Collaborative Governance and Public Education: Interlocal Networks and Student Outcomes
thesisposted on 01.05.2020, 00:00 by Victor George Hugg
This dissertation empirically tests the hypothesized relationship between interorganizational collaboration and desired policy outcomes in the domain of public education. These tests are enabled by combining 25 years of archival data derived from interlocal and intergovernmental agreements filed with the Iowa Secretary of State with statistics encompassing 333 public school districts maintained by the Iowa Department of Education. Using methods from network graph theory to operationalize social capital, I examine the consequences of statewide collaborative governance networks oriented around improving student academic performance and decreasing occurrences of undesired behavior (i.e., truancy, suspensions, and expulsions). To determine whether a district's participation and position in these cross-sector, interlocal governance networks improve student outcomes, both qualitative and quantitative analyses were conducted. Different types of collaborations were distinguished by reading and classifying all interlocal agreements (ILAs) involving at least one public school district into substantive topics. ILAs concerned with improving academic performance or student discipline were then used to calculate district-level network metrics that served as predictors of performance across a series of panel linear models. Empirical support for the hypothesized relationships between these ILA network metrics and district-level student outcomes was generally found to be weak and inconsistent. ILA collaboration networks may affect individual schools or students within districts differently; due to data constraints, only a district-level analysis was viable, preventing examination of possible heterogeneous effects within districts.