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I Got Your Back: The Effect of Environmental Support for the Public Manager
Unformatted Document Text:  Melton 7 Dependent Variable To assess environmental support for the public manager, I utilize the overall pass rate on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) as a measure of performance. “Because the exams themselves are highly salient and result in front-page news when released, the scores should be a relatively good performance measure for assessing management activities” (Meier and O’Toole 2003). Performance on state mandated exams does not represent the entire gamut of a student’s educational experience; however, I argue that a superintendent is likely to assess the relative impacts on the TAAS before engaging in any action or policy. Independent Variables Environmental Support Parental, community, and school board support are perceptions, rather than direct measures, of support for the superintendent. These are assessed via a superintendent survey; and because they reflect the impressions of the superintendents, they might contain some bias (Meier and O’Toole 2002). Levels of support have a numerical range of 1 to 5, or poor to excellent. Simple tabulations of these variables suggest that the plurality of environmental support is at least fair to excellent with few responses in the lower two categories. Minority Superintendent The Texas Education Agency provides data for districts led by minority superintendents. Here, I refer to racial or ethnic minorities; I do not differentiate amongst gender and other commonplace minority distinctions. I create a dichotomous measure that identifies Black or Latino superintendents and include it in the second set of models to determine if support affects minority superintendents differentially. 7

Authors: Melton, Erin.
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Melton 7
Dependent Variable
To assess environmental support for the public manager, I utilize the overall pass rate on the Texas
Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) as a measure of performance. “Because the exams themselves
are highly salient and result in front-page news when released, the scores should be a relatively good
performance measure for assessing management activities” (Meier and O’Toole 2003). Performance on
state mandated exams does not represent the entire gamut of a student’s educational experience;
however, I argue that a superintendent is likely to assess the relative impacts on the TAAS before
engaging in any action or policy.
Independent Variables
Environmental Support
Parental, community, and school board support are perceptions, rather than direct measures, of
support for the superintendent. These are assessed via a superintendent survey; and because they reflect
the impressions of the superintendents, they might contain some bias (Meier and O’Toole 2002). Levels
of support have a numerical range of 1 to 5, or poor to excellent. Simple tabulations of these variables
suggest that the plurality of environmental support is at least fair to excellent with few responses in the
lower two categories.
Minority Superintendent
The Texas Education Agency provides data for districts led by minority superintendents. Here, I refer to
racial or ethnic minorities; I do not differentiate amongst gender and other commonplace minority
distinctions. I create a dichotomous measure that identifies Black or Latino superintendents and include
it in the second set of models to determine if support affects minority superintendents differentially.
7


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