Interpretations and Implementations of Compulsory Free Enterprise Education in Utah Public High Schools
Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Agricultural Systems Technology and Education
Department name when degree awarded
The Utah legislature passed Senate Bill 203 in 1975, requiring all public secondary schools to offer instruction on the essentials and benefits of free enterprise. The problem is that no evaluation has been made to determine if the specific requirement is being fulfilled. The purpose of this study is to determine interpretations and implementations of Senate Bill 203. Questions in four areas were studied.
1. Administrators: (a) how did administrators of the districts interpret the guidelines, (b) how did the administrators decide upon the approach followed, (c) how did the administrators justify the approach followed, (d) what instructional materials did the administrators decide to use to fulfill the bill requirements, and (e) what are the attitudes of the school systems' administrators about nonfunding of instruction on the free enterprise system.
2. Courses: (a) what courses are being taught, (b) do the courses contain content in the seven areas described as essential by the National Task Force, (c) what are the materials being used or being sought for use in conjunction with the materials prescribed by the state superintendent of public instruction, and (d) what teaching methods are being used for instruction of free enterprise.
3. Instructors: (a) what are the qualifications of the instructors teaching the classes in free enterprise and (b) what are the instructors' backgrounds in economic education.
4. Comparative responses: (a) does the stated use of materials by instructors compare with the stated use of materials by administrators and (b) how do instructors' academic and economic education backgrounds relate to conditions in the courses taught.
The survey covered the entire state of Utah and an overall 92 percent return was achieved. Conclusions drawn from findings are as follows.
The administrators generally interpreted the guidelines to mean that economic principles should be injected into current courses. Over half of the administrators interpreted the guidelines to mean implementation by fall, 1977. Another quarter of the number of administrators indicated that the instructional requirement was to be implemented immediately.
The approach to be followed for determining the fulfillment of the requirement will basically be organized by instructors. An almost equal number of programs will be organized under a cooperative effort of local school personnel. The approach being followed was justified largely by curriculum directors, school boards, or a combination of other local school administrators.
Concerning the use of state prescribed materials, the majority of the administrators believed that the materials could be used for references but few indicated that the materials must be used to structure the free enterprise instruction.
The lack of interest was indicated as a reason for more classes in economic education not being offered, for little workshop participation by instructors, and for lack of curriculum development.
It was indicated that present economic education programs are not sufficient, and that adequate programs are not possible without additional funding.
There are few classes being taught in Utah entirely devoted to free enterprise. When the principles are integrated into classes, those classes are social studies, business education and other vocational education classes. The content specified by the National Task Force is generally indicated a third of the time to be taught very little or not at all. Half of the state's economic education instructors are teaching those concepts some of the time. Very few instructors completely cover the concepts.
Texts used in economics classes are of a wide variety. The main materials in teaching free enterprise concepts are textbooks. Methods of instruction are mostly lecture and large group instruction.
Most instructors of free enterprise education have social studies or business education undergraduate majors. Few graduate degrees have been earned. A low number of instructors have taken economics classes. Also, few have participated in workshop or in-service training. The biggest reasons were lack of funding and lack of time. Over half of the instructors have been teaching for over 10 years and over half belong to the social studies department.
Instructors with more in-service or workshop training are more likely to teach an economics class and cover the concepts indicated by the Task Force more thoroughly. Instructors with strong basic economics were also more likely to cover the Task's Force concepts more completely.
Campbell, Marsha M., "Interpretations and Implementations of Compulsory Free Enterprise Education in Utah Public High Schools" (1977). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 1652.
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