Teacher Dispute Resolution Procedures in Virginia: Demographic Characteristics and Opinions of Neutral Chairpersons, School Division Superintendents, Attorneys, and Teacher Association Leaders
Bunch, Ardene D. Jr.
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The purposes of this study were to examine the opinions of respondents regarding dispute resolution procedures utilized by public school teachers as described in sections 22.1- 312 of the Code of Virginia. In this study, demographic and opinion data were collected from individuals selected to serve as neutral chairpersons of fact-finding panels, school division superintendents or designees, local teacher association presidents, Virginia Education Association UniServ directors, and attorneys. The history, development, and intent of teacher dispute resolution procedures are presented in Chapter II. A descriptive research design was utilized. A researcher-designed survey instrument was used to gather demographic and opinion data from the five groups. Neutral chairpersons who had administrated a panel hearing were located through correspondence with school division superintendents or personnel directors and teacher association leaders in the state of Virginia. School division superintendents or designees employed in school divisions who had experienced a fact finding panel hearing were included in the investigation. The opinions of local teacher association presidents and UniServ directors were sought. Attorneys who had represented either a teacher or a school board during a grievance or dismissal hearing were included in the study. The information gathered was compared and analyzed statistically. Five surveys were developed for this study. The first part of each survey requested opinion data regarding the role and function of the fact-finding panel, the procedural framework of grievance and dismissal hearings, advisory fact-finding, and the experiences, training, and qualifications of neutral chairpersons. A five-point Likert-type scale was utilized with statements included in the section. The second part of each survey requested demographic information to include the respondent's gender, age, race, degrees earned, current employment, and questions regarding training and experience. The demographic characteristics revealed a composite profile of neutral chairpersons in the state. Opinion data were statistically analyzed to determine significant relationships between the five groups based on their gender, race, age, and highest level of education. The information may be useful to school division personnel and others involved in dispute resolution procedures, which advance to the fact-finding hearing level.
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