This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of Teachers’ Perceptions of the Implementation of Democratic Principles in Alabama’s High-Poverty Schools




DeRamus-Coleman, Brenda

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This study explored the practice of democratic principles in high-poverty schools with a focus on leadership that fosters democratic community. The study examined teacher perceptions of the practice of democratic principles at the individual, leader, and organizational levels. Findings were aimed at identifying practices that may contribute to high student achievement. The practices were measured by teachers’ perceptions using the WorldBlu School Survey. The study sought to determine if a significant relationship existed between student outcomes and the use of elements of Democratic principles found in the leadership practices of school principals in high-poverty, high-performing schools and of those in high-poverty, lower-performing schools. Implications for practice allow for reflection on relationships between and among stakeholders, authentic participation of students, teachers, and families, thus promoting student success. The purposes of the study were to determine: (1) similarities and differences between the practices of teachers and administrators in Torchbearer Schools and in non-Torchbearer Schools; (2) systems and processes that promote or impede stakeholder input in Torchbearer and non-Torchbearer schools and (3) specific practices posited as evidence of school leaders valuing stakeholder input.