The Influence of Local Politics on Educational Decisions


  • Gary Bigham West Texas A&M University
  • Jan Ray University of Hawaii at Hilo


local politics, reading, reading curriculum, reading assessment


This ex post facto, causal-comparative research study examined student reading performance data within a school district before and after a school district-wide decision to alter the reading curriculum in response to local political pressure from parents.  Data analysis revealed that test scores dropped to a significantly lower level, especially for students who were economically disadvantaged, after the reading curriculum was altered.  This study underscores the importance of making data-driven, rather than politically-influenced, decisions related to pedagogy, curriculum, instruction, and assessment by educational leaders.     

Author Biographies

Gary Bigham, West Texas A&M University

Gary Bigham is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at West Texas A&M University. His professional background includes twenty years of public school experience as a teacher, principal, and superintendent prior to assuming his current position at the university level.

Jan Ray, University of Hawaii at Hilo

Jan Ray is an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.  Her professional background includes twenty-five years of teaching experience in the public schools and at the university level.




How to Cite

Bigham, G., & Ray, J. (2012). The Influence of Local Politics on Educational Decisions. Current Issues in Education, 15(2). Retrieved from