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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1999. Department of Political Science.


Copyright 1999, the author. Used by permission.


The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not the public sees local and national school systems in terms of efficiency.Both measures of confidence in education (national and local) were taken from national survey data between the years 1973-1996.Measures of educational efficiency were broken down into educational inputs, and educational outputs.Educational inputs were operationalized as per pupil expenditures from 1973-1996, and education outputs were operationalized as recentered Scholastic Assessment Scores (SAT) scores from 1973-1996.

Two Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regressions were used to measure the effect of educational expenditures and SAT scores on confidence in both the national education system and local schools.Granger Causality Tests were done to test whether or not educational expenditures and SAT scores were causally related.

The results of this study show that confidence in the national educational system is correlated with educational efficiency.As SAT scores increase and educational expenditures decrease, confidence in the national education system increases.Confidence in local schools was only indirectly tied to measures of educational efficiency.It increased as both SAT scores and educational expenditures increased.The implication of this finding is that efficiency is an important correlate of support for education at the national level, but not at the local level.

The Granger Causality Tests showed no relationship between educational expenditures and SAT scores, verifying that these two efficiency measures are causally unrelated.

Advisor: Kevin B. Smith