The 87th Congress and federal financial support of education: a content analysis of the congressional record, second session
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Problem The purposes of this study were to determine what Congressional Record information on Federal financial support of education was available to Congress during the 1962 Session and to ascertain the direction and nature of this communication. Procedure The technique of content analysis was utilized. A seven-category system for the objective and quantitative description of the related conm1unioation was established from a study of authoritative works and a pilot study performed on a stratified random sample of the complete, one-session series of Congressional Records. The item and the theme were used as measuring units. All themes manifestly related to Federal financial support of education were individually categorized, classified favorable, unfavorable, neutral or ambiguous, grouped, and scored. The frequencies of all theme groups, individually and collectively, in the categories were computed and translated into percentages of the whole number of themes. All related communications were classified as favorable, unfavorable, neutral or ambiguous, with respect to Federal financial assistance to education, on the basis of this data. An adaption of an established outline for tha analysis of public opinion and propaganda was used to interpret the data. The study reliability of .87 was determined by performing a second analysis on a random sample of the Congressional Record series and computing a Pearson product-moment coefficient of correlation. Results A leadership elite was found to be the main source of 2246 communications of forty different types containing 57,549 themes. The themes formed sixty-four groups in the seven categories. Percentagewise, the themes were 76.03 favorable, 15.78 unfavorable, 7.54 neutral, and .64 ambiguous, indicating a favorable direction with respect to Federal financial assistance. Conversely, a measurable lag for Federal support was found in the nation's local community electorates, school boards, and newspapers. Expressed as percentages of the whole 57,549 themes, the totals of themes in each category were: educational needs, 43.7, economics, 22.0, national welfare, 12.8, Federalism, 9.8, religion, 6.1, social-psychological, 4.1, and race, 1.5. Conclusions On the basis of actual quantitative and comparative documentation, it was concluded that the Federal role in financing education was pervasively interrelated with the numerous aspects of major United States domestic and international issues, implicit in the categories, and problems in contemporary culture, such as alienation. It was further concluded that Congress was informed that this role was developing in a piecemeal, fragmented manner, in the form of Federal aid rather than support. It was affecting planned and unplanned change in educational administration, instruction, curriculums and research from the elementary to the post-doctoral levels and operating beyond the control of the whole educational system. A result was the initiation of numerous and varied proposals for Congressional action and legislation in the field of education, designed to increase the overall coherence of Federal financial assistance. Specific examples included cabinet status for education and greater standardization of educational statistics used in the public domain. The study determined the nature of the educational communication involved by identifying, quantifying, and describing its characteristics such as types, sources of origin, media utilized, frequencies of occurrence, and themes used on this basis, the conclusion was made that the study's category data formed an approach to the beginnings of a model of the comruunication dealing with Federal financial assistance to education, impinging upon the Congress and the public during one Congressional session. A utility was ascribed to the model as a basic framework for developing and implementing communication strategy and hypotheses designed to increase the moral and financial support of education.
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