the two years ending September 30, 1875, which Hale provided to Governor John Routt, stated .. the average duration of schools in days at 9811 (187,6 p. 6). Hale further stated, "The time for attending school of a large majority of American children is short, so short that, on the average, it is doubtful if it covers many more days than there are in two calenda:r years" (1876, p. 15). Hatch ::reported the following approximate statistics for the Col'orado Territory in the year 1875. Of Col.orado 1 s entire population that year, estimated to be thousand, 23,274 persons were of school age, a.nd only about half of them were enrolled as pupils in public schools, while the average daily attendance was less than eight thousand, or one for every :eight inhabitants in the twenty-four counties of time. (1917, p. 154) Aaron 'Gave, Superintendent of Denver Schools in the 1874-1875 pre-statehood period, called attention of the board of education .. to the number of boys roaming the streets.11 He was aware, he wrote, that the Board has no I power. "There is truly room for improvement" (Third Biennial, 1876, p. 56). Policy number 66 in that report spoke to absences. "Six half-days absence-two tardy marks being equivalent to a half-days absence in any four consecutive weeks, sickness alone excepted, shall

PAGE 47

35 render the :pupil liable to suspension" (Third Biennial, 1876, p. 6'6). Colorado was admitted to the union as the thirty-eighth state in 1876. Records of the First Constitutional Convention provide a first hand look at the importance placed on education by the people of that time. In 1907 Timothy 01Connor, Secretary of State prepared completed for publication a book of 11 all records of the Constitutional Convention of Colorado held i in 1876" {State of Colorado, Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, 1907, p. 3). He followed closely original manuscript minute-book of the proceedings: of the Convention" (State of Colorado, Proceedings: of the Constitutional Convention, 1907, p. 5). Thi-s book was the result of an act which required publication and binding of copies in book form all records of the meetings and proceedings of the Constitutional Conven'tion of the State of Colorado, held in 1876 :. all records and documents pertaining to said Convention with other facts as shall make same a complete and concise redord [record] ... shall contain certificate by the of State that said records are full and (State of Colorado, Proceedings of the convention, 1907, p. 7) I It is to note the activities of this convention 'that pertain to this study of compulsory education a;nd compulsory attendance. On Thursday, January 6, l876, Mr. Carr offered the following I resolution.':

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36 Resolv:ed, That the Legislature at its first session, or as .. soon thereafter as possible, shall pass .such laws as will require the attendance on the public of this State of all persons between the ages qf six and sixteen years for the period of at least .. three months during each and every year. Provided, That when any such person shall be shown to haV:e received regular instruction from any qualified private teacher for said period of time during each and every year, they shall be exempt from the operation of the laws contemplated by this sectiqn. (State of Colorado, Proceedings of the Convention, 1907, p. 61) Just over three weeks later, on January 29, 1876, the Chairman of the Public Education Committee presented the committee's report. Section 2 of that report recommended that the General Assembly provide for the establishment and maintenance of a system of free public schools "where all residents of the state between the ages of five and twenty-one years may be educated gratuitously," (State of Colorado, Proceedings of the Constitutidnal Convention, 1907, p. 185) and further that "one or more schools shall be maintained in each school district within the State at least three months in each year" (pp. '185-186). Noncompliance would result in no funds for s,chools in that district. A prov,ision for compulsory attendance was also incorporated in the report. The Ge,neral Assembly may require by law that every child of sufficient mental and physical ability shall 'attend the public schools, during the period between the ages of six and eighteen years, for a time e:qui valent to three years, unless educated by other means. (State of Colorado, Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, 1907, p. 187)

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37 On 9, 1876 Mr. Beck presented the following petition and addenda: We ... $irm1y in the belief that free non-secretarian common schools are essential to the life and perpe,tivity ... believing it better that such quest'i;ons be settled at once and permanently, so that and corrupt politicians may not conti,n:ually distract the attention and impose upon the mi:nds of our people .. petition for support of free common schools compel parents or guardians to I educa:t'e ... (State of Colorado, Procee'dings of the constitutional convention, 1907, p. 277!) When t;he convention met on February 14, 1876, the ', committee p:resented a revision of the report that provided fo'r the establishment and maintenance of a ,I '., thorough an'd uniform system of free public schools throughout .the State and for compulsory education: Sec. 1;1. The General Assembly may require by law that child of sufficient mental and physical ability shall attend the public schools during the period between the ages of 6-and 18 years for a time to three years, unless educated by other means.; (State of Colorado, Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, 1907, p. 318) I On February 15, 1876, petitions were presented from 11 248 citizens of Boulder and Gilpin i: counties that provisions be inserted in the Constitutioh providing for compulsory education ... of the Constitutional Convention, 1907, p. 320), and the Saturday, February 19, 1876, records reported that: "On motion of Mr. Clark, the convention adopted Section 11 as reported by the Committee of the Whole. When the Constitutional Convention met on Friday, March 3, Section 11 remained unchanged" (State of

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38 Colorado, Proceedings of the Constitutional convention, 19071 P 599) Compulsory .Attendance Legislation Though, as Hale reported, the Colorado Constitutional Convention approved the compulsory attendance provision, the first Colorado compulsory education law was not enacted until January 4, 1899, ,I twenty three years after Colorado's admission to statehood. The act to compel attendance, passed by the Twelfth Session of the General Assembly, of the elementary school age children in school districts of the first and second class read as follows: Section 1. That in districts of the first and second class in this state, all parents, guardians and persons having care of children shall instruct them or cause them to be instructed in readiri,g, spelling, writing, English grammar, geography and arithmetic. In such districts every parent, guardian or other person having charge of any child between the ages of 8 and 14 years, shall send child to a public, private or parochial school for the following period: In each school year b'eginning in September, not less than 20 weeks, at least 10 weeks of which, commencing within the first four weeks of the school year, shall be consecutive; Provided, however, that if two reputable physicians within the district shall certify in writing that the child's bodily or mental condit;ion does not permit its attendance at school, such child shall be exempted during such period of disability from the requirements of this act, and, Provided, further, That if, in the opinion of the county superintendent of schools, the child is being instructed at home by a person qualified, such a child 'shall not be required to attend as herein provided ... All children between the ages of 8 and 14 years shall attend school for the fall term in the schools in the district in which they reside,

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unless excused for the reasons above named. (Laws Passed, 1899, pp. 340-341) The 1899 act, "An Act to Compel the Elementary Education of Children in School Districts of the First 39 and Second Class," was amended in 1903 to read every parent, guardian or other person having charge of any child between the ages of eight (8) and sixteen (16) years shall send such child to a public, private or parochial school for the entire school year .. "(Laws Passed, 1903, p. 418). The amended legislation of 1903 regarding compulsory attendance remained intact for a period of 60 years. Section 5 o:f the 1963 Act stated: Compulsory school attendance. (1) Every child who has attained the age of seven years and is under the age of sixteen, except as provided by this section, shall attend public school for at least one hundred seventy-two days during each school year. (2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to a child: (a) Who may be temporarily ill or injured or whose absence is approved by the administrator of the school of attendance; .. (Laws Passed, 1963, p. 862) Further amendments were made to the 1963 Compulsory Attendance Law. In 1973 the 172 day requirement was amended with the addition of "or for the specified number of days in a pilot program which has been approved by the state board ... 11 (Laws Passed, 1973, p. 295). A year after a further amendment read, except that a school or schools may be in session for less than one hundred seventy-two days if the state board of education at the request of a local board of education finds a lesser number of days to be necessary due to energy problems and that the

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of lost days is impractical. (Laws Passed, 1974, p. 363) A 1977 act recognized the "extended school year" (Laws Passed, 1977, p. 266). A 1983 law provided "that 40 the compulsory school attendance statue does not apply to independent or parochial schools" (Laws Passed, 1983, p. 75) The current version of Article 33, School Attendance Law of 1963, as amended in 1989, restated the length of time students are to attend schools in hours rather than days. ot:he:r provisions relative to this study were not amended. 22-33-:104. Compulsory school attendance. (1) Every phild who has attained the age of seven years and is under the age of sixteen years, except as by this section, shall at"tend public school for at: least nine hundred sixty-eight hours if an school pupil during each school year; except' that in no case shall a school or schools be in session for fewer than one hundred sixty days without the specific prior approval of the of education. (Colorado Department of Education, Colorado School Laws, 1989, p. 407) The Principal and Role Conflict With the discretionary power provided to principals by the Colorado Compulsory Attendance Law of 1963 comes the potential for differing expectations between principals and parents. The possibility of resulting conflict parents will be addressed by the literature related to conflict.

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41 I HistoricalPerspective of the Principalship The ptincipalship is an evolving position with its beginning tied to historical situations. It has never developed an identity of its own but is rather a vital and evolving institution" (Reich, 1968, p. 13). The review ;that follows is based primarily on material presented Reich As discussed earlier in this chapter, during colonial times parents provided educational opportunities ,, for dhildren. In l and 1647 in compulsory :education laws were passed and the other states gradually followed suit. In this early period teachers had full charge of the schools and students. Schools exP.anded during most of the first half of the 19th centur,Y and someone at the building level was needed .. to coor;dinate such functions as grade reporting, record kee:ping, building_ maintenance, and similar management functions .... Typically, a head or principal teacher was designated to fulfill such duties while continuing to teach either full or part time" (Lipham & Hoeh, 19?-:4, p. 118). Reich 'stated: In thO:se days, schools were small and administrative duties were light. A head teacher could look after matters such as ringing the bell and still have to teach classes. Supervision of instruction and discipline problems were within the provinces of the city school superintendent who regula.rly visited each school under his jurisdiction. (1968, p. 13)

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42 After '1830 the belief in education continued to develop and many believed that free public education was the royal road to equality of opportunity and social mobility" ( ;Reich, 1968, p. 14). Also the wave of immigrants ,'caused the "city schools to grow" (Reich, 1968, p. 14). This increase in enrollment made it impossible ifor the head teacher to both manage and teach. To combat this situation, some superintendents appointed several! principal teachers to one school building," but this was of little success. As a result they soon ': appointed person, usually the man in charge of the upper grades with the other principals serving as assistants" (Reich, 1968, 14). As schools emerged, the administrative and supervisory responsibilities increased and this led to a greater need for someone to be responsible for accomplishi,ng such tasks as assigning students to grades and the imp'lementation of courses of study. "By the midnineteenth therefore, schools in most of the cities of the midwest had a unified principalship" (Reich, 1968, p. 14). From 1 :890 to the end of the World War I, a variety of influences affected this position of principalship. The support of public education, the need for trained workers, integration of immigrants into American society, and the inclusion of compulsory education and attendance

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laws nationwide affected this role. Supervision came almost totally under the control of principals during this time, !allowing for the right .. to modify the course of' study and teaching methods whenever they saw fit" (Reidh, 1968, p. 15). 43 During the period following World War I a change in expectations for candidates for a principalship emerged, namely ... ;a knowledge of educational theory and practice" .(Reich, i968, p. 16) which increased the requirements for candidates. Two powerful forces influenced .. this change. The Progressive movement .. helped change the autocratic principal of the early years of the Twentieth Century into more of a counselor and expert," and the Scientific Movement helped transform the principal from a man who ran his school by. instinct and rule of thumb into a skilled educational practitioner" (Reich, 1968, p. 17). The evolvement of the role of the principal continues. "In recent years, particular emphasis has been placed on the leadership aspects of the principal's role, particularly in the functional area of instruction and curricu;lum development" (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 248). The critical administrator tasks for the principals, identified by a program sponsored by the w. K. Kellogg Foundation, were categorized as instruction and curriculum development, pupil personnel, staff

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44 personnel, community-school leadership, school plant and transportation, organizational structure of staff, school finance, and business management (Faber & Shearron, 1970, pp. 225-227) In summary, the position of principalship evolved over time beginning when the need for leadership developed as a result of increased enrollment and growth of public schools due to the importance placed on free public education, the effects of the compulsory education and attendance laws, and the wave of immigrants. It was shaped by the increasing demand for a person in charge that extended from a teacher assuming duties, such as bell to a part-time teacher-principal position that included various other duties, such as grade reporting, record keeping, building maintenance, and similar management functions; to a full time principalship that required a person released from all teaching duties. The latter has been the norm for most of the twentieth century. The Getzel and Guba model of schools as a social system is helpful in examining the role of the principal. The School as a Social System Lipham and Hoeh view the school and the principalship in terms of social systems theory. They consider the administration of school as a social process (1974, p. 48). The school is a complex, interactive, and

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dynamic social system and the principal is the central factor in the administration of a school. 45 A number of writers have discussed organizations as social systems. However, for the purpose of this study the theroetical social system's model developed by Getzels and Guba will be used because of the extended application of the model to schools. Getzels and Guba developed a socio-psychological theoretical model that has ... broad application to the area of administration" (Getzels & Guba, 1957, p. 423). The model includes a representation of the normative and the personal dimensions in a social system that result in observed behavior. The model was developed to explain .. what it is that shapes, forms, or molds the behavior of human beings so that they often function in somewhat predictable ways as components within systems" (Silver, 1983, p. 241). Getzels and Guba presented the model in a paper entitled "Social Behavior and the Administrative Process" to describe and illustrate the application of the theory to major issues in administration (1957, p. 423). They pointed out that the term, "social system" is .. conceptual rather than descriptive" (1957, p. 424) and for their purposes is .. applicable regardless of the level or the size of the unit under consideration"

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46 (1957, p. 424). To describe their model Getzels and Guba stated: The nomothetic axis is shown at the top of the diagram and consists of institution, role, and role expectations, each term being the analytic unit for the term next preceding it. Thus the social system is defined by its institutions; each institution, by its constituent roles; each role, by the expectations attaching to it. Similarly, the idiographic axis, shown at the lower portion of the diagram, consists of individual, personality, and need-dispositions, each term again serving as the analytic unit for the term next preceding it. A given act is conceived as deriving simultaneously from both the nomothetic and the idiographic dimensions .... social behavior results as the individual attempts to cope with an environment composed of patterns of expectations for his behavior in ways consistent with his own independent pattern of needs. (1957, p. 428) Nomothetic Dimension Getzels and Guba gave further explanation of the term, institution, in the nomothetic dimension of the model. For their purposes they interpreted the term institution by pointing out: all social systems have certain imperative functions that come in time to be carried out in certain routinized patterns. The functions-governing, educating, policing, for example--may be said to have become "institutionalized," and the agencies established to carry out these institutionalized functions for the social system as a whole may be termed "institutions." (1957, p. 425) The authors identified a number of characteristics of institutions: (a) "Institutions are purposive." Purposive refers to having a goal (1957, p. 425). (b) "Institutions are peopled." Peopled relates to the "human agents" who carry out the goals (1957, p. 425).

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47 (c) "Institutions are structural." Structural refers to that which is needed to carry the "specific purpose ... implies component parts and some rules about how these parts should be interrelated" (1957, p. 425). (d) "Institutions are normative." This means that there are expectations or 'norms' for the behavior of the role incumbents". (1957, p. 425). (e) "Institutions are sanctions-bearing." Appropriate ... positive and negative sanctions" are needed for "insuring compliance with the norms at least within broad limits" (1957, p. 426). In describing the institution, Getzels and Guba consider role as the most important subunit. "Roles are (. the structural elements defining the behavior of the role incumbents or actors" (1957, p. 426). The following generalizations are made about the nature of roles: (a) Roles represent positions, offices, or statuses within the institution ... (b) Roles are defined in terms of role expectations .... (c) Roles are institutional givens ... (d) The behaviors with a role may be thought of as lying along a continuum from 'required' to 'prohibited' .... (e) Roles are complementary. (1957 1 P 426) Idiographic Dimension Getzels and Guba then considered the idiographic aspects of the model. They identified role as being filled by individuals. Roles are unique in that no two

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48 people are exactly alike. The idiographic components of personality and need-disposition complete this dimension. Unique reaqtions to the environment defines personality in an individual. Need-dispositions cause an individual to act in a certain way when confronted with situations and to expect certain consequences from these actions (1957 1 P 428) Role and Personality Getzels and Guba explained that the portions of role and personality factors determining behavior vary with the specific act, the specific role, and the specific personality. involved (1957, p. 429). For example, in determining possible role and personality relationships, role expectations may be more influential for an army private and need dispositions of personality may be greater for a free lance artist. In both instances, role and personality are included to a certain degree. An individual may respond from role expectations or from personal need-disposition. In either case, behavior, insofar as it is "social," remains a function of both role and personality although in different degrees. When role is maximized, behavior still retains some personal because no role is ever so closely defined as to eliminate all individual latitude. When personality is maximized, social behavior still cannot be free from some role prescription. The individual who divorces himself entirely from such prescription ceases to communicate with his fellows and is said to be autistic. (1957, p. 430)

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49 There 'is no overall theory that will explain all the behaviors of individuals in an organization but the model presented by Getzels and Guba has come to be regarded as a framework for theory in educational administration. Getzels and Guba emphasized the importance of the model as it relates to administrators. The relevance of this general model for administrative theory and practice becomes apparent when it is seen that the administrative process inevitably deals with the fulfillment of both nomothetic role expectations and idiographic need-dispositions while the goals of a particular social system are being achieved. The unique task of administration, at least with respect to staff relations, is just this: to integrate the demands of the institution and the demands of the staff members in a way that is at once organizationally productive and individually fulfilling. (1957, p. 430) The Getzels and Guba model can be utilized to examine the subject of role conflict. As the explanation of the model by Getzels and Guba suggests, when an individual ,lives up to role expectations and at the same time fulfills all his needs the nomothetic and idiographic requirements would be met. Consequently there would be no role conflict. However the authors stated: Absolute congruence of expectations and needs is seldom, if ever, found in practice, and as a consequence there is inevitably a greater or lesser amount of strain or conflict for the individual and the institution ... this strain or conflict may be defined simply as the "mutual interference of adjustive and integrative reactions." (1957, p. 431)

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so Role Confl:i!ct ', The concept of role conflict has implications for the principalship. Getzels and Guba indicated that if the and idiographic dimensions are met both :I the individual and institutional requirements would be maximized. However, this is seldom if ever the case and 11 as a consequence there is inevitably a greater or lesser amoti.nt of strain or conflict for the individual and the (1957, p. 431). They pointed out three sources of conflict in the administrative setting. (a) conflicts occur as a function of discrepancies between the pattern of expectations attacijing to a given role and the pattern of need characteristic of the incumbent of the .. (b) Role conflicts occur whenever a role incumpent is required-to conform .simultaneously to a numbeJ:" of expectations which are mutually exclusive, or inconsistent. so that adjustment to one set of requirements makes adjustment to the otherJimpossible or at least difficult ... (c) Personality conflicts occur as a function of needs and dispositions within the personality of the role incumbent. (1957, pp. 431-432) Being :in the position of conforming to the expectations of others may be difficult when these expectations come from various sources and different points of are presented. Getzels and Guba ways role conflict may arise: I I, I (1) the referent group defining the rc!;le .... t2) Disagreement among several referent groups., each having a right to define expectations for same role (3) Contradiction in the expectations of two or more roles which an

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" individual is occupying at the same time. (1957, p. 432) In retation to this study the first two are pertinent, :namely ... disagreement within the reference group defining the role" and ... disagreement among several reference groups, each having a right to define expectations for the same role" (Getzels & Guba, 1957, p. 432). .Lipham and Hoeh have identified these as "intra-reference-group conflict" (1974, p. 136) and "inter-reference-group conflict" p. 134). Intra;reference-group conflict is defined as a ... disagreement within a reference group regarding the I 51 expectations held for the role of the principal" (Lipham ., & Hoeh, 1974, p. 147). Lipham and Hoeh expressed this conflict as .. one caught in a group crossfire" (1974, p. 136). can be illustrated by the following I example presented by Getzels, Ll.pham, and Campbell: the expectations of teachers, .some of whom expect the principal to visit their classrooms. for supervision purposes and some who consider supervision a demeaning experience:and prefer the principal trust them. These authors stated: "At a more fundamental level, the entire I purpose of :education, and therefore of the various roles in the schdol, may be defined differently by different educators even within the same school system" (1968, p. 113).

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52 Inter-reference-group conflict is defined as a ... disagreement between and among the principal and his reference groups regarding the expectations held for his role as principal" (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 147). Disagreements among several groups, each ... defining expectations for the same role" also affect role conflict (Getzels & Guba, 1957, p. 432). For example, a university faculty member may be expected to emphasize teaching, committee work, and service to students" by his department head while the dean may emphasize .. research, scholarship, and visibility in the profession" (Getzels et al., 1968, p. 114). Although the two sets of expectations for the same role are not necessarily opposed in any ultimate sense, it is clear that the time and energy devoted to implementing one set takes away time and energy from implementing the other. To this extent they are in conflict. (1968, p. 114) Knowledge of the social systems model and of role conflict has implications for the principal in relations with others. The job of principal requires working with 11 many groups, each of them likely to hold different and often conflicting expectations for his role as principal" (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 134). Silver stated that .. people occupying various roles in the system have expectations for the behavior of those accepting other roles" (1983, p. 245). While the Getzels and Guba model explains the normative and personal dimensions of social behavior a

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53 model presented by Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, and Snoek clarifies further the factors that members of an organization experience. To describe their model these authors stated: Organizations are complex and the interdependencies among members are both potent and subtle. The personalities of members, especially those whose adjustments are to be investigated, must be considered, as must be the pattern of social relations among the members. Processes of communication and social influence are of major concern, and so are the intrapsychic process involved in coping with psychological conflict, tension, and anxiety. Moreover, these many variables tend to be related in complex ways. (Kahn; Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, 1966, p. 277) Their model reflects a complete cycle of role sending, response by the focal person, and the effects of that response on the role senders" (Kahn et al., 1966, p. 277). In their model the rol.e episode is represented by boxes with arrows implying a causal sequence. "Role pressures are assumed to originate in the expectations held by members of the role set. Role senders have expectations regarding the way in which the focal role should be performed. They also have perceptions regarding the way in which the focal person is actually performing" (Kahn et al., 1966, p. 277). Kahn a.nd others explain that the role senders correlate the two and exert pressures to make his performance congruent with their expectation" (Kahn et al., 1966, p. 277). The focal person makes adjustive or maladjustive responses which are observed by the senders

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54 and in turn their expectations are correspondingly adjusted (Kahn et al., 1966, p. 277). "Thus, for both the role senders and the focal person, the episode involves experience and the response11 (Kahn et al., 1966, p. 277). While the model shows a group, the individuals in the group have varying expectations about the situation. To understand the degree of conflict or ambiguity in the role, the total pattern of such expectations and pressures must be considered. A thorough investigation into all.the role expectations held at a given moment by all the members of the role set should yield an indication of the potential in the situation for conflict. The actual degree of objective role conflict will depend on the configuration of role pressures actually exerted by role senders on the focal person. (Kahn et al., 19 6 6, P 2 7 8) When the role senders are supportive of the focal persons' performance the resulting feeling will be one of satisfaction and confidence. When changes in behavior are indicated there will likely be feelings of resistance and tension (Kahn et al., 1966, p. 278). When pressures are exerted the person may respond by coping, communicating, complying with demands, avoidance, or use of defense mechanisms. 11Regardless of which of these singly or in combination, the focal person uses, his behavio.r can be assessed in relation to the expectations and sent pressures of each of his role senders" (Kahn et al., 1966, p. 279).

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55 The model indicates that the reaction of the focal person will affect reaction of the role sender resulting in a cyclic and ongoing event. The authors state: In the role episode is abstracted from a process which is cyclic and ongoing: the response of the focal person to role pressures 'feeds back' on the senders of those pressures in ways that alter or reinforce them. The next role sendings of each member of the set depend on his evaluations of the response to his last sendings, and thus a new episode begins. (Kahn et al., 1966, p. 279) An awareness of these models by the principal may result in a better understanding of the differences in perceptions and expectations held by reference groups. The model provides no answers but rather serves as a guide by which to analyze interactions and make decisions that result in less conflict. Summary An overview of the history of the development of educational laws regarding compulsory education and compulsoryattendance from colonial times to the present was presented in this chapter. The development of the laws from qompulsory education to compulsory attendance was discussed. The idea of education was important to the people in colonial times and continues to the present. They came to realize that not all children were receiving the benefits of an education. This led to the implementation

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of compulsory education and later to compulsory attendance laws. 56 The Colorado Compulsory Attendance Law of 1963 has been but emphasizes the importance of children being in school. Guidelines were established to cover reasons for students being absent from school. Absences for medical reasons and those permitted at the discretion of the principal pertain to this study. The review of the history of the principalship and explanation of role and role conflict using the GetzelGuba model.as well as the explanation of the model by Kahn and helps to explain the role of the principal and resulting role conflict experienced in carrying out this portion of the Colorado School Attendance Law.

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CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY Introduction Chapter 3 presents the research methods and procedures to answer the research questions. Included in this chapter are: introduction, current background, research methodology, description and administration of the instrument, type of policy, validity of strictness measure, influence item, crossfire, demographic data, attendance data, sampling design, sample population, selection of population, data gathering, statistical procedures, data analysis, statistical formula, dependent variables, control variable set, order of entry of predictor variables, presentation of the findings, protection of human rights, and a summary of Chapter 3. The major purpose of this study is to identify and explore the strength of a given set of factors in explaining variation in elementary school student absences resulting from (a) illness or injury, (b) excused discretionary absences, or (c) unexcused absences and whether or not there is a perception of crossfire resulting from the factors. The set of factors will include background variables and the main effects

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and interactions of the following predictor variables: type of attendance policy, strictness of the principal, and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988. 58 The investigation was conducted to determine how a set of predictor variables affected the number of absences of students in elementary school in grades four through six and the principal's perception of existence of crossfire in the school as a result of these factors. This study controlled for location of the school, type of school, total enrollment, and characteristics of the principal. Current Background Whilecompulsory education laws can be traced back to the 1642 and 1647 Massachusetts' Laws it was only in the latter part of the nineteenth century that people began to realize the need for laws compelling students to attend school. As a result, the compulsory attendance laws came into being; but, the existence of these laws has not eliminated difficulties in getting students to attend school. The AASA 1979 "Critical Issues Report" indicated attendanceremained a major problem in the nation's schools. "In this study only 4.7 percent of the respondents said they have no attendance problems" (Neill, 1979, p. 7).

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59 The present Colorado Compulsory Attendance Law, passed in 1963, required students to attend school but also provided exceptions to doing so. This study is concerned particularly with the provision that stipulates the law does "not apply to a child: (a) who is temporarily ill or injured or whose absence is approved by the administrator of the school of attendance" (Colorado Department of Education, Colorado School Laws, 1991, p. 156). This last clause, giving principals the authority to excuse students' absence from school, may provide difficulty for the principal. Parents may desire to have their children excused from school for various reasons. If the principal feels the absence should be unexcused, conflict may result. Difficulties may arise with differences in perceptions of teachers also. This study examined the relationship between the perception'of crossfire and the extent of absences in three categories and the principals' orientation toward granting excused absences, the nature of school attendance.policies, and the influence of laws intended to reduce absences. Assumptions underlying compulsory attendance are varied. Schooling is assumed to be important to society; regular school attendance is assumed to contribute to educational growth; frequent absences are assumed to be

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60 detrimental to that growth and are related to students dropping out of school. The assumptions held by principals, teachers, and parents may directly affect the attendance of students and differences in these may result in conflict for the administrators making decisions as to whether or not absences should be excused. Research Methodology To complete this study, survey research methodology was used. Survey research, the administration of a questionnaire to a carefully drawn sample population, is widely used by researchers today. It provides a means of collecting data from a representative population that can be generalized to a larger population. Survey research is probably the best method available to the social scientist interested in collecting original data for purposes of describing a population too large to observe directly. careful probability sampling provides a group of respondents whose characteristics may be taken as representative of those of the larger population, and carefully standardized questionnaires provide data in the same form from all respondents (Babbie, 1979, p. 316). Babbie commended the use of survey research methodologies as "excellent vehicles for the measurement

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61 of attitudes and orientations prevalent with large populations" (1979, p. 316). Obvious advantages of survey research are economy, the amount of data that can be collected, and the possibility of use by other researchers as well. "The standardization of the data collected represents another special strength of survey research" (1979, p. 351). Description and Administration of the Instrument An instrument to gather information needed for this research was developed. The instrument included items to be checked for (a) identification of policy type, (b) a series of eighteen items to measure strictness of the principal, (c) three items to measure influence of the Public School Finance of 1988, (d) one item regarding conflict about discretionary absences, (e) demographic information for control variables, and (f) numeric information on absences by category. The survey instrument is a four page document. When developed, the survey was analyzed by the researcher and advisor and revisions were made. Attention was given to the excuses presented to measure strictness of the principal seven were eliminated as they were repetitive. The survey instrument was then referred to Revisions which included rewording on the demographics page were made based on their comments.

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62 In addition, a pilot survey was carried out by presenting the survey to a class of graduate students in the 1990 summer session at the University of ColoradoDenver for the purpose of assuring the directions and statements were clear. Each student was asked to complete the survey, visualizing having just received it in the mail, and make suggestions for improvements. These comments were considered and appropriate changes were made. A description of each section of the instrument follows. The predictor variables used in the equations were policy score, strictness score, and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988. The predictor variables were numeric scores represented by these variables. Type of Policy In this section concise directions requested the respondents to read the list of policy indicators. The first four items were descriptive only and were not included in the policy type scale. The remaining 20 items the policy type scale. Respondents were asked to check those items that describe their attendance policies. A numerical value was placed on each of these 20 items. A value of zero was given to the first four items deemed to be non-punitive items. A value of one was given to the remaining 16 items deemed to be punitive. The total of the items constituted the

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63 score of the school on the policy scale. The punitive scale has a range of zero to 16 with zero representing a non-punitive policy and 16 representing the most extreme punitive policy. Lack of an attendance policy was scored as zero or non-punitive. Validity of strictness Measure To measure the strictness of the principal regarding granting excused discretionary absences, a series of excuses was presented with a requested yes or no response. strictness of the principal increased with an increase in the number of NO responses. The validity of the items that constitute the strictness scale was carefully considered. Prior to developing the instrument, a review of the educational literature pertaining to student absences was completed. A two year record of excuses given by parents for elementary school age children's absences from school was also examined. Of primary interest was the AASA Critical Issues Report, "Keeping Students in School: Problems and Solutions" (Neill, 1979). The results of the survey conducted to gather data for this report showed the attendance concerns of administrators. It provided an "in-depth analysis of the root causes and possible answers to a critical school problem" (Neill, 1979,

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p.2). It also included 19 "elements having the most direct and significant bearing on attendance" (1979, p. 21). 64 A second source was a school's attendance procedure which required parents/guardians to contact the school during the hours of 7:00 a.m. 8:30 a.m. when a child was absent,: giving the reason for the absence. A record was kept including the date, name of the student, summary of reason for the absence, and name of parentjguardian contacting the school. If parents/guardians had not contacted the school, a building aide placed a call to them or person(s) listed as emergency contact to determine the reason for the absence. If no contact was made, a second call was placed later in the day. If the second call could not be completed, the absence was listed as unverified on the summary sheet. Initially 25 excuses were considered. However to arrange for balance and range the excuses were closely examined. Items were grouped to determine those that were similar and repetitive items were eliminated. Items were then grouped to determine the possibility of responses being answered positively as well as negatively. The review resulted in the 18 selected items. The 18 excuses in the proposed instrument were primarily based both on the review of the AASA Critical Issues Report and on the excuses given over a two year

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65 period by parents in an elementary school, following the school procedure. The 18 excuses were representative of typical excuses presented by parents to principals. Item 13 was the only excuse taken directly from the Critical Issues Report. Some editing was used to put the excuses in similar format. Respondents were requested to mark YES or NO regarding their response to considering the excuse given by parents as excused or unexcused. A YES was coded as a zero and represented a lenient response. A NO was coded as one and represented a strict response. The total of the 18 responses constituted the score on the strictness scale. The range is zero to 18. A score of zero represented the most lenient principal orientation while a score of 18 represented the most strict orientation. Influence Item Respondents were requested to respond YES or NO to questions 19-21. The YES response was coded zero and the NO response was coded one. The total of the three items constituted the influence variable with a range of zero to 3. A score of zero represented the greatest level of influence while a score of 3 represented the least influence. Crossfire Respondents were requested to respond YES or NO to question 22. The YES response was coded zero and the NO

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66 ( response was coded one. A score of zero represented conflict and a score of one represented no conflict. Demographic Data A was made for completion of demographic information. The set of demographic information included in the survey form was used to analyze and examine group responses. Respondents were requested to indicate gender, and length of service as a principal, including year. Location of the school included three types: rural, in the country or a town with a population below 10,000; suburban, school in a town located in 9utlaying parts of a city or a town with a population of 10,000 or more; and metropolitan, school in the Denver metropolitan area. Type of school included schools with grades K-5, 1-5, K-6, 1-6. Principals were requested to give the actual total enrollment. Attendance Data Principals were requested to give the actual number of the first semester of 1991 in grades f 4-6 in the categories: actual number of excused medical absences, actual numner of excused discretionary absences, and actual number of unexcused absences.

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67 Sampling Design All elementary principals in Colorado constitute the target The study purposes are concerned with interest in,'perceptions and expectations of all : principals at the elementary level. Sample I One half of all public elementary school principals in the of Colorado listed in the J. o. Nordbye, I! Colorado and Library Directory 1991-1992 and identified as being the chief administrator of a public elementary which enrolls students in grades K-5, 1-5, K-6, or 1-6 were the principal sample population. I All other elementary principals were eliminated. The J. :o. Nordbye, Colorado Education and Library Directory lists the counties, school districts in each county, and schools within counties in alphabetical. order with names of principals included for each A search of the J. o. Nordbye, Colorado Education and Library:Directory 1991-1992, for the number of schools which enrolled students in grades K-5, 1-5, K-6, 1-6 resulted in a count of 644 schools. A second search identified 15 principals as administrators of more than one school. The names of these principals were retained the first time they appeared in the directory but eliminated thereafter. As a result the target population I

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68 for this study was 629 principals. There were 314 cases in the sample population. Selection of Population Selection of the sample population of principals was completed by numbering the target population from one to 629 and putting duplicate numbers in a fishbowl. Numbers were drawn from the fishbowl. A list of 314 unique random numbers between one and 629 were generated to identify the cases selected for the sample. This random selection procedure of elementary school principals in Colorado permitted generalizing respondent perceptions to all Colorado principals. The number of cases was sufficient the statistical analyses. Data Gathering To gather the necessary data a packet of materials which included a cover letter, survey instrument, and a self-addressed envelope for return of the survey, was distributed to each member of the study sample population. The cover letter identified the researcher, explained the purpose of the study and directions, requested cooperation for completion of the instrument, requested a prompt response, explained how the data will be used, and guaranteed confidentiality.

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The principal, rather than the individual principal'sname, was used to avoid having a non-69 respondent if that particular principal was no longer at the school. The envelope for return of the survey was stamped and addressed to the researcher. The survey contained a code number to be used to determine which surveys were returned. Once the survey was returned the respondent's name and number were eliminated. There was no further connection between the respondent and the survey. If'principals failed to respond to the initial surveys within two weeks reminder post-cards were sent requesting return of the completed questionnaire. Principals who failed to respond to the second reminder in two weeks were considered as nonrespondents. To assure confidentiality surveys were not opened until a minimum of ten responses were returned. The surveys were then opened and tabulated. statistical Procedures The statistical steps used in this study are described in this section. Data for this study were ; collected through use of a questionnaire. After the initial ten questionnaires were returned the results of the responses to the statements and demographics were entered directly in a computer. All remaining results were entered in the computer as they arrived.

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70 Scores.from the survey were related to policy type, strictness, Public School Finance Act of 1988, conflict, attendance, .and demographic information. These scores were entered into a computer program at the University of Colorado, Denver where they were analyzed using a microcomputer data base program and the Statgraphics computer program. Data Analysis A series of four hierarchical model multiple regression 9orrelation analyses was used to test the four sets of null hypotheses. The used perception of the existence of crossfire and the numbers of absences (medical excused, discretionary excused, and discretionary unexcused) as the dependent variables. The survey provided data on the specified sts of control and predictor vaiiables within each The correlation analyses tested for a significant relationship between the dependent variable and the main effects and the interactions of the predictor variables, controlling for the demographic variables. 'The .05 level of statistical significance was used to test each of the null hypotheses. The control variables were: gender, age, and length of service of the principal; type of school (K-5, 1-5, K-6, 1-6), iocation, and total enrollment of the school. The predictor variables used in the equations were policy

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score, stri9tness score, and a score for influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988. The predictor variables were numeric scores represented by these variables. Statistical Formula Four hierarchical model multiple regression 71 correlation analyses were used to analyze the data using the formula: EMA = cv + p + s + I + P*S + S*I + P*I + P*S*I EDA = cv + p + s + I + P*S + S*I + P*I + P*S*I UDA = cv + p + s + I + P*S + S*I + P*I + P*S*I c = cv + p + s + I + P*S + S*I + P*I + P*S*I Dependent Variables EMA = tfumber of excused medical absences EDA = Number of excused discretionary absences UDA = Number of unexcused discretionary absences c = Perception of existence or non-existence of crossfire Control Varfable Set CV = Control variables of gender, age, length of service, lodation of school, type of school, total enrollment. They were included in the hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analyses as a group to determine if they were a factor before entering the predictor variables.

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72 Order of Entry of Predictor Variables Main Effects: Step 1 -Hypothesis 1: P = Policy score Step 2 -Hypothesis 2: s = strictness score Step 3 = Hypothesis 3: I = Influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988. Interactions of Predictor Variables: The Step 4 -Hypothesis 4A: P*S = Policy score strictness score Step 5 -Hypothesis 4B: S*I = Strictness influence Step 6 -Hypothesis 4C: P*I = Policy score influence Step 7 -Hypothesis 40: P*S*I = Policy score strictness influence level of significance was used to test the statistical significance of the results. The predictor variable main effects and interactions were entered into the equatioRs sequentially as listed in the steps described above. This order was chosen because policy sets the standard and strictness of the principal may be measured the standard. The Public School Finance Act of 1988 is a recent influence principals experienced when using their discretionary authority to excuse absences for other than medical reasons. Therefore

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73 influence was entered into the equation after policy and ,, strictness. : A semi;partial correlation of each predictor variable the dependent variable was obtained to determine degree to which each independent variable : explained additional variance in the dependent variable, controlling:. for all previously entered variables. Hierarchical multiple regression correlation analysis takes into account the intercorrelations among the predict?r variables. At each successive step, it determines the increment in explained variance in the dependent variable beyond that explained by the predictor variables in the equation. As each predictor variable wa$ entered, it tested one of the hypotheses at ,. the .05 of significance. The tw9-way interactions were added, and tested for statistical!significance individually in the equation containing the main effects. Finally, the three way interaction 'was added to the equation containing the main I effects and :the two-way interactions and tested for statistical significance individually in the equation containing the main effect. The of the three attendance equations, the correlation coefficients of the predictor variables, compared and contrasted to determine if the strength of the factors in explaining variance in

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74 number of absences varied by the type of absence. The comparison of relative strengths of the factors by type of absence addressed the problem presented in the statement of the problem. The fourth equation analyzed the variance in perception of the existence of crossfire in relation to the three predictor variables and their interactions. Presentation of the Findings The descriptive statistics of all variables were presented in tables. The statistical results of the data analyses were presented in tables. The findings of the data analyses were presented in tables and graphs to portray group differences of means of absences by predictor variables such as for punitive policy, non-punitive policy, and no policy. Protection of Human Rights Procedures were reviewed and approved by the Human Research Committee, University of Colorado at Denver. Subjects were informed they were free to withdraw from the study at anytime without penalty or prejudice and assured their responses would remain confidential with no attempt to identify responses with names.

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75 Summary The original number of schools randomly selected to complete surveys regarding attendance was 314. A survey was designed to collect data. A description of the instrument was presented as well as the data gathering process. This was followed by the statistical procedure and presentation of the findings. Chapter 4 will present the data with an analysis and of the findings.

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CHAPTER 4 PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA Introduction The data and analysis of the data from the survey responses are reported in this chapter. A microcomputer data base program and the statgraphics computer program were utilized to conduct all data analysis. The Colorado School Attendance Law of 1963 was the base for the research. The sets of survey items were designed to solicit information regarding elementary school attendance policies, strictness of the principal, influence of the Public School Finance Act of 1988, perception.of crossfire, and principal characteristics. An hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analysis was used to establish the percentage of explained variance in absences affected by the predictor and control variables. This method of analysis takes into account the intercorrelations among the predictor variables. The data from the instrument and the results of the multiple regression correlation analyses are presented and discussed.

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The Purpose of the study The purpose of this study was to identify and explore the:strength of a given set of factors in explaining variation in elementary school student absences from (a) illness or injury, 77 (b) excused discretionary absences, or (c) unexcused discretionary absences and whether or not there is a perception of crossfire resulting from the factors. The survey responses determined the degree of punitiveness of attendance policies, strictness of the principal, influence of the Public School Finance Act of 1988, perception of crossfire experienced by the respondent, and the principal's characteristics. Descriptive Statistics The response rate of elementary school administrators involved in the study are presented. A discussion cif the four sections of the questionnaire and a review of ,.the overall results of the data collection process are included. Sample Population The questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of 314 elementary school principals in Colorado. The random sample represented one-half of the population. School principals who were identified as the chief administrator

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of a public.: elementary school in Colorado which enrolls students in.grades K-5, 1-5, K-6, 1-6 comprised the population. Approximately 35% of the sample, or 111 principals completed the survey. Eleven principals returned surveys without completing them. Follow-up cards were mailed and telephone contacts were made to obtain missing information. Questionnaire Results This section presents results of the questionnaire 78 for each in the policy, strictness, influence, and demographic sections. In the policy section the results are shown as the number of respondents who indicated that the statement reflected an aspect of their school's attendance policy. Policy Items Policy .items include 4 information items, 4 non-punitive items, and 16 punitive items. Results of policy items are presented as percentages of responses. Information.Items 88% our school has an attendance policy. (If no .attendance policy please go on to next page.) 75% our school attendance policy is effective.

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82% Administrators are clear on student attendance requirements. 14% Our school has an attendance committee composed of administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community members. Non-punitive Attendance Policy Items 79 76% Our attendance policy includes provisions for awards for good attendance. I 54% Our school has a program to serve students with severe attendance problems. 74% Follow'up on absences is immediate. 79% Credit,for make up work is allowed. Punitive Attendance Policy Items 23% Our school attendance policy includes provisions for for absences. 63% Make up work is required. 49% Students must take the initiative in finding out what the make up work will be. 10% Students are required to submit make-up work in advance of a prearranged absence (e.g., a family vacation). 14% students are required to make up work in detention. 6% students are required to make up time in detention. 20% are required to make up work after school. 9% Students are required to make up time after school.

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80 11% Students are not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities until their work is made up. 4% students are not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities until the time has been made up. 14% Escalator consequences, more severe punishment for absences beyond a certain number of days, are given. 2% Students who are absent are assigned to a Special Services Room for one day. 4% Students absent for a maximum number of days are suspended. 4% A set maximum number of days results in failure for that grade. 5% Any person missing more than 40 days is not eligible for promotion except in case of extended personal illness verified by a physician or other extenuating i c1rcumstances. 54% Conferences are required with the principal, teacher, and the student having extensive absences. Strictness Items Given the state law and their attendance policy and considering both as implemented in grades 4 through 6, the results are shown as the number of respondents who marked NO meaning that they would take a strict position and not excuse the absence for the stated reason.

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1. Please excuse Mary from school on Friday. 1% She wa:s not feeling well and had a temperature. 2. John was absent from school yesterday 52% becaus:e he missed the bus and I have no car to bring him. 3. Yesterday I wasn't feeling well so I kept 69% Susan home to help take care of our 6 month old baby. 4. Please: excuse Joe for being absent. I 59% had a .dental appointment for his sister. There was no one to watch Joe after school so I him along. 5. On Fri;day Alison missed school because her 69% grandparents were arriving at eleven for a visit. I am working so I needed her at home to let them in. 6. Please excuse Jim from school during the 20% week of March 3rd to 7th. My husband won a trip to California. Our family is going along to visit Disneyland. Please, send his assignments. 7. David had a dental appointment at 10 yesterqay morning so we kept him out of schoolall day. 54% 81

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8. Please excuse Robert's absence from school. 77% We went shopping. 9 0 Sandy was absent yesterday because the authorities advised us to keep her home as there was the possibility of her being abducted by my ex-spouse. 9% 10. I really felt the weather was too bad 58% and it. was too cold for the children to be out so I kept them home yesterday. 11. Yesterday when the school bus arrived 86% Jason and his friend hid behind a small hill and did not come to school. Please excuse his absence. 12. My daughter was absent yesterday because 77% she was tired. She had spent the weekend with friends. 13. Please excuse John for being absent on January 28, 29, 30, 31. 14. Having a baby is very important to my husband and me as well as having our children present for the delivery. Please excuse.her absence as she was with us at the hospital. 63% 7% 15. I won't have money for supplies until 80% payday. Please excuse my son until then. I get paid this Friday. 82

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16. Ronnie called me at eleven when he woke 75% ,, .up. Please excuse his absence as it was all my fault that he is not in school. 17. Since yesterday was Veteran's Day we 55% decided to go to the parade downtown. Please: excuse Adam. 18. We were out of town all last week to attend 1% the funeral for my father. Please excuse the children for being absent. Influence Items The results are shown as the percentage of respondents who marked NO meaning influence is not important as an issue in the area of influencing decisions attendance. 19. One of the three major goals of the Colorado Public School Finance Act of 1988 is to improve public school attendance rate from the 1981-87 average rate of 92 percent to 95 percent by July 1, 1995. 20. Have you informed your parents of the expectations of Public School Finance Act of: 1988 this year? 9% 21% 21. The Public School Finance Act of 1988 has 68% influenced my discretionary decisions of excused absences for reasons other than i+lness. 83

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84 Crossfire Item The results are shown as the percentage of respondents' who marked NO indicating no crossfire in the use of their discretionary authority to determine discretionary absences as unexcused. 22. The use of discretionary authority to determine an excuse given by parents for the absence of their child as unexcused has created conflict with parents. Control and Predictor Variables 66% Data were collected through use of a survey. Table 4.1 presents the descriptive statistics for control and predictor variables included in the multiple regression correlation equations. Table 4.2 presents the sample correlations. Control variables were gender, age, length of service, location of school, type of school, and total enrollment. Predictor variables were type of pol1cy, strictness of the principal, and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988. For all four analyses, 61.2% of the respondents were male and 38.8% were female. The mean age of the respondents was 46.7 years with a standard deviation of about 6.5 years. The minimum age was 33 and the maximum

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Table 4.1 Descriptive Statistics for Variable Sets Used in Four Analyses Control Variables Age Length of Service Enrollment c 46.7 11.8 433.9 6.6 46.7 8.6 11.4 157.9 433,1 ANALYSIS EMA EDA 6.4 46.7 6.5 8.4 11.4 8.4 166.0 433.2 167.1 85 UDA 46.7 6.5 11.4 8.4 433.2 167.1 % Female 40.4% 38.5% 39.0% 39.0% Predictor Variables Policy Strictness Influence of 2.9 2.4 9.0 5.0 i.o .79 3.1 2.5 3.1 2.5 3.1 8.9 4.8 8.8 4.8 8.8 1.0 .85 1.0 .86 1.0 Dependent Variables .71 .46 366.9 311.3 111.3 272.7 24.7 Number Cases 99 78 77 Note. C = Crossfire, EMA Excused Medical Absences, EDA = Excused Discretionary Absences, UDA = Unexcused Discretionary Absences. 2.5 4.8 .86 67.5 77

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86 Table 4.2 sam:1;1le Correlations LENGTH ENROLLEMA, EDA UDA GENDER AGE SERVICE MENT N4 EMA 1. 0000 (84) .0000 EDA -.1548 1.0000 (83) (83) .1623 .0000 UDA .0033 -.0324 1. 0000 (83) (83) (83) .9767 .7712 .0000 Gender -.1352 -.1082 .0143 1. 0000 (84) (83) (83) (111) .2201 .3304 .8976 .0000 Age -.0280 .0730 -.0629 -.3334 1. 0000 (80) (79) (79) (106) (106) .8050 .5223 .5819 .005 .0000 Length .1408 .0714 -.0828 -.4597 .7163 1. 0000 of (82) (81) (81) (89) (105) (109) Service .2070 .5264 .4624 .0000 .0000 .0000 Enroll-.5129 .1134 .0318 -.0105 .1132 .1958 1. 0000 ment (83) (82) (82) (109) (104) (107) (109) .0000 .3103 7768 .9136 .2524 .0432 .oooo N4 -.0562 .0678 .0919 -.0418 -.0575 .1465 -.1813 1.0000 (82) (81) (81) (107) (102) (105) (105) (107) .6163 .5473 .4147 .6692 .5659 .1359 .0642 .0000 Note Coefficient (sample size) signifJ.cance level

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87 age was 63;' the median was 47. The mean length of service was between 11 and 12 years with a standard deviation of approximately 8 years. The minimum length of service was 1 year and the maximum was 36 years; the median was 9. The mean enrollment was 433 with a standard deviation of 167. The minimum enrollment was 60 and the maximum was 870; the median was 432. Predictor variables were type of policy, strictness of the principal, and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988. For all four analyses, the mean of policy was 3.1 with a standard deviation of 2.5. The minimum score was o and the maximum was 10; the median was 2. The mean of strictness was 8.9 with a standard deviation of 4.8. The minimum strictness score was 0 and the maximum was 16; the median was 11. The mean of influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988 was 1.0 with a standard deviation of .85. The minimum score was o with a maximum of 1; the median was 1. Dependent Variables There were four dependent variables used in the analyses: crossfire (C), excused medical absences (EMA), excused discretionary absences, (EDA), and unexcused discretionary absences (UDA). Three dependent variables represented a numeric measure of absences. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the four dependent variables. The mean of C was 70.7% with a

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88 standard deviation of .457. The minimum c was o and the maximum was 1; the median was 1. The mean of EMA was 366.9 with a standard deviation of 311.3. The minimum I EMA was o and the maximum was 1,274; the median was 295. The mean of EDA was 111.3 with a standard deviation of 272.7. The minimum EDA was 0 and the maximum was 1946; the median was 36. The mean of UDA was 24.7 with a standard deyiation of 67.5. The minimum UDA was 0 and the maximum was 390; the median was 0 which indicates that more than half (49/77) of the respondents reported no unexcused absences. Table 4.3 presents the frequency distribution of the returned questionnaires by location of the school (rural, suburban, and metropolitan). The table shows the number of cases with valid data for each of the four items representing the dependent variables in the study. Approximately 55% of the returned questionnaires were suburban schools, 22.5% were from rural schools and 22.5% were from metropolitan schools. Some of the returned questionnaires had missing data in the dependent variables. Twelve respondents, 10.8% (12/111), did not respond to the item used as the dependent variable for the analysis of crossfire. Thirty-three respondents, 29.7% (33/111), not provide data on medical absences, and 34 respondents, 30.6% (34/111) did not provide data on

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either or unexcused discretionary absences. Therefore, approximately 89% of the questionnaires were returned with valid data for the analysis of crossfire, and 70% (78/111, 77/111, 77/111) of the questionnaires were returned with valid data for the three analyses of medical and discretionary absences. 89 The response rate in this study was much less than desired. The low response rate may indicate that the majority of elementary school principals in Colorado are (1) not willing to participate in research relating to absences of students, (2) are not able to provide data on absences as requested in the questionnaire, or (3) do not have the time to participate. Comments provided on returned questionnaires indicated that some principals do not records on discretionary absences. Overall, one-third of the respondents did not provide any data on absences either discretionary or medical absences. These results from principals who volunteered responses to the questionnaires suggest that the records of absences in elementary schools may be poorly maintained in the population. A respondent from a suburban school with an enrollment of over 600 students indicated, students move to our school they often have very poor records regarding attendance--that is, schools have made no record of their attendance." Many suggested they accept all excuses given by parents.

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90 Eighty' percent of the rural schools provided data on absences compared to 72% of the suburban schools and only 56% of the urban schools. Table 4.3 Number of Schools Included in the Sample by Location Location Count c EDA UDA Rural 25 23 20 20 20 Suburban 61 55 44 43 43 Metropolitan 25 21 14 14 14 Total 111 99 78 77 77 Note. C = crossfire, EMA = Excused Medical Absences, EDA = Excused Discretionary Absences, UDA = Unexcused Discretionary Absences. Table 4.4 presents the frequency distribution of number of returned questionnaires and those with valid data for the dependent variables by type of elementary school 1-5, K-6, 1-6). There were no grade 1-5 schools in the response group and there were only two grade 1-6 schools. Approximately 59% of the schools were K-5 type schools and 40% were K-6 type schools. Approximately_77% of the K-6 schools provided data on absences compared to 64.6% of the K-5 schools and 100% of the two 1-6 schools.

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Table 4.4 Number of Schools Included in the Sample by Type Type Count c EDA UDA K-5 65 62 42 42 42 K-6 44 35 34 33 33 1-5 0 0 0 0 0 1-6 2 2 2 2 2 Total 111 99 78 77 77 Note. C = Crossfire, EMA = Excused Medical Absence, EDA = Excused Discretionary Absences, UDA = Unexcused Discretionary Absences. Multiple Regression Correlation Analyses The hierarchical multiple regression correlation analyses were conducted. Each dependent variable was tested at the .05 level of statistical significance in this analysis. A semi-partial correlation of each predictor variable with the dependent variable was obtained to determine the degree to which each independent variable explained additional variance in the dependent variable, controlling for all previously entered variables. Hierarchical multiple regression correlation analysis takes into the intercorrelations among the predictor variables. At each successive step, it 91

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92 determines the increment in explained variance in the : dependent variable beyond that explained by the predictor variables aiready in the equation. The control variables were added as a group followed by each of the main effects in order: policy, strictness, and influence. Then, the two-way interactions were added, and tested for statistical significance individually in the equation containing the main effects. Finally, the three way interaction was added to the equation containing the main effects and:the two-way interactions and tested for statistical: significance. None of the two-way or three way interactions were significant at the .05 level in any of the four analyses. Therefore, only the results of the control variables and the main effects were presented and discussed. Analysis of.Crossfire Table 4.5 presents the results of the analysis for crossfire. It shows the control variable set was added to the equation at Step 1. The control variables explained 1i.7% of variance in crossfire (R2 = .117) which was not statistically significant at the .05 level. steps 2 and 3, policy and strictness were added to the resulting in an increment (iB2 ) of .011 for policy and .007 for strictness. Neither were statistically significant at the .05 level.

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93 Step 4added influence to the equation. The table shows that adding the variable influence to the equation explained a significant 11.9% of the variance in crossfire ciB2 = .119, df = 1, 87, F = 13.92, ]2<.0003). Steps 5, 6, 7, and 8, added the interaction variables of policy strictness, strictness influence, policy and policy strictness influence respectively to the equation. None were statistically significant at the .05 level. The coptrol variables and main effects accounted for 25.4% of the variance in crossfire (B2 = .254, df = 11.87, l = 2.69). The analysis revealed that, controlling:_ for the demographic variable set and the effects of policy and strictness, the influence of the Public Finance Act of 1988 was related to the perception of about absences with parents. Crossfire was positively related to influence of law. A higher reported level of influence was associated with a higher level of crossfire with parents about absences. For the Crossfire analysis, each of the null I hypotheses was tested at the .05 level of statistical significance. Given the results of the hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analysis: Null hypothesis 1 relating to policy was not rejected. I i:.

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,, ,, Null hypothesis 2 relating to strictness of the principal was not rejected. 94 Null hypothesis 3 relating to influence of law was rejected. Null hypothesis 4 relating to interaction of the main effects was not rejected. Table 4.5 Results of Hierarchical Model Multiple Regression Correlation. Analysis on Crossfire Data, n = 99 Step Variable iB2 df r 1. Control Variables 0.117 8,90 1.49 2. Policy 0.011 1,89 1.09 3. Strictness 0.007 1,88 0.68 4. InflueJ,'lce 0.119 1,87 13.92 Total 0.254 11,87 2.69 Note: *** p<.OOl; ns = not significant at .05 level. Excused Medical Absences A second analysis using the same hierarchical ns ns ns *** .005 I sequence of.: was conducted on excused medical absences. Table 4.5 shows control variables were added to the equation at Step 1. Control variables

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95 I explained ar significant 39.6% of the variance in excused medical (B2 = .396, df = a, 69, = 5.65, :g<.OOOl). Steps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were added to the I equation. None of the main effect variables or their ,, interaction.significantly related to excused medical absences. Within the control variable set, only type of school and total enrollment accounted for a significant amount of variance: in medical absences. Type of school I accounted for 12.1% of the variance (iB2 = .121, df = 2, 71, = 5.38, :g<.Ol). Total enrollment accounted for an additional 19.1% of the variance in medical (iB2 = .191, df = 1, 70, = 21.30, :g<.OOl). Excused medical absences were not associated with any of the characteristics of the principal or location ofi: the school. ,, Excused medical absences were not associated with the main effect variables of policy, strictness of the principal or influence of law. These findings are consistent with the expectation that excused absences due to medical reasons are independent of all factors except I, enrollment.: Enrollment was logically associated with the I number of excused medical absences such that as total enrollment of the school increased, the number of excused i medical absences at the school also increased. Since

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96 excused medical absences was the actual number of I absences and not a rate, the number was expected to vary with enrollment. The variance associated with type of school was due to differences between the 76 schools in the K-5 and K-6 set and the two grade 1-6 type schools. Due to the very small number (2) of 1-6 schools, the mean for these schools was not reliable. The differences between K-5 and K-6 schools were not statistically significant. Therefore, ho conclusions were drawn regarding type of school. Table 4.6 Results of Hierarchical Model Multiple Regression Correlation Analysis on Excused Medical Absence Data, n = 78. Step Variable iR2 df E 1. Control Variables 0.396 8,69 5.65 *** 2. Policy 0.001 1,68 0.05 ns 3. strictness 0.023 1,67 2.65 ns 4. Influence 0.013 1,66 1. 52 ns Total 0.433 11, 66 4.57 .0001 Note: *** p<.OOl; ns = not significant at 05 level

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For the excused medical absences, each of the null hypotheses was tested at the .05 level of statistical significance. Given the results of the hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analyses: Null hypothesis 1 relating to policy was not rejected. Null hypothesis 2 relating to strictness of the principal was not rejected. Null hypothesis 3 relating to influence of law was not re:iected. Null hypothesis 4 relating to interaction of the main effects was not rejected. Unexcused Discretionary Absences 97 Table 4.7 indicates the results of the analysis of unexcused discretionary absences. Step 1 added the control variable set which was not significantly related to unexcused discretionary absences. Step 2 added the policy variable which was not significant at the .05 level. Step 3, strictness, was added and explained a significant increment of 5.2% of the variance in unexcused discretionary absences (iB2 = .052, df = 1, 66, l = 4.57, R<.036). These results indicated a weak relationship between strictness of the principal and unexcused discretionary absences: The more strict the principal the greater the unexcused discretionary absences. Neither policy nor

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98 influence df law were significantly related to unexcused discretiona;ry absences. Steps 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 added. the predictor variables influence, and the interaction of policy strictness, strictness influence, policy influence, and policy strictness influence. None were significantly related to unexcused discretionary absences. Table 4.7 Results of Hierarchical Model Multiple Regression Correlation Analysis on Unexcused Absence Data, n = 77. Step Variable iB2 df 1. Contro.l Variables 0.190 8,68 1. 99 2. Policy 0.007 1,67 0.62 3 0 Strictness 0.052 1,66 4.57 4. Influence 0.010 1,65 0.92 ns ns ns Total 0.259 11,65 2.07 .035 Note: }2<.05; ns = not significant at 05 level For Unexcused Discretionary Absences, each of the null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level of statistical significance. Given the results of the hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analyses:

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Null hypothesis 1 relating to policy was not rejected. Null hypothesis 2 relating to strictness was rejected. Null hypothesis 3 relating to influence was not rejected. Null hypothesis 4 relating to interaction of the main effects was not rejected. Excused Disbretionary Absences The Model Multiple Regression 99 Correlation Analysis of Excused Discretionary Absences revealed that none of the control or predictor variables accounted for a significant amount of the variance in excused discretionary absences. Policy, strictness of the principal, and influence of the law were not related to absences excused by discretion of the principal. For the excused discretionary absences analysis, each of the null hypothesis was tested at the .05 level of statistiqal significance. Given the results of the I, hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analyses: Null hypothesis 1 relating to policy was not rejected. Null hypothesis 2 relating to strictness of the principal was not rejected.

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Null hypothesis 3 relating to influence of law was not re:j ected. ,. Null 4 relating to interaction of the main gffects was not rejected. Summary This included the results of the tests of 100 the hypotheses. In the multiple regression correlation analyses, p:rincipal characteristics, location of the school, of school, and total enrollment are control variables dnly. They were entered into the equations as a group to account for the variance in the dependent variables prior to testing the effects of the predictor variables. The hierarchical multiple regression correlation: analyses described in Chapter 3 were conducted. "Each hypothesis was tested at the .05 level I of statistical significance. Step one of the hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analyses added the control variables tp the equations. Total enrollment and type of I' school were'. significantly related to excused medical absences. In this analysis, the control variables explained of the variance in excused medical absences. The control variables were not significant in I any of the other analyses.

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Step two of the hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analyses added the predictor variable po:;Licy to the equations. Policy was not significantly related to crossfire or any category of absences. Step three of the hierarchical model multiple regression correlation analyses added the predictor variable strictness to the equations. strictness was significantly related to unexcused absences. The strictness variable explained 5.2% of the variance in unexcused discretionary absences beyond the variance accounted f.or by the control variables and policy. Step four of the hierarchical model multiple regression 6orrelation analyses added the predictor variable in!:fluence to the equations. Influence was 101 significant1y related to crossfire. Influence explained 11. 9% of th:e variance in the dependent variable beyond the accounted for by the control variables, policy, and strictness. Interations of the main effects were entered at steps 5, 6, 7, and a. None were significant in any of the analyses. The next chapter will present the summary, and recommendations of the study. The findings will be discussed in relation to the literature review.

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CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Introduction Chapter 5 begins with a summary of the purpose and procedures employed in the current study. Conclusions were drawn, from the compiled results based upon responses to a questionnaire that were analyzed using a microcomputer data base program and the Statgraphics computer program. Recommendations based on this research will also be presented. Summary The purpose of this study was to identify and explore the strength of a given set of factors in explaining variation in elementary school student absences resulting from (a) illness or injury, (b) excused discretionary absences, or (c) unexcused discretionary absences and whether or not there is a perception of crossfire resulting from the factors. A review of relevant literature was conducted and reported iri Chapter 2. The literature provided support for the analytic framework, particularly for the concept

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103 of and the categories of absences resulting from the Compulsory School Attendance Law of 1963. The literature review related to this study emphasized compulsory attendance, a term used to mean that all children are compelled to attend school, and the principalship and role conflict. Attitudes dating back to colonial days reflect the importance placed on education by parents. Reeder (1958) reported the first public schools were established shortly after the first permanent settlers arrived in this country. VanGeel (1987) remarked on the necessity of providing an education in trades and in reading with the passage' of the Massachusetts Law of 1642. The "Old Deluder Satan Act" was passed calling for the establishment of elementary schools. Edwards and Richey (1963) reported children being taken away from parents who did not comply with the law. State constitutions became involved with education I and educational provisions became common. Pulliam (1987) wrote that the mandating of compulsory education as a move toward, statehood soon became popular. Other factors influenced education. Societal and technological conditions were taking place (Butts, 1978) Child popular. It was reported some 40% of working children had no schooling.

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104 The Co'lorado School Compulsory -Attendance Law of 1963 provided the principal the discretionary power.in excusing absences for reasons other than illness. The resulting pbtential for conflict from differing for the role of the principal underlie this research. Since colonial days the role of the principal continued to evolve to include the importance of the compulsory education and attendance laws. The Getzel and Guba (1968) model and the model by Kahn and others (1966) are helpful in examining the role of the principal and resulting role conflict. Chapter 3 presented the research design and methodology. Included were selection of the population, a descripti9n of the instrument, data gathering techniques, and analysis of the resulting information. A random sample of 314 public elementary school principals of grades K-5, 1-5, K-6, and 1-6 who were listed in the Colorado Education and Library Directory 1991-1992 was selected from 629 principals listed in this category. A questionnaire concerning type of attendance policy, strictness of the principal, influence of the Public School Finance Act of 1988, and crossfire experiencedby the principal was developed based on the literature and consultation with the advisor and the committee. Reliance on validity and reliability of

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105 survey data:was considered. The survey was analyzed by the researcher and advisor and was also submitted to a class of students at the University of Colorado at Denver to solicit feedback. A revision of the questionnaire was made using this feedback. This check on validity and reliability of the survey data was examined to assure that ideas were being accurately communicated to the respondents; in relation to the research needs. A covet letter, consent form, and a questionnaire were mailed to each of the randomly selected principals. Responses were received from the initial mailing. A post card was to non-respondents following a two week interval. A final response of approximately 35% was received from the sample. The response rate was less than desired. Comments on the survey indicated a lack of time and, in many cases, having attendance recorded either as being present or absent, with no distinction between excused medical, excused discretionary, and unexcused discretionary absences. In addition, approximately 4% of the respondents returned the survey without completing it commenting 6n a lack of time to participate. However, one totally:completed survey was returned with the following comment: "Your survey took me 10 minutes to complete." @

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Missin,g data posed a problem for the dependent variables, :EMA, EDA, UDA. Comments on the surveys indicated reasons such as: "Don't have time to look up11 (7 suburban .. 1 metropolitan). "Computer unable to provide the information" (1 suburban, 1 metropolitan). "We do not keep attendance data in this category" (5 rural, 11 suburban, 4 metropolitan). "We do not differentiate between excused and unexcused absences" 106 (5 rural, 4 suburban, 3 metropolitan). "Information not available" (1 rural, 5 suburban, 1 metropolitan). Phone calls were placed to schools in the hope of obtaining missing data. Conversations with school personnel indicated in a great number of cases that absences are not recorded in categories; rather they are recorded as absences only. However, the phone calls were I successful in a number of cases resulting in additional data. Conclusions Chapter 4 presented the results of the. research. The analysis of the responses made by school administrators involved in the study provided answers to the proposed research questions. 1. What is the distribution of total absences between illness or injury and discretional categories?

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107 Resu1 t1s of the survey indicated 32, 072 days absence in grades 4'-6 due to illness or injury, 9,230 due to discretiona:ry reasons and 2,357 absences were unexcused. The average: days absences were 289, 83, and 21 respectively. Therefore, approximately 74% of absences are due to medical reasons. Discretionary absences account for: 26% of all absences. In the category of discretionary absences 21% are excused discretionary absences 5% are unexcused discretionary absences. 2. What is the distribution of perceptions of crossfire in the sample? s ixty-,eight males and 4 3 females responded to this question. .Twenty males (29. 4%) indicated conflict and 47 indicate1d no conflict. One responded N/A. Fourteen female administrators (32.5%) indicated conflict and 24 reported no conflict. Three females responded N/A. Of the 23 rural school administrators responding 17.4% reported a perception of conflict. Of the 60 suburban administrators responding to this question, 36.6% indicated a: perception of conflict. Of the 24 metropolitan administrators responding, 33% indicated a perception bf conflict. The analysis revealed that, controlling for the demographic[ variable set and the effect of policy and strictness, the influence of the Public School Finance Act was related to the perception of conflict.

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108 A higher of influence was associated with a higher level of conflict with parents about absences. Since medical absences are excused by the Colorado Compulsory Attendance Law of 1963 and the principal used the discretionary authority provided by the law to excuse other absences, the opportunity for crossfire between administrat.ors and parents would result from the unexcused discretionary absences. The law allows the principal tp.e discretion to consider absences excused or unexcused. In addition, the Public School Finance Act exerts influence on the decision of the principal. Both will affect the decision made by the principal. 3. perceptions of crossfire and attendance rates vary with type of attendance policy (punitive, non-punitive, no policy) controlling for background variables of location, type of school, size and principal characteristics? Answers to questions regarding type of policy indicate the distribution of type of policy is such that most of the schools do not have a very punitive policy. On a scale of 1-16, elementary schools selected an average of or 3 items from the list of punitive characteristics. Results of the study indicate the relationship between these variables is not significant at the .05 level in any of the dependent variables.

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109 4. n : o perceptions of crossfire and attendance rates vary strictness of the principal, controlling for the background variables? Resul t : s of the study indicate the relationship between strictness and unexcused absences do differ statistically after controlling for principal characteristics. A 5% increment in explained variance appears to reflect the more strict the administrator the greater the number of unexcused absences. Attendance Laws date back to 1852 at which time Massachusetts passed and implemented the first compulsory attendance law. In 1872 Colorado Lothrop wrote of the importance parents play in the, formation of prompt and regular attendance. This opinion holds true today. In 1876 a recommendation for compulsory education was made and adopted at the Constitutional Convention and became law in 1899. This legislation: was last amended in 1903 and remained intact until 1963 The Colorado School compulsory Attendance Law of 1963 provided the principal the discretionary power in excusing absences for reasons other than illness. This study indicates a relationship between the strictness of the principal in excusing absences and the rate of unexcused absences.

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110 Eighteen surveys were returned with comments indicating these principals accept all excuses given by parents. It was interesting to note that 6 of the 18 respondents indicated conflict with parents. None of these 6 respondents marked "yes" to indicate they would excuse all of the absences for the reasons listed for the measure of strictness. On the remaining 12 surveys, respondents commented they accepted all absences as excused and. indicated no conflict with parents. However, only 2 respondents indicated they would accept all the excuses given to measure strictness of the principal. 5. Do perceptions of crossfire and attendance rates vary with principals who report influence or no influence on their decisions to excuse absences as a result of the Public School Finance Act of 1988, controlling for the background variables? This demonstrated a relationship between influence apd crossfire. In this section of the study influence accounted for 11.9% of the variance. Conflict was positively related to influence of law. A higher level of influence was associated with a higher level of conflict with parents about absences. I In relation to the review of the literature Getzels and Guba (1968) explain conflict that arises as a result of the demands placed on an institution such as the school by legislation like the Public School Finance Act

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111 of 1988. The principal is placed in the position of supporting the Finance Act and conforming to the expectations of parents with different points of view regarding excused or unexcused absences. Lipham and Hoeh (1974) expressed this conflict as one caught in a group crossfire." Kahn and others (1966) further explain crossfire with their model. When the role senders are supportive of the focal persons' performance the resulting feeling will be one of satisfaction and confidence. When changes in behavior are indicated there will likely be feelings of resistance and tension. When pressures are sent by parents to administrators they may respond by coping, communicating, complying with demands, avoidance, or use of defense mechanisms. The administrators' reactions will affect the reactions of the parents resulting in a cyclic and ongoing event. Using this information principals may analyze interactions and make decisions that result in less conflict. For example, principals may decide to communicate the importance of the Public School Finance Act of 1988 to parents and indicate how it benefits students. This in turn may reduce conflict with parents and make them more understanding of the goals of this Act. 6. Controlling for the background variables, do perceptions of crossfire and attendance rates vary with

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an interact:oion of: (a) policy type and strictness? (b) strictness and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988? (c) policy type and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988? (d) policy type and strictness and influence of Public School Finance Act of 1988? 112 This study did not demonstrate an interaction of the predictor variables. Discussion The findings of this study indicate a perception by principals that the Public School Finance Act of 1988 has an effect on the crossfire between principals and parents. the variable, influence, to the equation explained a significant 11.9% of the variance in crossfire. The analysis revealed that, controlling for the demographic variable set and the effects of policy and strictness, the influence of the Public Finance Act of 1988 was related to the perception of crossfire with parents about absences. In the literature review the Getzel-Guba model explains how demands placed on the school by the Colorado School Law of 1963 and the Public School Finance Act of 1988 affects the role of the principal.

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113 Both institutional and personal needs interact The principal attempts to cope with meeting the needs of the institution and his own pattern of needs in making decisions. The Ka:hn model explains the interaction of the principals and parents. The role episode as explained by the Kahn model shows role pressures are assumed to originate in the expectations held by members of the role set. Role senders (parents) have expectations regarding the way in which the focal role (principal) should be performed. They also have perceptions regarding the way in which the focal person is actually performing. The role sender exerts pressures to make performance congruent with expectations. The focal person makes adjustive or maladjustive responses which are observed by the senders and in turn their expectations are correspondingly adjusted. The expectations held by I members of the role set yields an indication of potential for conflict. The significance of the literature review and this finding supports the importance of ongoing communication with parents. Principals should consider informing parents about the daily life of the school in order to assure them that the school is providing a positive growth experience for their children. In making parents aware of the importance of their children attending

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114 school principals can reduce the crossfire between the school and the home. When the school and the home are in agreement dn the value of being in school the principal and can present a united front to the children. This combined attitude will positively affect the children and help promote responsibility for their own performance as well as being part of a team. Effective communicati:on will make parents and children a part of the school 1rather than apart from it. The results of the analysis of unexcused discretionary absences indicated a relationship between strictness :of the principal and unexcused absences: ;the more strict the principal the greater the unexcused discretionary absences. The significance of this finding supports the idea again of ongoing communication with parents. It behooves principals to convey to parents their expectations, goals, and standards. The resulting dialogue between principals and parents creates an openness for resolving differences of opinions about reasons for keeping children out of school which may help to diminish crossfire. As parents become more knowledgeable about the importance of keeping their children in school the possibility of children having a high daily attendance rate is increased. With i principals and parents operating from the same basic

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position incidence of the number of unexcused discretionary absences may be reduced. Recommendations This research has presented a study of a given set of factors:. policy, strictness, and influence in explaining variation in elementary school student absences as a result of illness or injury, excused discretionary absences, or unexcused discretionary .. absences and whether or not there is a perception of crossfire resulting from the factors. Findings in this I study revea.l that further research recommendations may include: 1. A parallel investigation of parents opinions il5 on policy, :strictness, and influence with a comparison to findings this study. 2. An in-depth comparison of schools identified as having stro:ng punitive attendance policies (score of 10 ., items or more) with schools with non-punitive policies using the s'ame criteria to determine which is more effective, non-punitive policy or a punitive policy. In this study the mean of punitive policy was 3.1 with a standard deviation of 2.5. The minimum score was 0 and the maximum score was 10; the median score was 2. In this study the scores for punitive policy were averaged

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i. 116 together I, result1ng I in a weak description of schools with i' punitive pqlicy. 3. Arl investigation of schools reporting an average r attendance ;rate of 95% or better having students who are absent than 5% of the days to determine reasons for their abserices. I 4. Ari investigation of school attendance policies I regarding for awards for good attendance i versus penalties for absences with a comparison of number I of days absent. I 5. I' G1ven the Colorado Compulsory Attendance Law of 1963 and the Public School Finance Act of 1988 it is i recommendeq that attendance record-keeping reflect the I I, categories !of medical, discretionary ex9used, and I I unexcused absences. ,. I 6. Data from policy items indicated only 14% of the respondents had attendance .committees that included principals, teachers, students, parents, and I community members. Only 56% of the respondents indicated having with students experiencing extensive i absences. :rt is recommended that schools involve individuals from these groups in striving for improved attendance.:

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APPENDIX

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APPENDIX A QUESTIONNAIRE

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119 EXCUSED/UNEXCUSED ABSENCES Policies, regulations, and guidelines for attendance vary from school to school. Please consider your attendance policy as implemented in grades 4 through 6 and check all that apply when students have been absent. Our school has an attendance policy. -----(If no attendance policy please go on to next page.) _____ Our school attendance policy is effective. _____ Administrators are clear on student attendance requirements. _____ our school has an attendance committee composed of administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community members. _____ our school attendance policy includes provisions for awards for good attendance. _____ our school has a program to serve students with severe attendance problems. Follow up. on absences is immediate. ===:=credit for make up work is allowed. _____ our school attendance policy includes provisions for penalties for absences. _____ Make up work is required. students must take the initiative in finding out what -----the make up work will be. _____ students are required to submit make-up work in advance of a prearranged absence (e.g., a family vacation). _____ students are required to make up work in detention. _____ students are required to make up time in detention. _____ students are required to make up work after school. _____ students are required to make up time after school. students are not allowed to participate in -----extracurricular activities until their work is made up. students are not allowed to participate in -----extracurricular activities until the time has been made up. _____ Escalator consequences, more severe punishment for absences beyond a certain number of days, are given. Students who are absent are assigned to a Special -----Services Room for one day. students absent for a maximum number of days are -.----suspended. A set maximum number of days results in failure ----for that grade. Any person missing more than 40 days is not eligible -----for promotion except in case of extended personal illness verified by a physician or other extenuating circumstances. Conferences are required between the teacher, -----principal, and the student with extensive absences.

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120 Given the state law and your attendance policy, please consider both as implemented in grades 4 through 6 in your school and indicate whether or: not you would excuse absences for the reasons listed below by circling yes or no. l. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Please excuse Mary from school on Friday. She was not feeling well and had a temperature. John was absent from school yesterday because he missea the bus and I have no car to bring him. I wasn't feeling well so I kept Susan home to help take care of our 6 month old baby. Please excuse Joe for being absent. I had a dental appointment .. for his sister. There was no one to watch Joe after school so I took him along. On Friday Alison missed school because her grandparents were arriving at eleven for a visit. I am working so I needed her at home to let them in. Pleas.e excuse Jim from school during the week of March 3rd to 7th. My husband won a free trip to California. our family is going along to visit Disneyland. Please send his assignments. David: had a dental appointment at 10 yesterday morning so we kept him out of school all day. Pleas:e excuse Robert's absence from school. We went shopping. 9. Sandy:' was absent yesterday because the authorities advised us to keep her home as there was the possibility of her being abducted by my ex spouse. 10. I really felt the weather was too bad and it was too cold for the children to be out so I kept them home 11. Yesterday when the school bus arrived Jason and his friend hid behind a small hill and did not come to school. Please excuse his absence. 12 My da'ughter was absent yesterday because she was tired.. She had spent the weekend with friends. 13. Pleas:e excuse John for being absent on January 28, 29, 30, 31. YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO

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14. Having a baby is very important to my husband and me as well as having our children present for the delivery. Please excuse Maria's absence as she was with us at the hospital. 15. I won't have money for supplies until payday. Please excuse my son until then. I get paid this Friday. 16. Ronnie called me at eleven when he woke up. Please excuse his absence as it was all my fault that he is not in school. 17. Since yesterday was Veteran's Day we decided to go to the parade downtown. Please excuse Adam. 18. We were out of town all last week to attend the funeral for my father. Please excuse the children for being absent. 121 YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO Please circle the response that most accurately reflects your current perception. 1. 2. 3. 4. One of the three major goals of the Colorado Public School Finance Act of 1988 is to improve public school attendance rate from the 1981-87 average rate;of 92 percent to 95 percent by July 1, 1995. Have you informed your parents of the expectations of Public School Finance Act of 1988 this year? The Public School Finance Act of 1988 has influenced my discretionary decisions of granting excused absences for reasons other than illness. The use of discretionary authority to determine an excuse given by parents for the absence of their child as unexcused has created conflict with parents. YES NO YES NO YES NO YES No Comments ____________________________________________________________________ __

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GENERAL INFORMATION ,GENDER OF RESPONDENT -------'MALE PRINCIPAL _____ AGE OF RESPONDENT _____ FEMALE 122 OF SERVICE AS A PRINCIPAL, INCLUDING THIS YEAR LOCATION OF SCHOOL _____ RURAL (School in the country or town with population below 10,000) _____ SUBURBAN (School in town located in outlaying parts of a city or a town with a population of 10,000 or more) ______ METROPOLITAN (School in the Denver Metropolitan Area) TY?E OF SCHOOL -------'K-5 _____ 1-5 _____ .K-6 _____ 1-6 _._ ____ TOTAL ENROLLMENT PLEASE GIVE ACTUAL NUMBER OF ABSENCES DURING THE FIRST SEHESTER IN GRADES 4 -6 IN THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES: ____ _:ACTUAL NUMBER OF EXCUSED MEDICAL ABSENCES. ______ .ACTUAL NUMBER OF EXCUSED DISCRETIONARY ABSENCES _______ ACTUAL NUMBER OF UNEXCUSED ABSENCES

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APPENDIX B LETTER OF INTRODUCTION

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of Colorado at Denver School or Education Campus Box 106 P.O. Box 173364 Denver, Colorado 802i7-3364 Office: (303) 556-2717 Fax: (303) 556-4479 February 17, 1992 Dear Principal: 124 As a school administrator you are involved with the Compulsory Attendance Law of 1963, the Public School Finance Act of 1988, and your school attendance policy. Because of your involvement, you are to participate in a doctoral study regarding the attendance of students in elementary schools in Colorado. The main purpose of this study is to identify and explore variation in absences resulting from illness, excused discretionary absences, or unexcused absences. This study \!ill provide personnel with information regarding student attendance at school. Findings will help administrators and boards of education to set future attendance policies. You have been randomly selected to participate in this study and are asked to complete the enclosed questionnaire voluntarily as quickly and accurately as possible. Your opinions and views are very important to this study. The brief questionnaire gives you the opport:unity to share them:. Please write any remarks in the "comments" section you feel would be helpful to this study. It would be greatly appreciated if you could respond within one week. All responses will be anonymous. Identification numbers are included only for record keeping purposes to identify surveys as they are returned. They will not be used in any way to identify you or your school. Questions concerning your rights as a subject can be directed to the Human Research Committee, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado. Upon request, you may receive a copy of the Institutions General Assurance from the Human Research Committee Secretary. Please return the completed questionnaire in the stamped, self-addressed envelope. Thank you for your prompt response and your participation in this study. sincerely, y:J_;{/.J. Mike Charleston, Ph.D. Ann Heim Associate Professor of Education Doctoral Candidate

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APPENDIX C CONSENT FORM

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126 CONSENT FORM You are free to withdraw from this study at anytime .without penalty or prejudice. You can be assured that your responses will remain both anonymous and confidential; and there will be no attempt to identify responses with names. If you should have any questions concerning this survey, both during and after the research is completed, please call me at (303) 466-9808. If there is no answer and you leave a message, I will return your call as soon as possible. If .you should have questions concerning your rights as a subject, you may direct your questions to the Office of .Research Administration, CU-Denver, Box 123, 80204, telephone 556-2770. This consent form will be kept confidential. Please sign below, return one copy with the survey, and keep the other copy for your records. Thank :you. Signature of survey Respondent (RETURN COPY) CONSENT FORM You are free to withdraw from this study at anytime without penalty or prejudice. You can be assured that your responses will remain both anonymous and confidential; and there will be no attempt to identify responses with names. If you should have any questions concerning this survey, 'both during and after the research is completed, please call me at (303) 466-9808. If there is no answer and you leave a message, I will return your call as soon as possible. If you should have questions concerning your rights as a subject, you may direct your questions to the Office of Research Administration, CU-Denver, Box 123, 80204, telephone 556-2770. This consent form will be kept confidential. Please sign below, return one copy with the survey, and keep the other copy for your records. Thank you. Signature of Respondent (RETAIN COPY)

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APPENDIX D FOLLOW-UP CARD

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Dear Principal: Recently a survey was mailed to you to collect information related to elementary school attendance, policies, laws, and the Public School Finance Act of 1988. 128 If you have already completed and returned it, please accept my thanks. If not, I would like to ask you to fill it out and send it back by March 10, 1992. It is extremely important to receive your survey for the results to have an impact on this study of school attendance. If by chance you did not receive the survey, or it has become misplaced, please call (303) 466-9808 and you will be sent a replacement. Thank you. ANN HEIM

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APPENDIX E RESPONDENTS' COMMENTS

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130 RESPONDENTS' COMMENTS Comments in this section are divided into categories to represent rural, suburban, and metropolitan schools. Rural There are concerns when parents lie, but this school district philosophy is NOT to judge parent vs state rights. The excuse is denied upon PROOF of falsehood. As a general rule, we do not make a "big deal" out of an absence unless a student has many absences (even for good reasons) or, the teacher has reason to believe they are not for legitimate reasons. We do not break absences down into all of these categories (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories) We don't keep a record on this (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). We do not distinguish between excused and unexcused absences, absent is absent! Excuse 7 -takes a day. Any dental appointment in this area Attendance rate = 99%. The "excuse" of absences is not an issue here. Our attendance'rate is traditionally between 95%-99%. We follow a strict attendance procedure with additional incentives which may be simplistic, but it works!!!! We have not specifically informed parents of the Public School Finance Act of 1988. The use of discretionary authority conflict is not an issue. Excusing absences is not an issue. Excuse 6 -Advance notice is expected when students go on trips. We do not distinguish between medical vs absences -just excused or unexcused.

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131 We do not have an attendance policy and have few problems related to poor attendance. This year as in past years we are running above 95% attendance. I work on individual.cases but on the whole we have very few problems. (Attendance first quarter was 96.3%, second quarter 94.6%) Parents excused students' absences in cases above (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories) We do not keep track of this at the elementary. They do at middle school and high school (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). Our monthly attendance average ranges from 94.6% to 98.7%. We deal with some chronic attendance problems. Each case is considered individually. Info not immediately available, however attendance over last 3 years has averaged 95% (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). We do not have a problem with absenteeism in our district. .We usually average from 97-98% attendance. Last year we had a severe outbreak of flu in the lower grades which brought us down to 95%. We expect it to be much better this year in spite of a flu outbreak in December. Excuse 3 -This would have to be a rare occasion. :Excuse 6 -We live in a very rural area, and these trips would be rare and a unique opportunity. We excuse absences whenever a parent calls. cutting school would require making up time. The ones (excuses) I did not circle are definitely questionable, but yes, the parent decides. No distinction is made between excused medical absences and excused/unexcused discretionary absences. We accept all parental excuses at the elementary level. In elementary, we do not have unexcused or excused absences. We encourage good attendance and have 95% attendance each year. We do not have "unexcused absences" in grades 4 and 5. In K-5 all absences are considered excused -we do not judge them. If the parent wants the child out we will allow it. If problems arise we set up a conference with the parent. If need be we contact Social Services.

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We haye no classification for excused or unexcused absences at the elementary school. we make contact by phone, letter or in person to verify all absences. 132 We do:: not give (un) excused absences. They are either or present. Parents provide reasons but at the elementary level "punishment" is not consistent. students make up work needed. Teachers contact parents and express concern re: unacceptable excuses. We have no district consequences (policies) for "unexcused',' elementary absences. Beyond 10 absences a year we send an "out of compliance" with compulsory attendance'letter. Attendance rate= 96%. Suburban We have to accept whatever the parents tell us, but we take action after the 8th absence. Know that 99% of the time, children in elementary schools are counted as an excused absence whenever a parent call,s the school. We at 95% now and I generally excuse absences verified by parents for most reasons. Each day all absentees are called and/or parents call in when their children are absent. I do not separate absences (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). As students move to our school they often have very poor records regarding attendance--that is, schools have made no record of their attendance. Excuse 9 -A follow-up is required. Excuse 18 -.This should have been arranged ahead of time. I would make a follow-up call. We accept all excuses -as the principal I ask parents to please have their kids in school every day. We don:. t keep track overall (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). The pr'imary purpose of the 188 finance act was property tax relief, not education. We need to call a rose a rose' (or lemon) Excuse 8 We would not send his but expect log writing and reading. If a parent calls with any excuse we simply mark them absent. At the elementary level we just make sure they are with the parent or sitter if not in school. If they've overslept or decided to try and ditch school, parents are: told to bring them in late. We do not have these separated. Our attendance rate is 97% to recording actual number of absences in

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Not down by grade levels. Too difficult to pull out to recording actual number of absences in categories) 6 Most do a report on learning that took place. 133 I donit have time to check all the printouts for this. Too :busy seeing that kids are in school! In my 5 years here we have had 96% attendance rate! (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). In elementary school (K-5) parents are the final decision-maker about attendance. We would question repeated incidents of items marked "no". Excuse 3 Depends on the case. Don't keep records (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories) We do .not keep these records. We only use excused and in cases of significant absences by one student to recording actual number of absences in categories):. We do not take attendance in this manner (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). Excuse 1 -Yes, if parent took the responsibility to inform us. Excuse 2 -Child and parents' responsibility to be on time. Excuses 7 and 8 -counsel parents. Excuse 9 -I like to see copies or have a phone call to Social Serv:ices. Excuse 11 -Why didn't you call the school? Ex:cuse 13 -Why? I would probably excuse if reason was worthy. Excuse 14 -This is a value call. Average daily attendance 97% for my school. We are: very, very fortunate. We have an attendance rate 97-98%:! We just do not have a problem as the teachers, s'C:hool social worker, secretary, and principal, (Me) follow: up immediately on any absence. If anything we have a problem with students coming to school when ill. Information is not available for just grades 4-6. Statistics are not summarized for grades 4-6 (refers to recording a7tual number of absences in categories). i Excused -parent aware and notify school. If the reason is weak future discussion can occur--if you can find the time for follow-up. Daily -we check to make sure that all students not at school are accounted for. Attendance rate is 97%.

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134 I do not distinguish -too much time needed to answer -97% average attendance so far this year (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories) 1946 absences of potential 45,594 student days. Excuse 10 -It would depend on how severe the weather was. overall attendance 97%. Our school and district policies make little difference in attendance. our attendance rate is 96%. We have no system in place to give us this info (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). Many of the excuses in #1-18 would cause me to call or visit tbe family. It is more than just a matter of excused or:not. Unavailable (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). The state law in Colorado is nearly useless regarding compulsory attendance. We don't question parent excuses. We accept them all. Our attendance has always been at or about 95%. Elementary schools don't have the attendance problems of secondary schools. The state just creates paperwork and detracts from their Your survey took me 10 minutes to complete.@ We accept any excuse by a parent or legal guardian. We do not distinguish between excused and unexcused. An absence is :.an absence. The use of discretionary authority has created conflict with parents which is why the current law doesn't work. Educators need to be working with parents and kids rather than in a punitive manner. There are no "real" consequences with the current law (other than making the problem worse). Our efforts should be to develop a desire to come to school via an internal locus of control within kids rather than a punitive, ineffective motivation via an external locus of control. Information not available in this form (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories) Not available (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories).

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Vacation time during school time has created conflict. I I don't have the time to compile this info for you (refers to:recording actual number of absences in categories). Our overall attendance rate for the first quarter was 97.6%. We let parents' excuses stand. We do not make judgments on unexcused absences. We have informed parents of state, district, and school attendance goals. Most parents go on as usual. I don't think they care about the attendance goal. 1st semester attendance rates: Staff = 97%. students =.5%. I request a summary of your doctoral findings. We keep just absences. Semester of 80 days we had 1607.5 absences in our total enrollment. 135 Excuse 8 Would need documentation. Excuse 10 -our distriqt allows this. Excuse 18 Need prior notice. The given could be used once if the past history of 'the child's attendance pattern has been good. Info not available through our record keeping (refers to :recording actual number of absences in categories) This whole section is "full of holes" and exceptions 'could be made in each. I feel a positive approach to good attendance is far more consistent. Perhaps our. 97.4% attendance influences these comments. My concern :is the time(s) when parents take their kids skiing for a day. I use Bloom's Indiana study quite a bit in good attendance. It is difficult to take responsibility away from parents but we need to in these situa,:tions when it affects learning. Excuse. 13 -I would call for an explanation. absences are not clearly defined by our Board Policy. It would help us implement them if some consequence resulted -now not much is done. Excuse: 6 Work made up. We are unable to access this information on our computer. I do not have the time to do the above manually or the clerical help (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories).

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136 Metropolitan We dont get into the battle of 11excused vs unexcused.11 When we have concerns, we work directly with parents. We try to avoid adversarial relationships with parents over attendance. We don't have a way to 11formally11 mark 11excused11 or 11unexcused.11 Excuse 2 -We'd work on a plan for next time. Excuse 6 -We would excuse if it were the first one, if repeated vacations -no. Excuse 13 Would call for info before deciding. No data collected on these (refers to recording number of absences in categories). High turnover -enrollment ranges from 600-620. We do not keep these records according to reason (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). A student is absent a full day or half day. I cannot respond except to say time out of school is time absent from school. 1 and 2 -Conditional. Students make up work and time after school if absent without permission. Absences are handled on an individual basis. When a student more than 10 days, we become concerned. We send a letter home, inform the teacher, talk to the student andjor the parent. If absences do not decrease, the district attendance officer becomes involved. We may file court proceedings or require a doctors excuse. The of discretionary authority has created very little conflict with parents--only with chronic absences. Computer unable to provide numbers (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories) -the parents can write any excuse-for any reason--falsify if they choose. If I 11grant11 or 11refuse11 an absence--then what? Not available (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). Do not differentiate the difference between excused and unexcused too much. If parents keep child out, put responsibility on parents. (Any absence affects school work). Truancy (parents do not know) is about the only unexcused absence. Attendance was 93% for the 1st semester.

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137 We do.: not make an issue over the "excuses" parents write for their children unless the absences are becoming excessive or are contributing to excessive absences. Every parent is called the day of each absence which helps cut down on absences. Even though I circled responses above, we do not list absences as unexcused, they are just absences. For the most part, our kids come to school when they should probably stay home. They vomit getting off the bus!! When we find those few who seem to have a phobia, or whatever, we look for the reason. In all reality -Social Services and the police department.: have no real interest in children absent from school, co:flsequently some parents feel the issue to be Excused and unexcused absences receive little attention. Results not broken down (refers to recording actual number of absences in categories). Attendance for the school has been 95% during the first semester. The issue of excused vs unexcused absence is a non issue for us at our school. The issue for us is "present for learning or not present for learning.11 It doesn't matter if child's absence is "excused" or not. Our attendance,data is a result of who's in school and who is not in school. We encourage NO absence at school (excused or unexcused). Excuse 7 -half day only. Excuse 13 -We'd call for the reason!: We do .not keep the attendance data in these categories (refers to recording actual number of absences in

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REFERENCES Babbie, E. R. {1979). The practice of social research {2nd Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company; Inc. Button, H. w., & Provenza, E. F., Jr. {1989). History of education and culture in America {2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Butts, R. F. {1978). Public education in the United States:: From revolution to reform. New York: Houghton Mifflin company. Colorado Department of Education. {1989). Colorado school laws. Denver, Colorado. Colorado Department of Education. (1991). Colorado school laws. Denver, Colorado. Edwards, & Richey, H. G. {1963). The school in the American social order. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Faber, c. F., & Shearron, G. F. (1970). Elementarv school administration. theorv and practice. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. First biennial report of the superintendent of public instruction of the territory of Colorado for the school years ending September 20, 1870 and September 30, 1871. {1872). {Documents 5A -In 4.5, 1:871) Central 'City, Colorado: Authority. Fraiser, G.' w. {1956). An introduction to the study of education {rev. ed.). New York: Harper & Brothers. General law's and joint resolutions, memorials and private acts, passed at the fourth session of the legislative assernbly".of the territory of Colorado. 1865. {Documents 5A Ac, 5:4) Central City, Colorado: Byers and Dailey Printers. Getzels, J. & Guba, E. {1957). Social behavior and the administrative process. School Review 65, 429.

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Getzels, J .. w., Lipham, J. M., & Campbell, R. R. (1968). Educati!onal administration as a social process: Theory,: research, practice. New York: Harper & Row. : Hatch, D. R. (1917). Civil government of Colorado (17th e'd. ) Denver, Colorado: Herrick Book and Station'ery Company. 139 Kahn, R. L., Wolfe, D. M., Quinn, R. P., & Snoek, J. D. (1966).: Adjustment to role conflict and ambiguity in organiz:ations. In B. J. Biddle & E. J. Thomas (Eds.), Role theory: Concepts and research (pp. 277-299). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Knezevich,: s. (1975). Administration of public education. New York: Harper and Row. Laws passed. at the twelfth session of the general assembly of the state of Colorado at Denver, on the fourth day of January, a.d. 1899. (1899). (Government Document Service No. 5 A3, 5:12) Denver, Colorado: Authority. Laws passed at the fourteenth session of the general assembly of the state of Colorado. Convened at Denver,:the seventh day of January, a.d. 1903. (1903). Government Document Service No. 5-A3, 5:14) .. Denver, Colorado: Authority. I Laws passed at the first regular session of the forty-fourth general assembly of the state of Colorado convened at Denver at 10 o'clock a.m. Wednesday, Januaryi2nd, a.d. 1963 and adjourned die on sunday, April 7, 1963. (1963) (Government Document ServiceNo. 5-A3, 5:44-1). Denver, Colorado: Bradford-Robinson. Laws passed at the first regular session of the forty-ninth general assembly of the state of Colorado convened at Denver at 10 o'clock a.m. Wednesday, January;3, a.d. 1973 and adjourned sine die on Friday, June 29. 1973. (1973) (Government Document Service No. 5-A3, 5:44-1). Denver, Colorado: Bradford Printing co. Laws passed at the second regular session of the forty-ninth General assembly of the state of Colorado convened at Denver at 10 o'clock a.m. Wednesday, January :2, a.d. 1974. (1974) (Government Document Service 'No. 5-Ac, 5:49-2). Denver, Colorado: Bradford Printing Co.

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140 Laws passad at the first regular session of the fifty-first general assembly of the state of Colorado convened at Denver at 10 o'clock a.m. Wednesday, Januar 5, a.d. 1977 and adjourned sine die on Wednesday, June 22, 1977. (1977) (Government Document Service No. 5 Ac, 5:51 -1). Denver, Colorado: Bradford Printing Co. I, I I Laws passed at the f1rst regular sess1on of the fifty-fourth general assembly of the state of Colorado convened at Denver at 10 o'clock Wednesday, January' 5. a.d., 1983. (1983) (Government Document Services No. 5-Ac, 5:54, Sess. 1, v. 1). Denver, Colorado: Bradford Publishing co. Lipham, J.:, & Hoeh, J. (1974). The principalship: Foundations and functions. New York: Harper & Row. Miller, v.:, Madden, G., & Kincheloe, J. (1972). The public administration of American school system. New York: co. Neill, Shirley. (1979). Keeping students in school: Problems and solutions. Sacramento, California: Educatipn News Service. Nordbye, J'. 0. (1991). Colorado education & library directory 1991-1992. Denver, Colorado: Colorado of Education. Pulliam, J. D. (4th Company. Reeder, W. : G New York: (1987). History of education in America. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill Publishing (1958). A first course in education. Macmillan. Reich, J. R. (1968). The principalship: A brief In R. W. Saxe (Ed.), Perspectives on the changing role of the principal. Springfield, Illinois: Thomas Books. Second biennial report of the superintendent of public instruction of the territory of Colorado for the two school years ending September 30, 1873. (1874). (Documents 5A-In 7.5, 1:873). Denver, Colorado: Wm. N. Publishing Printer. Silver, P. (1983). Educational administration and theoretical perspectives on practice and research. New York: Harper & Row.

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Snook, J. E. (1904). Colorado history and government with state constitution. Denver, Colorado: The Herrick Book and Stationery Company. 141 State boat,d goals announced. (1989, January). Education Colorado, val. 24, no. 1, p. 1. state of Colorado (1907). Proceedings of the constitutional convention held in Denver. December 20, 1875 to frame a constitution for the state of Colorado together with the enabling act passed by the congress of the United States and approved March 3, 1875. The address to the people issued by the convention. The constitution as adopted and the president's. proclamation. Denver, Colorado: The Smith-Brooks Press, 'state Printers. Third biennial report of the superintendent instruction of the territory of Colorado years ending September 30, 1875. (1876). 5A-In 7.5, 1:875). Denver, Colorado: Mountain News Stream Printing House. of public for the two (Documents Rocky Thomas, G. E. (1990). Race relations in the 1980s and 1990s: Challenges and alternatives. Washington, D.C.: Hemisphere Publishing Co. Tyack, D., James, T., & Benavot, A. (1987). Law and the shaping of public education, 1785-1954. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. VanGeel, T. (1987). The courts and American education law. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books.

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VITA Annabelle M. Schieferecke Heim was born April 1, 1932 in Leoville, Kansas to Bernard and Clara Schieferecke. She graduated from Leoville Rural High School in 1950. From 1950-1951 she attended Marymount College, Salina, Kansas and received a continuing 60 hour elementary teaching certificate. In 1976 she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree Metropolitan state College, Denver, Colorado. In 1978, of Colorado, Boulder, granted her a Master's Degree in Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision. Mrs. Heim taught in Western Kansas Rural Schools for 4 years. The family moved to Denver, Colorado and she served as an elementary school substitute teacher for 13 years in Westminster School Dist. so. She continued in the same district working as a school secretary from 1971-1976. In l976 she resumed her elementary teaching career. During 1984-1885 she served as elementary school principal for 1 year at Mesa Elementary. From 1985 until the present time she is principal of F. M. Day Elementary. She is married to Raymond J. Heim, an engineer. They are the parents of Robert & Kim Heim, David & Julie Heim, Louise & Andy Bixby, Karen & Gary Bebber, and Jerry & Whitney Heim. Grandchildren are Christopher and Heidi Heim, Marianne, Matthew,. and Mark Heim, Billy, Joey, and Katie Bixby, and Willie and Jimmy Bebber.